What is it about an airport bar?
I don’t honestly know; I’m asking the question quite openly. What is it about an airport bar that makes it feel more inviting than a regular neighborhood or downtown bar? There is never going to be a live band, certainly no dance floor….at least not that I’ve come across. And while there might be someone quietly drinking a tad too much as they prepare their fragile nerves for the impending flight ahead of them, there is rarely a sloppy drunk. Which is good, since there is no bouncer.
I like my red eye flights the best, the airport itself is quiet. Most of the vendors have closed up, not that I shop at them anyways. Why would I? Just more stuff to carry in my carry-on. And even though I have pre-check and can fast track to the gate, I still like to leave a cushion, just in case, and arrive early enough to relax. As long as my cushion is available, I make a bee line for the airport bar.
Sure, the prices are a little higher. They don’t have the wide wine selection I might prefer. But still, it draws me in. The music playing at a level you can still hear yourself think, the TVs playing actual news and not sports with readable captions scrolling along the bottom. I like to find that open space at the bar where I can set up my laptop, write a post like this one, sip my glass. I’m not a nervous flier, not even a little. Perhaps I should be, with all the random things that have occurred on my trips no one would blame me.
My luggage has been lost…on a direct flight. I’ve been on a plane struck by lightning. One that lost communication with the landing gear and had to prepare for a crash landing that didn’t end up happening. I had a flight delayed due to a flat tire and the tire had to be flown in from another airport. Storms of course; thunderous wind gusts, planes that had to tilt sideways to get out of a storm swirl, sitting on the tarmac for two extra hours after landing because of ice…they even played an extra movie for us. Medical emergencies (by other passengers) that required us to go off course and land wherever was closest to get medical attention as soon as possible.
But no, I do not have a fear of flying. That is not why I lounge at the airport bar. It’s the sociopsychology aspect of it. Everyone is about to go somewhere. There might be some harmless filtering, a little misplaced flattery, quite a bit of fantasy. All an act, by all players. It’s unlikely the guy who is chatting you up is going to slip anything into your drink or get the bartender to top you off without you noticing over and over until you agree to go home with him. He can’t, can he?
But for the most part, the airport bar is a place for travelers to relax and chill out before their next flight. Most of my trips involve layovers, at least one, often two. I have favorite airports I seek out for my layovers and others that I try to avoid. The ones I like are solely for the value of their bars and their food. But I don’t go to bars at home. Or at my destination. In fact, I avoid them like the plague only agreeing to go if it’s a group event that I really have no say in for the destination.
The airport bar though, it attracts me. And as I sit here sipping my glass of pinot noir, I’m tipsy enough to ask the bartender for a desert recommendation before the kitchen closes up and get talked into a flan.
If you are at the SAN airport, terminal two, visit the Prado outside of gate 28. By all means, order the flan, it’s delicious.