Two faggots walk into a Bosnian bar in Hartford…well that would be me and my friend Patrick. After seeing Ballet Russes, a surprisingly moving documentary showing at Real Artways, Patrick and I went to this really cool Bosnian bar I like on Franklin Ave (which used to mostly be the Italian part of town).
It is really more of a private club where smoking is allowed (forbidden in all public indoor spaces in CT). Not that I smoke, I just feel nostalgic in a smoke-filled room with Bosnian pop songs blaring and sloshed Bosnian men drinking and hugging and talking Bosnian. Not that I know anything about bars in Belgrade, but it feels like someone’s nostalgia.
As Patrick and I drank our Coronas (I actually asked for Peronis but the bartender must not have understood), my favorite bartender, a rudy-faced Bosnian who looks like he could be like 14 , was drinking with a friend on the customers’ side of the bar one stool over from us.
They just chatted, no elevated voices, no tension, when all of a sudden BAM the young man took his bottle of beer and smashed it on the edge of the bar. Shattered glass and beer exploded all around us. Then he did it again with a second full bottle (he had four in front of him).
The amazing thing was that no one got excited. His friend quietly spoke to him. The other patrons looked but no one made a fuss. Patrick and I edged away from the scene and melted into the sitting area. Things seemed to calm down, but then on the completely other side of the bar a fight broke out. That was our cue to leave immediately.
I remember one time a few weeks ago at this same bar, a tremendously sad Bosnian song played on and on. Patrick and I sat transfixed. Although I didn’t know a single word, I felt my heart would break. I asked this same young man, who was bartender at the time, what the song said. He thanked me for asking and explained that it was about all the pain and war and loss his people suffered. He paused and added, they really should not play that here.
“There was never a good war or a bad peace.”