Come On Baby, Dry Your Eyes

Welcome to Columbia City.

It's hard to imagine now, but 10 years ago, Columbia City was an urban afterthought. A far cry from today's yuppie-buppie artisan bustle, the linchpins of that Rainier Avenue of yore were the Busy Bee mini-mart and Angie's Tavern, a longstanding watering hole with a vibe that an expatriate of the nation's capital aptly describes as "more D.C. than Seattle." The music's loud and tends toward R&B, the mostly black crowd is noisy, the food is prepackaged, the interior design is sort of slapped together, there's a hole or two in the floor, drunken couples make out in booths, pool hustlers hustle, amateur dart jockeys labor to close out the bull's-eye, and the top shelf is about as low as you can go—Cuervo and Gentleman Jack low. About the only way they make up for not having Cazadores or Maker's Mark available is to price their stand-ins cheaply, and to this, Angie's abides ($5.50 for a pitcher of Bud is a pretty tough non–happy hour price to beat, by the by). They've also got Olde E tallboys in the cooler, and the bartender looks a lot like local hoop hero Nate Robinson, who played high school ball a couple miles down the road. It should be said that Angie's has something of a notorious rep, made all the more notorious when pitted against its neighbors' relentless upward mobility. But if Angie's were to go, Columbia City wouldn't just lose a slice of its soul, it'd lose the whole damn thing. 

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