Mine host lent over and set the candle aflame. A small vase of fresh flowers smiled up at us from the table too.
Claire said to the proprietor, ‘Thanks for that. It’s rare to see candles in Adelaide pubs.’
‘Yes,’ I agreed thinking of Fitzroy, Carlton and Collingwood. ‘Melbourne does this well. We could learn a thing or two.’
The innkeeper then hoiked some blue gum into the fire, and we shared our approval of this with him too. What a sunny relationship we were forming with the proximate staff of the former Gaslight Tavern. Each of us now looked our glowing best in the candlelight.
Out on the footpath, the autumn leaves swirled along Chief Street. A couple punters sat in the fading day, nursing their beers. The working week was done for many. We were among this fortunate set.
One of life’s tiny joys is scanning the Friday beer taps, deliberating and finally choosing.
Mystery Pub silently demands some bravery, so I order beyond my usual home lagers. Claire selects an Alpha Box and Dice white from Mclaren Vale. I go local with a hazy ale from Findon’s Shapeshifter Brewery. It’s called Party Shirt. At 5pm on a Friday, I have no beer enemies. I save my disagreeability for the worksite.
The renovations are thoughtful. There’s considered use of timber to offset the white walls and a Scandi theme is clear. Happily, for us, no blonde, steely blue-eyed serial killers are in the house. The candles are burning brightly now.
In a quiet Mystery Pub revolution, I leap up to get us our second and final drink. Claire declares, ‘I’ll get these.’
Immediately, I retort, ‘No. As Mystery Pub host tonight, I think I should sort them.’ In June when I’m the guest I’ll just sit in my chair for the duration. Like Chuck at his coronation but with smaller ears, a reassuring ale, and fewer billions.
I return moments later with bounty. Another Alpha Box and Dice wine for Claire. This time a red while I escort a glass of Tiny Fish Pale Ale to our secluded spot. Both are adequate but not nearly as impressive as the candlelight about which during writing I seem to have developed a curious, unprecedented fascination.
In the Brickmakers (sic) Arms we continue to decant our week.
Leaving, we discuss how lovely it is to visit a pub where you wouldn’t expect to find one. Chief Street is sinking into the dark now.