As I enter The Three Lions Pub in Redmond, Wa, I’m greeted with a rousing “Hiya Gregor!” Alvia or Janie begin a pour of my customary Boddingtons (or London Porter if I’m of the mood) as I settle into my stool. Manchester United is deep in it’s match against Chelsea, and both clubs are well represented in the pub. Fred, Alvia’s dad, comes over and sits next to me, and we pick up a conversation started weeks ago. A warmth washes over me like a down comforter on a winter Northwest day…I’m home.
What is it about a local pub that makes one feel wanted, needed, loved even? I love this place. I know about most of the goings on, not because I’m nosey, but because I’m now family. “Family” in the true Pub sense of the word. A home away from home. In this home, the smells of Curry Pasty, Fish and Chips and a damn fine Steak and Kidney Pie waft in from the side. They engulf a body like a hug from one’s Grandma. Idle chit chat around the bar reminds me of family car outings, so many voices chatting at once that they become a calming low drone….then Janie drops a mug and I’m jerked out of my daydream.
Many months ago I was enjoying a pint, when a fellow plopped down into the stool next to me. He asked if the match was live, I replied that it was taped delay from a couple of days ago, but a fine watch. He ordered a pint and we watched a bit. I noticed his accent was more Aussie, so I asked if he was indeed from “down under”. He nodded and replied, “Perth, but I live here a lot because of my mum.” Well Perth is one of my favorite places, and home to one of my all time favorite dining spots, so I asked, “Is The Conch Shell still about?” Jim, as I came to know later, smiled at me and said, “No, the old owners are long gone.” Well, this started a whole new round of talk, and even though we only chatted an hour or two before I left, I knew I had found a new friend, one who I admire greatly.
This is life at The Three Lions Pub. Fish and Chips, wonderful pies, and always a properly pulled pint. I cannot recommend it enough.
Note: The Conch Shack, as Jim let me know is long since gone, was a jewel in Perth. It sat on the water, maybe 5 k from downtown proper. When I arrived the first time with Navy shipmates, we were greeted, sat at a table, and given a drink. The place filled in minutes and the door was shut. Not a menu around, but before we could inquire, a lovely conch shell filled will the most wondrous of local seafood was placed in front of each of us. A carafe of wine was placed at each table and we all began to feast. After the remains of the meal were taken away, sweets like I have never tasted before, were brought out along with Ouzo, coffee and tea. Then the dancing started. Oh, the dancing. Since dancing is not something I do particularly well, I took the opportunity to talk with the owner…over more Ouzo of course. I found that back in the day, he and his wife loved going to Perth on holiday. So much so, that when they retired, they moved from Greece and opened the Conch Shack. They made a go of it with the idea that it wasn’t about the money, it was about spreading their love of Greek food and dance. I salute them, and their unwavering idea that life is more than just about money.