Patrick can be found pouring pints and discussing a wide range of topics at the Civil Life Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Patrick Hurley is to me one of the reasons the Civil Life lives up to its name. In fact, he was one of the first people that I ran the Civil Life name by. The name which the great Tuan Lee came up with over a year and a half ago. His response was, “One could argue that drinking fine ales is a sign of a Civil Life.” I have known Patrick for over 10 years and have served him many a drink across the long wooden bar at 33, my former stomping grounds. I have been privileged to serve him wine and beer through a good portion of his Doctorate studies at SLU and I remember quite clearly the day his book ( http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pynchon-character-names-patrick-j-hurley/1009153734) was published. In fact, it must be duly noted that the first time I ever brewed beer was with Patrick Hurley, his wife Teresa and Tuan and it was at his, the “Hurley House” which is now the name of his soon to be thriving book company, www.hurleyhouse.com Patrick and Teresa’s house is filled with isles and mountains of books with just enough room for a table and a place for friends to sit as food is passed around and for laughter to fill the space between all those books.
Patrick can be found behind The Civil Life bar carefully pouring the most discerning patrons pints on Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays. He at times will take his turn at Jenga as well and his methodical play often sets the stage for much longer games of Jenga that are played well into the night but not past 10:45. Much longer than when I play the first few rounds haphazardly removing the small wooden blocks with a fervor and carelessness choosing speed over stability. He is an unassuming chap and approaches new interactions with a quiet and sincere disposition that when given the right nudge and a few hello’s over-time evolves into the classic bartender patron relationship that I so dearly believe in. His current friendly mutton chop beard much reminds of a very traditional bartender’s appearance in the roaring 20‘s. A bartender working despite the law of the land which threatened his very livelihood. Patrick’s literary background may be paralleled by others but rarely is bested and most importantly he disseminates it with an uncanny ability to do so without the patronization or the verbal jousting I abhor. Instead, it comes across in the kindest of ways and the great respect Patrick has for the literary world extends into his great respect and understanding of the art of conversation.
The art of conversation thus implies two individuals equally partaking in a dialogue offering points of views and counterpoints to flow to and fro. Great conversations must also allow the intermittent comical statement of which Patrick has mastered. I know this because, I know him and I know how many times I have learned a great deal from him, had many laughs and have never felt I was being taught. (Chris our resident painter and our bartender on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday days is equally adept and grabbing a conversation with either of them is well worth the paltry price you pay for a pint or a even that delicious half pint at the Civil Life.)
Patrick has put into my hands the great works of Flann O’Brien (At Swim two Birds) and Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim) and I have put into his hands, great bottles of wines and delicious beers for as many years. It seems we have mutually benefited from this exercise. We have talked countless hours on many topics and I have greatly benefited over the years from his perspective on topics ranging from music to literature to beer. Patrick embodies the age-old pursuit of intellectual curiosity which at times seems something our society is fighting to maintain and preserve. It is our plight at the Civil Life as well. He is always reading, always exploring.
But what does all of this mean. That is if you are still reading. Please continue.
It is with great appreciation that I announce the Civil Life Library. A library chosen by Dr. Patrick Hurley which includes over 130 well selected books that are sure to tickle the fancy of anyone who prefers words on a page to pictures on a screen. Books for paging through include: A Century of Enterprise: St. Louis 1894 to 1994, Beer Can Collecting, Darts. Books from the great literary giants: Saul Bellow, James Joyce, Tolkien and Vonnegut just to name a few. Books written by some of the world’s most prolific writers who were as equally blessed with a penchant for pints, whisky and gin as they were for their literary prowess. And let’s not forget Pynchon who is also represented and as noted on whom Patrick has published a book.
A great library was indeed a must in our pursuit of changing this old warehouse into a traditional functioning public house complete with a long wooden bar, beers that flowed like water and sandwiches that taste as though God himself has made them. (Note: That is a little bit of a stretch but we do make really good sandwiches and we must note we don’t know if God even makes his own food. He most probably has other people make his food.)
Patrick and I share the same beliefs. That pubs stand for something beyond their walls and beyond the flowing beverages. That pubs are the last protectorate of the art of conversation and we at the Civil Life take our role very seriously. An art that relies and has deeply seeded roots in all of those books that adorn our walls in our homes and too often play second fiddle to that shiny box with flashing lights whose mere goal is to keep us enraptured enough in order to keep paying ridiculous amounts for cable. The art of conversation and the literary world fight the same fight.
Now please don’t take any of this personally if that shiny box occupies a portion of your life. I myself have succumbed to the flashing lights many times as well. I once spent an entire semester seemingly stuck on a couch in college glued to a trial about a man that rode in a white jeep across the streets of California in a slow speed uneventful procession. This man then stood in a drawn out theatrical trial culminating in a tagline, “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit” that aimed to entrance and enlist us into justifying that monthly cable bill and defiled the use of poetry. But we all watched and reality tv was born.
All in all, our library is an addition that allows us to extend open arms to yet another demographic that is indubitably and equally welcome as much as our growing group of patrons that read the newspaper, the New Yorker, The Economist, play connect four, jenga, partake in a game of risk or head down with close friends to enjoy each others company. Our arms extend wide to all of you that help us in the preservation of conversation and revel in interacting with friends or random patrons and most certainly any of us behind the bar . We extend with great wide arms to you too Mr. or Mrs. TV watcher. To click off those absolutely amazing 44 inch HD TV’s with resolutions so fine and detailed that only a fool would doubt the marvel of ingenuity those tv’s have become. But that same ingenuity, causes us to sit silent in a room, eat our dinners with one eye on our food and forces a schism into our interpersonal interactions within our most sacred homes.
And please keep in mind, this point of view is simply one sided and simply singularly opinionated and derived from a stand point that in order for us to succeed at the Civil Life we must chide that shiny box and that expensive cable bill. We must drive you out of your living room and into ours in order to pay our massive debts to the banks that have foolishly lent us money. (This has been said before) And we at the Civil Life simply do not own a tv but we do own very large shiny equipment which we will soon put lights on. We also own an inflatable shark that can swim effortlessly through the brewery.
In closing, we implore you to come on down some evening grab a book and a much needed restorative pint. Sit at the bar and bounce a question off of Patrick, you’ll quickly understand why this post wasn’t just a few paragraphs. So, “Come on down. Help us in our mission. Be a part of what we are trying to do. And once you really understand what we are trying to do, can you kindly tell us”
Hello earthlings. I have been sent here to open a brewery. I hope you have time over the next year to check in from time to time and see our progress (or lack there of at times).
Morning beer delivery at Tynan’s Bridge House Bar in Kilkenny, Ireland.