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Bar of the Week: Drinking a Black-and-Red at Foley's Bar in Maplewood

Foley's Bar is a little like that absentee uncle who bought you a six-pack for your thirteenth birthday. Or like that chain-smoking aunt who knows Lita Ford and Joan Jett songs by heart.

This white trash assessment isn't to say Foley's is a bad place; on the contrary, it's a great place to revel in the simple blue-collar pleasures of frosty beer, cheap pool and plenty of local characters.

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Need your sassy bartender, chatty old boozer, and Irish stout fix? You've stumbled across the right place! Not just a neighborhood pub for the longtime residents of Maplewood, Foley's is also an oasis of down-to-earth camaraderie for the super scene weary hipster. Here is a run-down of what to expect at the infamous Foley's:

The Patrons: "Don't take my picture, the police are looking for me... just look at the post office," said John Doe, followed by uproarious laughter from the bar. He was most likely joking. During the week, Foley's is a working-class bar, peppered with groups of low-key twenty-somethings. The weekend hosts a slightly more diverse crowd of college kids, middle-aged couples and singles on the prowl. Foley's is the Switzerland of bars; liberal artsy types share pints of beer with old-school conservatives in an environment of alcohol-induced peace.

The Fashion: Are you tired of spending hours putting together the perfect club outfit? Sick of destroying your hair to achieve a state of exquisite perfection? Rest easy, comrades, because at Foley's nobody gives a shit what you look like. Should you feel the need to blend, however, the recommended ensemble entails jeans, sneakers or boots and a T-shirt or western style snap front shirt. This goes for ladies and gentleman; avoid sparkly tops and heels unless you want to be mistaken for a hooker. If you are a hooker, my apologies.

The Decor: Foley's two-room establishment is housed in a century-old brick building facing the railroad tracks; it's literally on the other side of the tracks. A far cry from the hip, new-money type bar/restaurants that line the revamped section of Manchester, Foley's somehow appears more "real" than any other bar in the area.

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A bullet hole graces the ceiling, a tribute to Maplewood's (also fondly referred to as Maplehood) sketchy past. Bartender Julie Redden wasn't around when the shots were fired, but she's heard the legends. Hanging behind the bar, a photo of the old bartender flipping the bird just adds to the charm.

Typical of most buildings in the area, the ceilings are lofty and beautifully decorated. Not so typical are the empty phone booths in the pool room. You enter the booth; you close the door…then what? You use your inebriated imagination; maybe you're Doctor Who (or maybe you should lay off the Jack and Coke for awhile.)

The Vibe: The bartenders (usually women) will call you "hon." Do not be offended, they really mean it. Showing your face more than once a month makes you a regular. The vibe at Foley's is pretty relaxed. Small groups can be found playing pool, darts or shuffleboard. The jukebox may be blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patsy Cline or Pink Floyd (I recommend putting on some "Sweet Home Alabama" to get the locals on your good side). Occasionally, the scene can get crazy. Bachelorette parties have been known to dance en masse atop tables to Whitesnake songs, and bachelors have been known to get rowdy in the pool room. It's all in good fun, though, so relax and accept the invite to eat from a total stranger's family reunion buffet.

The Drink: The Black and Red. Comprised of half Guinness and half Killian's (not Red Stripe), this is Foley's signature Irish drink. You'll look tough and it tastes awesome. Usually, Budweiser product is the popular choice, but some are now boycotting the King and others call the A-B buyout "unAmerican."

The Tip: Don't even think about ordering a blended ice drink or anything usually served with a parasol. That is, unless you want to get beat up.

The Verdict: Go have a good time! Make sure to bring quarters for the pool tables.

Address: 3522 Greenwood Boulevard

- Lyndsay Johnson



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