The big guy with bulging eyes across the u-shaped bar has put on an album's worth of System of a Down songs. To the amusement of his female companion, he is bellowing along and banging his tattooed fists, rattling bottles of malt vinegar, ketchup, and mustard, shaking salt shakers, making the pepper canisters shimmy down the shiny wooden bar like awkward dancers.
“Bartender,” he suddenly moans plaintively to the grim-looking Irish lady pulling taps. “I don't want to be a complainer, but I think my glass has a hole in it,” he says. He gestures down to a mug lined only with traces of foam, smiling sheepishly, hands upturned, as if he were slightly proud. “That'll be another then,” she sighs. He hoots, and swivels his head, catching our eye. We have been trying to watch the game, but he has me in a boozy, unblinking gaze. He glances at our plate, and points with one trembling finger. He's grinning. “Those look like good rings, dude.”
In fact, they are.