For the first time since probably 8th grade I'm sort of enjoying an English class.
I just got this paper back with "great detail" covered all over it, so I guess it's worth sharing. The assignment was to sit and listen in an interesting place.
I grasp the worn handle unsure of what I’ll find inside. The sign says ‘since 1927’, will it be 1927 inside? Surely not?
I give the door a good tug, and in I go, not that there’s very far to go… I resist spinning on my heels back out the door, I’ve got this paper to write and the sky is spitting icicles at me, this is a far better option than any park bench. So I race myself over to the end of the bar, trying desperately to not think about how the floor seems awfully like a trampoline. Seated safely at the spinney bar stool, I finally take in the décor, if you can call it that.
Brown’s can be best described as the result of not really caring for decades. Barely above my head the window AC unit blows warm air, the old presumably broken unit sits just below. I wouldn’t doubt it had been there for five years. Round my toes I see 60’s bandana red linoleum, peeking through some trendy 80’s brick linoleum; I find it funny that the 60’s seems to be wearing better. As my eyes are darting about trying to take it all in, I’m reminded there are people too. The bartender takes my drink order for the Budweiser on tap, their only tap beer -- Citysearch called them a bar. I suppose when you’ve been around since 1927 competing with Flying Saucer’s 75 taps isn’t on your to do list.
My Citysearch research tells me this is ‘the best burger in Nashville’ so I ask for a menu. A laminated 8.5” x 11” sheet is handed to me. It’s simple and to the point, no fancy combos or platters here. I order a cheeseburger and hushpuppies. Without a task I begin to take in the people around me. The bartender is just as I pictured, fitting perfectly into the grey brown color pallet. A waitress is working the back dining room with her polka dot A-Line dress but with a modern edge -- an earful of piercings. The customers also seem to belong, they look and sound like regulars making myself feel even more like an outsider, perhaps it’s the polo and cable knit?
Taking in the architecture I realize the section I’m in must be the original trailer on which a kitchen then dining room has been tacked on to. Being an electrical engineer’s daughter I take in the wires woven about, surely this isn’t to code. A band has begun to set up on the ‘stage’ which amounts to be an 8x6 area to the left of the front door. A fluorescent red light dangles above them hanging by a wire, of course. In the red glow I spy five band members; surely they aren’t all going to fit. The band begins tuning, but then I noticed the other sounds of this tiny dive. The scraping of the grill in the kitchen, the hum of the HVAC, the buzz of neon, the fizz of the soda fountain, and the whirl of conversations. The diner beat is interrupted by a simple “ding” and my food appears. There is something great about diner food nowhere else can quite capture. Is it the chipped plates? The flimsy silverware? Or the grease that’s ok because it’s a diner and that’s the way it should be? Or perhaps it’s the culmination all these things that makes a great diner meal.
As I get up to leave I notice my favorite part of Brown’s that capture’s its personality. A simple half circle of particle board sits propped up against a partition – the result of an expansion I’m sure. “Brown’s Diner” is spray painted in brown with a stencil; however the artist had a little trouble and painted the N in diner backwards.
As I leave I have a moment when I surely think I’ll lose my foot into the depths, if the rest of the floor is trampoline this spot is surely quick sand. On my way out I notice a photo; it’s of Brown’s in 1932, it looks pretty similar honestly. As I’m looking at it the waitress shares that Brown’s is the oldest liquor license in town, as founder Charlie Brown was the second in line when prohibition was repealed and the first guy is out of business, somehow this doesn’t surprise me.
A diner but a little backwards, that’s Brown’s Di