Walter Mencken 3 p.m., July 31
The Yellow Beehive
Another candidate for Best Sidewalk Patio.
Was waiting for the bus just south of University up in Hillcrest the other night. And glowing across Fourth Avenue was this, like, yellow jewel. A café-bistro, long, luminous, and packed with people.
Tight packed. Two rows of wooden tables behind yellow canvas - to keep the cold out - on that narrow sidewalk space. But through the plastic "windows" you could see wine bottles pouring, waiters hurrying back and forth, rosy faces leaning forward to get face-time with their partners.
Oh man. Made you think of Mary Hopkin. Once upon a time there was a tavern/ Where we used to raise a glass or two…
It’s Arrivederci (3845, 4th Avenue, 619-299-6282). A little above my pay grade. Although…I cross the road, check the menu anyways.
If you stuck to apps or salad, you could get a plate for $7. Like the Trecolori Fantastica, with three kinds of lettuce, radicchio, arugula and Belgian endive with walnuts and goat cheese, costs $7.50. Insalata d’Anatra has duck, pine nuts, raisins, bacon, warm spinach, for $8.25. And, on the lunch menu anyway, they have clams and mussels in a marinara sauce for $6.50.
So yeah, keep a tight rein on the hunger pangs and you could technically make out under $10. Technically. Long as you drank water and didn’t look at the mains. ’Cause they go for around $16.
Bianco Rosso, the wine bar next to it, that’s part of it, looks pretty good too. Same food.
Uh oh. I see the bus hauling up to the University-4th Ave. crossroads. Time to zip back to reality.
There are five of us waiting when it rolls up. Pretty scuzzy bunch. Me included.
Feller next to me sees where I’m looking. Gives me a kinda “How the rich live” raise of the eyebrows. And yeah, there’s something so seductive about that scene. I guess we’re like bees. We love to crowd together in a small space, chat, laugh, drink, chow, be in on the latest buzz, have the luxury to be a little crazy, dress up, be warm when it's cold outside...
We sigh, shake our heads, then step back as the Number 120 bounces in and blocks our view.