Cockburn has rarely met a pub he didn’t like, though plenty of pubs haven’t taken a liking to Cockburn. Fortunately, occasional dissolute behavior was never a problem at Post Pub, the old neighborhood watering hole on L Street in Washington.
So you can imagine Cockburn’s dismay when he learned last spring that Post Pub would be closing after 43 years. The cause wasn’t so much the pandemic as it was a tragic outbreak of public health. The Washington Post reports that ‘back in the era of hard-drinking lunches, bartenders at the Post Pub used to stir up three-gallon batches of gin and vodka martinis and a two-gallon batch of Manhattans to prepare for the daily crush. And that was just for Mondays.’
What happened? Americans, and particularly Washingtonians, abandoned their proud tradition of day-drinking in favor of foreign imports like yoga and fusion restaurants. Per the Post, this dip in boozing hit Post Pub hard. The bar tried to compensate by expanding its lunchtime offerings, but it just couldn’t make up for all those unpoured martinis. Even its famous two-part happy hour — markdowns from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. were perfect timing for Cockburn — couldn’t stem the losses.
Cockburn notes that journalists are deserving of special blame for Post Pub’s woes. They were once the backbone of the dive’s highballing and low-living culture. The bar’s name is no coincidence. It used to sit across the street from the Washington Post‘s headquarters, with thirsty reporters tottering back and forth throughout the day. After the paper moved on to posher furnishings, Post Pub became a haunt of right-wing scribes, with the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, the Weekly Standard (RIP), R Street and the American Conservative at one point all located nearby.
Alas, it wasn’t enough. Cockburn speaks from experience when he observes that the personality of your average journalist has changed. No longer a barfly, he now spends much of his day drooling catatonically in the sickly glow of a social-media screen. Against the alluring powers of Zuckerberg and Dorsey, what chance does a neighborhood bar have?
Fortunately there is hope. Cockburn was cheered last week to hear rumors that Post Pub may be reopening under new management. Several passersby have confirmed that the lights inside have been switched on. The only downside? Axios reports that the new Post Pub will offer ‘a plant-based burger named after legendary Post editor Ben Bradlee,’ which seems like a curious way to honor the swaggering newsman.
Still, beggars can’t be choosers. Cockburn heartily welcomes back Post Pub and looks forward to stopping by for a reuben and a cold one.