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Hello Sailor

Sitting in ‘Hello Sailor’ on Lower Main Road in Obz, waiting for my friend to meet me for a drink, I wondered how I could extend this oh-so-terribly-hard job of writing about craft beer. You see, there are only so many breweries to write about.

While thinking, I caught a yawn from an Italian man sitting two tables away from me with his wife and little boy. They were drinking cappuccinos, the sprog had a coke. He looked up at me momentarily as I caught his yawn and smiled as we silently acknowledged the catchiness of yawns across the busy restaurant. That’s something I love about Observatory – it’s comfortably companionable.

But what has that to do with craft beer? Well, nothing essentially, but it was a moment before I came up with The Brilliant Idea (henceforth referred to as TBI.) I’m hoping TBI doesn’t stand for something horrible in text-speak, which I’ve never bothered to master. I can’t stand them. I mean, WTF is wrong with spelling words out? Don’t get me started on emoticons, either. I’m straying again.

As I watched the never-changing Obz crowd saunter past on the pavement outside Hello Sailor’s original wood-framed shop front windows, the lovely waitress came over and said: “Can I get you something to drink?”

What a great question, I thought, having just finished my Real Work week, and it being one of our first warm summer evenings, perfect for beer drinking.

“I’ll have a Castle Lite,” I said. (Remember, I disclosed my affinity in my first blog.)

She looked at me, I like to think aghast as I have a flair for the dramatic, but actually she just smilingly replied: “Sorry, we only have Black Label and craft beers.”

Your breath is bated, right, as you wonder how this (yesteryear) Rhodes University Black Label-swigging, now turned Castle Lite-sipping (still not for any calorie-busting properties, purely just because I like it), quite possibly soon-to-be craft beer convert, replied …

I’m straying again. Back to TBI. I looked at the bar. It had a fine selection of the big bottles that I’m beginning to realise go hand-in-hand with craft beer – CBC, &Union, Jack Black on tap. And it was then that it hit me. TBI. Maybe people don’t only want to read about the craft beer brewers and breweries, but also places you can go to drink them! Tadaaa.

“I’ll have a Black Label, please.” I kid you not. I’m not there yet. My first instinct is not (yet) craft beer. I blame Rhodes. It’s a Pavlovian reaction to the words ‘Black Label.’

This story doesn’t end here, though. I continued watching the parade of tattooed, earringed and ever-so-alternative-but-same-same Obz inhabitants on the pavement outside, sipping my icy beer. A couple – tall, bearded boy dressed in black, attached by the hand to tiny, also black-clad and heavily eye-linered girl – joined the young American girl at the next table. I knew she was American because I’d eavesdropped on her conversation on the phone earlier. Yes, I’m THAT woman in the restaurant/coffee shop/Checkers queue.

He ordered a Darling Bone Crusher, pouring it into the small tumbler the waiter gave him. It looked delicious. I like tumblers, and drinking beer that way keeps it colder for longer. No hot little hands hugging the bottle every time you take a sip. Suddenly I had beer envy.

My friend arrived, and ordered a Jack Black Pale Ale, off tap. Having sunk my Black Label while listening in to other people’s conversations watching the people – four beautiful boys carrying guitars passed by the window in the two hours we were there, I kid you not, you gotta love Obz – I tasted some of her Jack Black. It was light and deliciously full of flavour. More beer envy.

I had ordered a mezze platter, so decided I’d have a glass of wine with it, to not be too full for the toasted ciabatta, hummus and roasted vegetables. Had I not been eating, my next drink order would’ve been crafty. My friend had a BLT, with chips that are called ‘Disco Fries.’ Skinny chips which I kept pilfering from her plate and eating with mayonnaise. Yum. I’m also THAT woman.

With a fabulous, simple menu and daily specials, I’ve never had a bad meal at Hello Sailor. The place itself is beautifully done with a maritime theme, as quirky as every Obz establishment should be and they always, always, play fabulous eclectic music. It’s a laid-back, not hipster-overrun establishment. And it serves craft beer. Some on tap, some in bottles.

Next time I’m going straight for the tap.

Visit Hello Sailor online here and offline at 86 Lower Main Road, Observatory. Words and images by Briony Chisholm, visit her here.