Sayonara, Black Horse
Tonight just after midnight a pub in my apartment complex was gutted by fire. It had been struggling for awhile and had recently come under new ownership. It was closed for renovation.... I heard the sirens and knew something was going on so I grabbed my camera and followed the commotion.
I stood around gawking like everyone else who gathered outside of Heritage Apartments. I never see these people. Except for my neighbor across the hall I barely know anyone here, though I have lived here over three years. When I first moved here I went to the Black Horse several times, hoping that it could become that "place where everyone knows your name." Alas, the Black Horse had been gutted long before that fire tonight. It often closed at 10 or 11PM. There was hardly ever anyone there.
A handful of old timers would hang around to see the aging but pretty bartenders who worked some nights. Other nights, you'd see a few old queens with better days behind them. Occasionally a couple of college kids would wander in, look stupefied, order a Bud Light, find a song on the jukebox, and be gone within fifteen minutes. By the time I knew the Black Horse it just couldn't draw them in anymore, or couldn't keep them once they got there. But the old place was legendary in its day. When I tell any Baby boomer who grew up in Columbus that I live in Heritage Apartments, they always smile and ask me if the Black Horse is still around. I even met a guy in his early twenties whose parents had been introduced in the Black Horse.
So there you are. The Black Horse had its day. It was once a place to meet, to come together, a scene. And towards the end of its life it kept the cheap whisky flowing for those who never left. And when it had foundered a fews years too many, they torched it. Or so it seems. I would like to think it immolated itself. Like Hemingway, when he got so decrepit he couldn't make it up the hill in his backyard--and got his shotgun. I would like to think the Black Horse short-circuited it's own wiring, willed the spark that set it ablaze....
Sayonara Black Horse, Sayonara.