In the 1920s, a state of the art amusement park sat upon this very site, but, long since leveled into the ground, these grimy buildings squat atop and resolutely refuse any illustrious past. This seedy auto towing establishment, its metallic jungle of rust rotting behind a ten foot barbed wire fence, lurks as a distempered mutt in the market’s deepest recess. Grouped in one dense cluster before it, a pool hall, a convenience store, some fucked up all night diner that recently opened, and a Salvation Army thrift store constitute the balance of its holdings.
As I’m holding a coupon for one free hour of pool, Suzi-Cue Pool Hall emerges a foregone conclusion for keeping the festivities rolling. The prize jewel of Indianola Shopping Center, to which we’ve paid nary a visit, though oft discussed. Yet with a moniker like this we really can’t lose.
While this trail defines a block generally accepted as campus housing, these homes on 19th visibly degrade with each step taken east. Then waiting out the three lane whir of vehicles barreling heedless north up 4th, to join this gentle creekbed of bodies as they flow toward an unseen nexus, startling in its vibrancy, and realizing that glamour has not necessarily tied itself behind us on the tracks. Its emerald aura a glittering sheet which beacons all takers, Suzi-Cue’s opens as a single large cinder block room, three walls painted white and the last, or rather first, one continuous window divided only by the door. Where a backward looking ambience, and its place within this dim blue collar neighborhood of ancient, oversized houses, declining now through a battery of decades, reanimates some distant past even our parents are a touch too young to recall. When wives doll up in elaborate but none too revealing dresses, inch long lashes and brilliant lipstick, when husbands pack an after dinner pipe before family vehicles deposit the entire community here, same night, same place, every week. Could be the 1920s sprout beyond the soil, after all.
The upright cooler behind the bar flaunts an impressive beer selection, with sufficient diversity to keep even Little Paul satisfied if he ever cares to venture beyond Maxwell’s. Adhering to the wall decor, thick, motorcycle helmet sized cubes, glass and nearly opaque, comprise the modest bar, illuminated from somewhere underneath with alternating pastel splashes. Plenty pool tables to go around, although, as is often the curious case in billiards establishments such as this, the overhead lights burn with ridiculous astringency. Additionally, the insistent acrid stench permeating this room, akin to burnt carpet, dissuades our loitering past the gratis hour. But the crowd’s reassuring, college aged normality counterbalances all misgivings, and a fine sweet dusting of eye candy, sprinkled throughout like confectioner’s sugar, justifies this excursion.
Elsewhere around this plaza, Sugar Shack is a curious diner – for lack of a better word – which sprung to life in the summer of ’97 and unfortunately didn’t last for too long thereafter. But going strong then, now, and for who knows how many decades into the distant past, there’s Sousy Market, situated on the shopping center’s edge, right along N. 4th Avenue.
We are actually living here for about a year before any of us find reason to check out this place. This despite a sign forever hanging outside which boasts COLDEST BEER IN TOWN. In our defense it is a somewhat dilapidated looking establishment from the outside, though, which the owners board up at night – and who can blame them, as is this as about as far east as you can venture under the quote unquote campus umbrella, before drifting into some sketchier neighborhoods beyond.
Well, it’s difficult to verify these matters of coldness, perhaps, at least without the proper equipment, but there’s not much debating best, as in best selection around. At a glance this has to be the largest beer arsenal anywhere in this region. The treasured Pace High Carryout gives them a run for their money, and Rick’s Beverage over by where I work, in the same strip mall as Woody’s and Kroger, surely exceeds this place, though not by much. And as far as best kept secret, as far as any legitimate contenders anywhere else on campus proper, I think they are unchallenged.
Three of the four walls are nearly eaten up by these weird imports, microbrews, and the expected cheap domestic fare. By the time Alan and I arrive on the scene, Mill Run has already grabbed a twelver of Molson Ice, likely a result of the Woody’s promotion he too sampled heavily earlier. We stroll around for a second before Alan suggests we purchase Lowenbrau.
“Okay,” I shrug, though cracking up at this proposal.
“This shit ain’t bad, actually,” he remarks while hoisting a dozen of these.
“Really? I just assumed it was shitty because I’d never seen anyone drink it.”
Still chuckling, we set this retina scorching, bright blue container on the counter so the pleasant old Middle Eastern fellow manning it can ring them. Though I’m not exactly shocked to see that they have nudie magazines arrayed in racks behind him, the pornos they have for sale and available to rent, even, are a surprising find. Yes indeed, I have a feeling Sousy Market will represent a major weapon in our arsenal moving forward.