It’s funny, but my initial impression of Pockets Sports Bar on Kenny Road is that I won’t be logging many hours here. I could not have been more wrong on this front.
One black mark against it in the early going is that it’s located in Upper Arlington, during an era where I’m completely spellbound by the OSU campus. Suburban in every sense of the word, placid and refined, this northwest end of town differs acutely from the university mayhem I’m accustomed to. Yet with sophistication there comes an offsetting loss of character, and the further I drift from campus the more pronounced this disparity becomes. Maybe the condos up this way have clean carpets and all their windows intact, but in the exchange you lose that gap-toothed low class charm.
Of course, a little over a year later, I will wind up moving within about two blocks of this establishment, to the apartment at Merrimar Circle N. But this was all still in the murky, unpredictable future the first time I visit Pockets Sports Bar. At the behest of a coworker I’ve only recently met, Doug, I drive us there one night along with his roommate Mike Nelson, to watch a boxing match. Proudly touted upon their parking lot marquee, this boxing match, while featuring two figures I’ve never heard of, draws about a thousand drunken assholes with the same idea as ours to Pockets’s numerous mammoth TV screens. In actuality, having forgotten my state ID at home, I’m forced to drop the two of them off, as they alone claw their way through the jungle of bodies.
When I return more than thirty minutes later, locating their table to the left and sandwiched between two gigantic wall mounted screens, Doug lets out a roaring mocking cheer. Timing immaculate, a pitcher of cheap domestic beer sits between us, and the fight is just beginning. I still can’t swallow more than two or three cups of this hoppy swill in one night, but the match offers my taste buds distraction enough. Besides, with the bar too dim to peer deep and our backs to most of the compact crowd, I don’t have much choice. A burly Latino – Oscar De La Hoya, as it turns out, whose star is only rising – squares off against this wiry black, Pernell Whitaker, and I instantly take a liking to the Mexican American’s style, the deliberation of his motions. He wins in twelve rounds, our hero, which is exactly the amount of time it takes us to kill three pitchers.