Shakespeare’s Generic Bar & Grill

Shakespeare’s Generic Bar & Grill

Many years ago, when I first noticed generic products on store shelves, they all looked alike. Every box, label, container was white with black lettering which identified the product within. Nothing fancy, just the facts. It was a Joe Friday kind of non-advertising, really. Before stores decided to hawk their own brands, they tested the waters by allowing customers the option of purchasing products similar to name-brand merchandise, but made more cheaply (and, therefore, subject to consumer suspicion). It became a joke for me and my friends as we discussed what the future might look like if generics caught on. And so I created my idea of the perfect, generic eatery. I suspect that Shakespeare would have laughed as well at the tomfoolery afoot and that’s how I came to name this pretend bar & grill.

Imagine, if you will, you’re driving down the highway and you spot a large black and white sign announcing SHAKESPEARE’S GENERIC BAR & GRILL. No neon, of course, just a white sign with large black letters. As you enter, you see a lengthy bar and an inordinate number of bar stools, all gleaming chrome and white plastic. Like an old 50s diner, the floor has black and white linoleum squares and the tables match the bar stools, with black-and-white checkered tablecloths and white napkins. Every item is labeled in the generic style: napkins, toothpicks, silverware, bartender, cash register, waitress, and even the restrooms—Men, Women. The only color comes from the loud juke box and customers’ clothing. It is a friendly atmosphere where you can get a good meal at a generic rate. There follows part of the menu I devised. I still have a ton of these, so prepare to groan.


As I Lay Frying–Appetizers

JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Onion Rings

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Once and Future Onion Rings with The Tale of Ginger

John Barth’s Giles Goatcheese with John Donne’s The Relish

Mark Twain’s Jumping Froglegs of Callaveras County

TS Eliot’s The Fisher-King Crabcakes with Dante’s Picante Sauce

Thomas Swift’s Gulliver’s Truffles with Shakespeare’s own Ophelia Dip

Today’s Specials:

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Fried Lady of Shallots

Tom Thumb’s Finger Sandwiches made with Popeye’s I am What I am Spam

Snails from the Crypt

Enjoy all the Jane Eyre-Popped Corn you want but you have to clean the floors!

Drink and the Whole World Drinks With You!

J Kennedy O’Toole’s A Confederacy of Punches or A Clockwork Orange Juice

John Steinbeck’s The Grapejuice of Wrath

Hunter S Thompson’s Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas

Shakespeare’s Stout, Stout, Damned Stout!

Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House Wine of Usher

William Faulkner’s The Light Beer in August

Harper Lee’s Tequila Mockingbird

Uncle Tom’s Cabernet

James Jones’ From Beer to Eternity

Dashiell Hammett’s Malt(ese) Falcon

Henrik Ibsen’s Gibson

Shakespeare’s She is the East, and Juliet is the Rum

©2015 Linda L Labin, PhD

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