A faded and worn Irish flag hung above a doorway branded with the bar’s own crest. It’s here that a man had a dream to watch his favorite television show with friends and regulars.
Eric Crowthers: Comedian, strip club manager, bartender, parody musician, comic book aficionado, and event organizer. He’s a man of many talents and a head full of ideas to put those talents to work with an unrivaled work ethic. His current endeavor for the past two years has been hosting a Walking Dead viewing party every Sunday during the season when the new episode airs.
Zero and I pushed our way through the wooden doors of the Irish Pol. Grunts and groans rang out as we carefully made our way through the sea of all black ‘Irish Pol – Walking Dead Sundays’ shirts. “What’s with the matching shirts?” Zero asked me. “Eric gives them out to newcomers!” I replied. The Walking Dead had it’s own collection of zombies, hungry for the epic show. “Not only that, there’s prizes including posters, novelty zombie items, and even Walking Dead themed pint glasses, man!” I added. Zero stood staring in awe, hungry for a shirt of his own.
“It’s pretty damn loud…how can anyone even watch the show?” Zero asked worried. I smiled already knowing the answer. “Just wait and see how quiet this place gets.” Zero stared quietly in disbelief as I rested a hand on his shoulder. “Trust me!” I laughed.
Eric emerged from the kitchen with a piping hot bowl of the Irish Pol’s famous Hot Mustard wings. He looked over at me as he placed the food in front of two customers who were more than ready to dig in. He noticed us as he placed the food in front of two customers who were more than ready to dig in. Walking over he said, “What can I put in your face-hole?” motioning to the 40 taps of beer behind him. Zero looked overwhelmed by the selection and said “What’s good?” Eric pointed to the Pabst tap and said “Honestly I like PBR because when I drink a beer I want it to actually taste like beer.” Zero laughed, “so I guess I’m having the regular then!” I ordered up a Rogue ‘Dead Guy’ Ale which was, fittingly, the special for the Walking Dead showings.
Like a flash Eric was moving on to the next customer who was already laughing at something he said. We talked with some of the attendees, amazed to see such a diverse gathering. People from all walks of life were here to enjoy the show: hipsters, lawyers, burlesque dancers, bikers, and even other bartenders. “People came from all over to see this event, eh?” asked Zero. “It’s a crazy group, right?” I replied. “For sure…there’s even some people from Jersey here just to join in the madness!” added Zero.
I turned and noticed a pretty girl standing next to me who was chatting to her friend about X-Men. I decided to try my luck, “I’m like Wolverine you know, I have an Adamantine bone in my body; I’ll let you find out which one.” She shook her head at me and laughed. She appreciated the reference enough to entertain some conversation and before I knew it we switched gears from me hitting on her sleazily to getting down and dirty with some serious discussion about the latest story arc in the comics. I was in love.
Eric burst out of the kitchen with a plate. On it was a jello mold in the shape of a human brain. The primary ingredient? Vodka. The room shouted with cheers and groans as it was cut up, placed into shot glasses, and handed out to the brain starved masses. Zero looked around the room, his jello shot in hand, and commented “Why isn’t anyone else doing the shot yet?” The girl I had been talking to looked at Zero confused. “Tradition, silly! We watch the opening scene first and then do the shots during the beginning credits, since we’ve all seen it a hundred times,” she laughed.
As the show started up the room became so quiet that someone shushed a beer can as it fell on its side. A focus and intensity enveloped the room. Anyone walking in at that moment would assume they were witnessing the zombie apocalypse descending upon them at that very moment. Zero looked impressed that this many people could be this quiet. “This is determination, my friend,” I said to him. Suddenly, the music kicked in and the title sequence started as everyone threw their shot glasses into the air and cheers’d to another Sunday with friends, booze, and our favorite show.
The bottom line:
The Walking Dead Sundays at The Irish Pol are a blast. Even if you find yourself alone it’s a place to watch the new episode, have a beer, and make someone else cook you cheap food. The atmosphere is friendly and everyone is very welcoming to newcomers. The people who come to this aren’t just patrons, or even regulars, they’re members of a cult dedicated to this show and each other. If you find yourself walking in early enough their happy hour is unrivaled (select taps $3 a pint coupled with $3 shots), and while you’re there ask Eric to tell you a story about growing up in Camden.