The Varsity–A Beer Guided Tour

Why will you have “What’ll you have?”

The smokingly hot, Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast, had never eaten there before.  Nuff said.

The Southern Mecca Southern Mecca

It was a Saturday afternoon and the Thomas the Train matinee at the Fox Theatre had just released a couple of thousand ankle biters and their khaki-shorted, Izod golf shirted parental units.  What luck!  We were all going to pack ourselves into the Varsity at exactly the same time.

Much too close for comfort

Much too close for comfort

I shit you not…there were thousands of people crammed inside, all in the name of hot dogs and Coca Cola.

People.  People who love people.  Are the .....

People. People who love people. Are the .....

Controlled chaos. I was actually nervous.  My wife started to stress out, not knowing exactly what she wanted to order.  The line moves fast and the pressure is on to perform at the counter.  This is the one place you do not want to look like a Varsity amateur.

You've got about 10 seconds to get it right

You've got about 10 seconds to get it right

What to drink?  Whaaa?? No beer? Sucks.  The Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast was ready to order a coke until she found out they don’t put rum in it. The crowd was crushing up against us.  The place smelled more like sweat than food…little-kid pony sweat smell.

The Varsity Hall Monitor/Floor Traffic Controller was unleashed.  She was about 4 ft. 10 inches of pure lungs. “Move to the end.  Move to the end.  Move to the end.  Move to the end.”    Loudly.  With authority.  We were in her place. No mistake about it.

Just like real cattle!

Just like real cattle!

Finally made it to the front of the line.  There was a trampled teenager passed out on the floor.  Had foot prints all over him.   My wife poked him with her shoe. “He’s still alive,” she said.  “Let’s order.”

I'll have what he's having.

Yummy?? Really???

“What’ll ya have?”

Panic.   We didn’t have any rhythm.  We were like deer caught in headlights. No sound came out of our mouths.   My heart was beating fast.  The people behind us were talking about us.  “Yankee tourists.” I heard them say.

The pressure's on.  "What'll you have?"

The pressure's on. "What'll you have?"

“I’ll have what he’s having.” Yep.  I said it.

“Are you actually enjoying this?” queried the Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast.

“Hell yes!”  I lied through my teeth.

This is stupid and there aren’t any tables.” she said.

We got our food and wandered around with our red trays from room to room to room to room to room to room to room to room until our food was cold.  The patrons that had seats stared at us and wore paper hats. I finally  spied a two-top by the door.

Two elderly women walked in front of us.  No they weren’t.  Not today.    I outran the two women and quite literally slid my tray around one woman’s back and tossed it on the table in front of them.  “Excuse me,” I said politely.  It was time to eat.

Varsity vittles!

Varsity vittles!

We ate our remarkably average hot dogs and a stack of rings that were glued together.  We watched people move about like ants…pitch and weave…try to find a seat.    We laughed.  We ate.  We enjoyed an Atlanta institution.  Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast is a Varsity Virgin no longer.

Will we go back? Of course.  It was oddly enjoyable…undoubtably memorable and highly entertaining.   This was  4-D food theater.  Every sense was assaulted.  I’d equate the experience to getting a tattoo on a roller coaster.

Just as I remembered

Just as I remembered

We left and headed to Manuel’s Tavern for a beer and a coke with rum in it.



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