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We were walking home from the basketball court, sweaty, lurching, our headphones wrapped firmly around our head. It was just past 11 in the morning, and the air was already ribboned with an eye-stinging haze. The stink from the 99 Cent store on Fairfax was rising up out of the ground down the street, unholy, omnipresent. It drifted toward us as we walked past Molly Malone's. Frankie Valli was singing so sweetly in our ears, we didn't hear the man calling to us. Out of the corner of our right eye, he appeared--gray, bristled, and lean. The man was staring, waving a hand and moving his mouth. "What's that?" we asked, yanking the phones off our ears. He was suddenly audible. "I hope you're not doing anything active in this weather," he said, grinning, coughing out the "ackkkk" as if it were stuck in his throat.
Then, as we stood in the center of the sidewalk, not knowing how to respond, he tossed his cigarette and walked back into the bar, sat down on his stool close to the doorway, took a sip from his beer, and, with foam collecting on his upper lip, turned his eyes up to the television screen. A minute later, we were seated three feet away from him, watching the same screen, a Budweiser in our hand and an order of wings on the way.
Like most unassuming, Irish-inflected sports bars, Molly Malone's suits the inactive soul.
While a round or two of darts is readily available if one wants to ask around, this sort of bar is best when there is nothing to do and no one to talk to--when there's just a game on a screen and some air-conditioning--and the only thing moving is the foam descending down the inside of a frosty pint glass. The wings aren't too bad either--halfway spicy and fried harder than mortar, a quality we actually kind of admire in a wing. Afternoons trump nights, when grouchy, slick-haired door dudes hold court and bands take the stage next door.