It’s two hours after word broke that the Washington Post, storied institute of journalism, would pass from the storied Graham family to geeky Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and the Post Pub is practically empty.
A handful of regulars sit at the bar and joke about their racist dogs while slow oldies twang from the jukebox. One guy complains loudly that the songs are repeating. “Am I in The Truman Show?” he barks. “Hey! Let me out!”
From 6 to 7 p.m., few Posties venture around the corner from the newsroom to their dark, fabled dive. Four huddle around a pitcher, tapping at their phones and speaking in low tones. Not exactly the scene of liquor-laden carousing one might expect at the twilight of the Washington Post‘s Graham era.
Bartender Jen Bernard isn’t surprised that Post staffers haven’t flock to their traditional, eponymous stomping ground. “I can count the number of Post people who come in here on one hand,” Bernard says. “People come in here saying, ‘Is that the place where the Post people sit?’ No, that’s where the alcoholic comes in and day drinks.”
Bernard started working at the bar four years ago and says the journalism mystique has long worn off its red leather booths. “I don’t feel like it’s the Bernsteins and whatchamacallits,” she says. Nowadays the Post Pub caters to a quick lunch crowd, exhausted tourists who stumble in after taking tours, and anyone who doesn’t mind Real Housewives on the TV on the weekends. “People kind of stumble upon us and get wasted and end up making lifelong friends here,” she says.
Though she counts few Posties as regulars, Bernard still followed the news of the paper’s sale with interest.
“My boyfriend works at Amazon,” she says.
Photo by Karol A. Olson, Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License