I'd have to agree that proximity to one's house is very important for "a local." I'm at the age where I don't fit in at the college hang-outs (which in general do have a better beer selection) and at Callahan's I'm ten to fifteen years younger than the rest of the pub-goers (well, most of them). One reason for this age difference is that most folks my age have kids at home, so hanging out at the pub is difficult to fit in when you have to shuttle your kid from swimming lessons to soccer practice to a birthday part, etc. then help them with their homework while simultaneously making sure they maintain some acceptable level of personal hygiene. It's no wonder the thirty- and forty-somethings aren't showing up at the pub.
Despite the fact that New York has a reputation for being a liberal place, Long Island (especially the part I live in) is actually the conservative part of New York. There's still enough liberals to win the elections, but the conservatives are catching up. And I'm starting to think that most of the clientele at Callahan's is on the conservative side of the political fence.
I was in Callahan's the other day for a pint of Blue Point Toasted Lager (what else?) and one of the guys was sharing his conservative view of the world with everyone. Billy, the bartender, was loving it. Billy did a tour and Iraq and has an American flag tattooed to his right biceps. I've found the best way to handle these situations is to smile and nod and not say a thing.
Also, another way I'm different from most of the other Callahan's regulars is that I don't gamble. There's a couple of screens up in Callahan's with a bunch of numbers on a blue background. This is the state run "Quickdraw" lottery. The bartenders at Callahan's are constantly running betting forms (remember those scan-tron testing forms we filled out in high school?) through a machine in the corner. Billy told me the other day that a guy dropped $800 on the Quickdraw in an afternoon (and I think I'm splurging when I order a $15 shot of single malt whiskey).
All this makes me wonder why I'm going to a pub to hang out with people that are different from me and pay twice to three times as much for a pint of beer than I would if I stayed home? I'll tackle that question in the next installment of this series on the meaning of beer and drinking in one place.