Costas’ Rules/Costas Rules!
Either of these would be appropriate so take your pick! Annoy this cantankerous gentleman and you’ll never darken his bar again. Men have been banned for life for being boring, for trying to add a mixer to Chivas Regal, for questioning the genuineness of his drinks because the price was too low. Raucousness, obscenity, aggression and aggravation, singing, dancing - all banned. Definitely no kamaki! No television or wi-fi - banned. Although, if there is a football match of interest to Costas, he may be seen in a nearby bar, having told a patron of his to ‘watch the bar’!
No food to be brought in - banned. Costas himself will often be seen eating his supper whilst sitting on a nearby wall. No snacks for sale - banned. Bowls of assorted nuts are provided, however. A new bowl for new customers. Any left in a bowl when that customer has left, go straight in the bin. Oops, that’s a positive…
So why is his bar the most popular, the most frequented, often full to bursting, including all tables outside without a seat to be had? (Well, we won’t go into the saga of the tables outside saga.) Why do people eagerly await his opening for the season? Costas rarely opens during the winter months although it has been known.
For a start, let me quote Costas’ own advert:
‘We offer the most extensive collection of music, the widest choice of whiskies and the worst view within a hundred miles- at least.’
And that just about sums it up really because every word of that advert has a
100% proven provenance as do his drinks. What it says on the bottle is what you get in your glass and the prices are fair. A further point to note is that Costas always pours your drink into the glass before adding any ice. Think about it! For a non-whisky drinker, as I believe Costas is, the selection of whisky/whiskey on offer is probably the best outside of anywhere in Scotland. The collection of music belies belief and reflects Costas’ own intensive knowledge and eclectic taste. My own personal favourites were always the wee small hours when the bar was quieter, and softer, more reflective music would be played. Costas excels at judging the mood of the place. If I remember correctly, and I’m now at an age when I do sometimes doubt the little grey cells, there was once a line on the board outside proudly proclaiming, ‘No crap or rap here!’ On seeing this, another establishment, which will remain nameless, immediately advertised ‘This is where the crap and rap are!’
The view. Ye….es! OK You can’t have everything and what you and I and all the thousands who have passed through the hallowed portals of Bar Spetsai on the island of Spetses, Greece, do have is Costas himself.
Costas IS Spetsai Bar. The music, the drinks, the comfortable décor, the collection of memory provoking posters and pictures, many of the latter taken by Costas himself, the cleanliness in all respects. Even the view (!) may be retained but without Costas the ambience, that special ‘je ne sais quoi’, would be gone. So I put out an appeal to all Bar Spetsai lovers, young and old, Costas may be cantankerous (at times) but he’s our cantankerous Costas. Cherish this treasure, look after him and hopefully you’ll even avoid being banned.
Check out www.barspetsa.org for an-up-to date photo of Costas. I do have a 30 year old photo but am reluctant to publish it as I don’t wish to incur a lifetime ban! You’ll also be able to listen to a sample play list of the bar…
Mary Irvine, 29 March, 2016.