I first stepped into Duprees back in the summer of 1991. I was downstairs with some college friends, the summer after my 2nd year at Tech, getting tickets for Total Recall. We had some time to kill so one of the guys thought it'd be a good idea to go upstairs to Duprees to chill and have a brew. Well low and behold, I'm sitting at a table, when the lovely Lisa Dupree, behind the bar at the time, motions her finger for me to come to the bar. She wants to see my ID. Well I was only 20, so Jin Kwon, one of my Korean friends who was there, does not look like me had handed me his ID. Lisa took one look at the ID and said... "That's not you. You have to leave." Oh the mortification.
Well fast forward a few years to 1993. I hadn't stepped foot in Duprees again until my paddling buddy Billy Davis took me back to shoot some pool on a Monday night. This is the first time I got a glance at Sonya James, the bartender du jour at the time. Well I made my mind at that time that Duprees ain't so bad. I started frequenting the bar more often, usually with Billy. My pool queue found a home there behind the pool counter. I got to know John Dupree in a short while. Anna Krantz had just started working at Duprees after working at Atkins Park. Runa Ware made her entrance. These were the early years, the spring time in the time line. I remember several memorable moments in this span of time, all an inddivual story in their own rite.
Mark (can't remember his last name) shot himself in the foot behind the pool counter.
I had a car stolen from the parking lot. (Never leave your keys unattended on a bar, even if you consider that bar your home.)
Susan Borden moved from her little home in Little 5 points to a new place on 8th. (helped with that move)
Rey Miranda, who had just recently moved from New York, started working with me at a parking garage. I took him to Duprees on one of the nights we were just idle not doing a whole lot. Soon I was introduced to Anna Coyle whom Rey was dating at the time.
My frequent visits continued to Duprees til the summer of 1995 when I stopped working downtown and went on a summer sabbatical. I drifted for about 4 years, making probably a semi-annual visit. These visits presented me strangers, faces I was not accustomed to. I had no idea who Ollie was, who Tony was. I was happy to find out that Anna Coyle was now behind the bar.
On to 1999, 2000. I don't know why I started going back to Duprees, but here I found myself. 7 years later, the same pool cue still behind the counter, I was back at home. I would find myself on many weekend nights hanging out with John behind the counter, sometimes bored senseless to the point where I would make little origami balls, fill the with butane, only to ignite them and watch them fly across the pool counter. I started getting acquainted with familiar faces, started playing cards with the staff on weekends. It soon became a family. A lot can happen in 3 years. I met Nandu, Rob, and James through 1 or 2 degrees of separation from the bar directly. I think it was John that asked me to come out and climb one evening at Atlanta Rocks with Nandu and James. Most of the memories bring a smile to my face, some sadden me. That was then, this is today. Tomorrow, the bar get's a new skin.
Duprees is dead, long live Duprees... Viva la Independent.
That's about all I have to say about that right now.