This article is part of SELF’s Keep It Hot package, a collection of content that celebrates love and lust. Throughout February, we’ll be dishing out advice and inspiration for feeling hot, getting horny, and nurturing romantic relationships.
Kevin had a mission from the moment we finally got our cramped-but-cute piece of the suburban pie: to turn our home’s cement-floored, cobwebby garage into a bar akin to the beloved Manhattan dives of our youth. Though it took a good deal of strategizing, money (wood walls à la McSorley’s—costlier than you might think!), eBay trawling, and pandemic hours, he did it.
The result is the GarBar: a dark, classic, surprisingly chic refuge plastered with gig posters and vintage pennants, where my husband reads novels, watches baseball, and listens to dad rock—and where all our friends want to hang out, even in the winter. (Space heaters help with the chill, but I do recommend a jacket.)
When baseball season’s over, our friends have gone, and we’re the GarBar’s only patrons, it becomes a different sort of place. It’s strange to say so, but some of the most tender, electric moments of this era of our marriage have occurred out there.
We discovered the amorous pull of the GarBar by accident one night. I typically prefer to do my reading in bed, but Kevin asked me to come out and weigh in on some new art he’d put up—a Pavement poster, a tin beer sign, I forget—and, before I knew it, he was pouring me a second drink as we laughed, seated sideways at the bar, my feet in his lap. An early-aughts indie rock band was on the stereo, summer rain fell in sheets beyond the roll-up door, he looked so good in the faint light of the Edison bulbs he’d hung…you can guess where the evening took us.
Now, when we reach one of those inevitable dips in closeness that occurs in any long-term relationship, and our conversations become utilitarian (Did you put the Shipt order through? Can you bring toilet paper upstairs?) rather than intellectually stimulating or flirty or probing, a “date” in the bar after our 5-year-old son has gone to sleep is a reliable cure. It’s also cost-effective—no babysitter’s needed, so long as you occasionally glance at the baby monitor app, and there’s no markup on the booze.