Ugly Is As Ugly Looks

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I ate my dinner a few days ago with a friend in a hotel dining room. It was a decent dinner for modern food, and the price was not excessive. The beer was cold and the chips were hot…and that was all to the good. The place was easy to get to and the parking lot had space. Indeed the parking lot has had space for a decade as the owners never seem to have bothered to pave or grade it.

Well, they’ve been busy. The place burned down about 9 years ago and it has taken them years to rebuild enough of it to open again. It was over 100 years old so I guess they really couldn’t raze it and put a tilt-up pub in the spot – the Heritage Commissars wouldn’t allow it. So they did the next best thing – they kept the shell, gutted the floors, turned the interior design over to drunken architecture students, and took a hammer to any walls that had not been damaged yet…and damaged them.

Well, it’s art. It must be art. Because it ain’t science. Or if it is, it is the science of the awkward. The rooms are large enough for their purpose – selling food and drink – and there are plenty of outdoor areas to use as well. But, Lordy, the interior is ugly. They have salvaged windows hung above the bar and burned floor joists jutting above the dining area and a lone abandoned fireplace stuck half-way up a wall. And everywhere you look there is a fractured brick surface – a wall or an arch. It has the look of Berlin in 1945 but without the whimsical charm. The eye has nowhere to light that does not look patchy.

Ah, well, the beer and chips were fine, and if you can stare at them you will be fine. I’ll go again, but I’ll take a book. Possibly by Frank Lloyd Wright…

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