2017 – 2018
I was lucky enough to study abroad for a one year Master’s program in Brighton, England. I found an “American” whiskey bar which had exactly zero Americans involved in the business or operations — an oversight I kindly offered to remedy for them — and started bartending there part-time. It was on a main thoroughfare but a mile or so from city center. Since it wasn’t close to the train station or late-night bars, there weren’t a lot of shops that stayed open until near bar closing time, except for a handful of generic fast food places and a 24 hour off-license (think 7-Eleven where you can get liquor).
On the rare night I was sent home before closing time, I’d sometimes celebrate by stopping to grab dinner at one of the shops that were never open when I was typically walking home with only the seagulls to keep me company. A particular favorite was a kebob shop that had the PERFECT pickles, the perfect sauces, and the same guy always working behind the counter.
Everything about the place was generic. Generic white walls, generic counter, generic register. The man who worked there was an average looking, middle-aged guy, who seemed to be of Middle Eastern descent. I honestly can’t recall anything about a specific interaction we had because it was all so average. But the food was delicious.
On a day off, having raved about the kebob shop to a friend, I tried to find my way there in the day-time. I knew it was on the south side of Western Road, and it was between my apartment on The Drive (that’s the actual name of the road) and the bar, which was less than a mile. I walked back and forth along the road looking for the shop but could not find it in the daylight. I had to settle for a just okay kebob shop, but I wasn’t going to give up permanently.
I was able to find the shop one more time after work while I lived there under the exact same circumstances as before — on my way home unexpectedly before bar close, but I never figured out it’s name or managed to get there when I was trying to do so. I like to think it was my own personal kind of “Room of Requirement.”
Submitted by Kaj