Sipping a Bloody Mary at Harry’s Bar in Changi Airport, I’m sleep deprived, my body tells me it’s one time, my watch back on UK time tells me another, but it really doesn’t matter. The bar is open so it must be acceptable to drink… right?
A Bloody Mary or a G&T is often my drink in the airport or at 30,000 feet. The craft revolution hasn’t reached most airports, though perhaps the words revolution and airport don’t sit well together. Let’s just say that my revelation wasn’t expected… in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Having headed from the Grand Canyon we arrive early at Flagstaff en route to LA and the last days of our trip (not the trip which brings me through Changi… keep up). Any thoughts about avoiding crowds are unwarranted as Flagstaff seems to be a runway and one building, smaller than some of the Las Vegas bars we’d drunk in days earlier. Our 2 hour wait until take off is now actually 30 minutes, the flight having been changed without notification. That famous American service seems to stop short of airlines as the check in woman shrugs it off, leaving us to hurriedly hand our bags over and walk the 20 or so steps to our gate. Perhaps the attitude is “well either way you made it so what’s your gripe?”. Had we stopped along the route for more than gas and jerky we would have been getting to know Flagstaff better or heading to LA by road.
Good beer will sometimes find you in the most unexpected places and when you could most do with it. The airport diner come bar advertises happy hour and local craft beer… Two things I’m very glad to see. Las Vegas had been mostly a desert of bland beer but the Lumberyard, Flagstaff IPA at Blu Moon is anything but. While not quite up there with the San Francisco offering it’s a very welcome departure from blandness.
A quick hop to Phoenix should see us connect to LA but we now have extra time to spare. Approaching the American Airlines desk and the two stern older ladies behind it we check whether we can get an earlier flight. I’m not holding out any hope after the unapolgetic shrugs of Flagstaff. They take pity on us and we are offered a flight, though our bags will follow later, leaving us to wait at LAX arrivals. We decline the opportunity to watch the carousel for two hours and with a smile we are told to head to Barfly. We obviously look like we are in need.
Barfly is a busy terminal bar, the back wall is a floor to ceiling image of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood (on a private jet), the music is peppered with Brit rock and pop (think Oasis not Spice Girls) and again the beer is local. It’s a round of Four Peaks Kiltlifters and Barfly burgers to start. Between IDing us and taking orders our waitress asks where we are headed, enthuses about beer and recommends bars in Santa Monica; going as far as to call a friend to check the name of one. This is almost unimaginable in a UK airport but if this short trip has taught me anything it’s that you can be surprised and one day maybe i’ll say the same of Heathrow or Gatwick (I did say maybe). What I expected to be an uneventful trip from the Canyon to LA actually turned out to be a memorable Arizonan interlude.