Eulogies for Eulogy: Paying tribute to the closing of an Old City bar

Like many, I was crestfallen when I saw my colleague Michael Klein’s report Wednesday that Eulogy Belgian Tavern in Old City has closed.

Eulogy was one of the first bars a friend took me to when I moved to Philadelphia 10 years ago. And when my friend came from out of town last Friday for a concert, it was the first bar I thought to take her to after the show.

“You have to get a Dirty Hoe and the French fries,” I told her. “You can’t go to Eulogy without getting the fries.”

A Dirty Hoe was a Eulogy house special that was equal parts Hoegaarden and Lambic and all parts delicious. The fries were perhaps the best in the city — super crispy outside but mashed potatoey inside — and they came with so many dipping sauces.

As always, the staff was wonderful and the bartender chatted us up. Nobody there gave any indication that the place would shutter the next day.

We here in the newsroom thought it only fitting that we compose a eulogy (or three) for Eulogy. Two are based on famous poems about death and the third is based on an epitaph Benjamin Franklin wrote for himself.

A eulogy for Eulogy based on the Dylan Thomas poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

Do not go sober into that wretched night,

Belgian bars should party and rave when they shutter;

Rage, rage, against the dying of Eulogy, alright?

 

Though imbibers at their drunkest know sober is right,

Because their words they do find hard to utter,

They do not go sober into that wretched night.

 

Good diners, the last mussels they bite,

The empty shells cast aside in melted butter,

Rage, Rage against the dying of Eulogy, alright?

 

Wild patrons who caught a buzz and danced in the twilight,

And learned, too late, that they’d set another’s heart aflutter,

Do not go sober into that wretched night.

 

Brave men, on the brink of hunger and fright

Seated at the coffin table stuffed with clutter

Rage, rage against the dying of Eulogy, alright?

 

And you, my city, there witnessing this plight,

Curse, bless, this jawn with whatever words you can mutter.

Do not go sober into that wretched night

Rage, rage against the dying of Eulogy, alright?

 

A eulogy for Eulogy based on Mary Elizabeth Frye’s poem, “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”

Do not stand at my empty bar and weep

I am not there. I do not have any more drinks on the cheap.

I am a thousand beers that pour

I am the nights lost to alcohol, forevermore.

I am the Dirty Hoes and perfect fries,

I am all those blind dates with weirdo guys.

When you awaken in a fog

I am the hair of the dog.

Of quiet whispers in hushed conversations

I am the sweet and tasty libations.

Do not stand at my empty bar and weep.

I am not there. And neither is the barkeep.

 

A eulogy for Eulogy based on an epitaph Benjamin Franklin penned for himself

The shell of Eulogy

A. Bar

A booze cathedral

Like the cover of an old beer bible,

Its contents poured out

And stripped of its coffin table and comfy seats

Lies here, food for development

But the memories shall not be wholly lost:

For it will, as we all believed, live on forever more

In our hearts & stomachs, as a more perfect bar

Loved and cut off too soon

By the city it called home.