Today for lunch I was introduced to The Tombs, a Georgetown University institution. Set belowstairs, just blocks off of campus, and covered with old rowing memorabilia, it’s the type of place you go for a hearty pub lunch during the day and a cheap draft at night. On this particular day, the Director of Student Health was sitting at the bar and a pair of undergraduates were at the table next to us. There’s a fireplace and decent food, thanks to a kitchen shared with the legendary, upscale dining establishment, 1789. We joked over our burgers and pulled pork, that The Tombs is where all the tweed clad diners at 1789 ate forty years before. At night, the Tombs becomes that place where everyone has three too many and stumbles home to campus in a blur with new friends, whose name no one remembers in the morning. Or so I’ve been told.
Eating in a corner booth at The Tombs, looking at the fireplace waiting empty for colder months, I was instantly transported back to The Eagle in Cambridge. Matt and I met studying abroad at Cambridge University. We were twenty years old, too young to go out to the bars at home, but in England, we were expected to share a port with our tutors on a regular basis. The Eagle was where I learned to love a good pint and appreciate a good pour. It was where I discovered the glories of pub curry and meat pies and talking with strangers about philosophy and history and world events late into the night. It was liberating and invigorating, but also slightly haunting. We sat in heavy, carved, mismatched furniture. The floors were unevenly worn from centuries of footsteps and if you closed your eyes for a second, the dim electric lights could almost be mistaken for the original gas lamps. It was magical.
So, today I was obviously in my happy place, not just because I had grilled cheese and tomato soup, but because this dining spot confirmed the feeling that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Life feels beautiful and right and even though everything is new – my job, my campus, my commute – it’s also all vaguely familiar and a little eerie, just like The Eagle. Of all that transpired in that pub since 1667, it was a quiet day in 1953 for which The Eagle is best known, when Francis Crick walked through the door and announced that he and James Watson had “discovered the secret of life.” I couldn’t say it better.