The White Horse Trading Co sells two kinds of wine. It sells red, and it sells white. I always order white.
The white wine is stored in a small fridge, not unlike the one that doubled as a TV stand in your college dorm room. I always imagine that there is a cellar beneath the White Horse—a musty brick-walled cellar with low ceilings and arched doorways—and in that cellar is a big cobwebby wooden barrel, and that this is where the bartenders fill the glass flip-top bottles from which they serve the white wine to customers.
Some of these customers come every day. There is a grandmother, a black woman with close-cropped curls and a little thunder in her laugh. She jokes with Joe, the owner, a person that knows how to tell a woman he likes her smile without making her feel weird, or Jake, if he’s behind the bar, and whoever has bellied up next to her on one of the barstools.
She is there on Fridays when the White Horse fills up and a server—an earnest dark haired woman who wears a kilt for the occasion—is needed to keep up with the drink orders, and she is there on Tuesdays, when only one or two other customers linger in the bar, stooped over takeout pizza or gazing at the walls of endless British brick-a-brac and old hardcover books with gilded lettering decorating the spines.
A glass of white wine at the White Horse costs $5, and Joe and Jake fill the glass to the absolute brim. If you sit on one of the red sofas or the table in the front left, you will spill some as you make your way back to the bar. That’s how much they fill it to the brim. The wine tastes vaguely of apples the way table wines do in France and like a table wine it’s really the sort of stuff you should use to wash down a simple meal—a creamy chicken Normandy, maybe, scooped over rice. But the White Horse has no food on the menu. Just red wine and white wine and a Pimm’s Cup and British beer. And that’s the way it is there. And it’s pretty good.