Cooper’s Ale House is a treat

by Brian Clarey

I’ve known about Cooper’s Ale House since the beginning, when it took over the space from a mid-range restaurant and made it into a sports bar. I worked at a place down the street and we used to go by for drinks when the diner shift was through.

Then a couple years ago I did a story about two up-and-coming Greensboro Grasshoppers, and in the course of my reporting I spent a good amount of time with the players in the booths at Coop’s, watching the big-leaguers on the big screens, before they shuffled off to their apartments at a complex just down the road.

Thenjust last year I started going to Coop’s on NFL Sundays so I could watch my out-of-market football teams and avail myself of the free wireless signal, because I like to surf the internet while I eat nachos and watch football.

It’s the kind of joint where people from the neighborhood, college kids, sports fans, breeders, drinkers and pool shooters intermingle, with a vast menu, dozens of TV screens, scores of beers, plenty of tables and bar space for all who want it.

It’s the kind of place that has a MySpace Page, but also a wine list, local bands and karaoke, chicken wings and Dijon tuna steak.

There’s always a crowd in here, of every imaginable stripe, always a hum of conversation over the music and the steady clink and rattle of bartenders building their drinks.

It’s the perfect place to hatch a plan, at a table in the side room, while a heavy crowd soaks up hoops, hockey and domestic beers.

So how are we gonna do it? How are we gonna get to France?

I don’t know, but I do know I’ll have that Philly cheesesteak with chips, and some of those crab-cake stuffed mushrooms. You might as well bring a crab dip, too. Great ideas need powerful fuel.

Surely there’s a lot going on, menu-wise, besides bar food – an entrée menu boasts steaks, seafood, chicken and pasta dishes – but if pub-style grub is what you crave, rest assured the entire canon is represented here: cheese fries, dips, wings and other fried goods; burgers sandwiches and wraps; pizzas soups and salads; desserts that go great with dark beer.

Well we’re gonna need a website, that’s for sure, and we gotta figure out how much it’ll cost per person to go.

A pretty server brings the food, wise enough to stay and chat for a moment, discrete enough to leave us to our business.

They’ve split the sandwich in the back, a move of which I am very fond, and the chips are thick and crispy, not a soggy loser in the bunch. I take down the mushrooms myself – mushrooms are high in natural iodine, crucial for brain function and moments where mental fortitude must overcome long odds. The muttons themselves are juicy, and certainly redolent of the crab with which they’re stuffed, though not in an offensive way.

Later in the week is the best time to get out there… that’s when all the showbiz big-shots take meetings. But we’ll all have to be there Monday and Tuesday – that’s when they’re showing the movie.

I must say I’m impressed with the crab dip, normally a mundane dish. This effort is kicked up with deep-fried pita chips, which hold up well against the creamy dip, itself of an exuberant viscosity allowing it to pile on the pita.

So let’s get started, get the word out. The more people know about this the better, for sure. We’ve got to make it easy for people to get involved.

Terms agreed upon, plan of action set, she clears the plates and we lean back in the booth, light a couple smokes.

No dessert, thanks.

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