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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Sunday, December 19, 2004
Tonight I’m taking some time out to reminisce about some of my favorite places around town that no longer exist. After numerous conversations with local friends about how some of the flavor of the Fairfield / Westport area has changed I felt it was time to say a few words about some of my favorite old haunts.

Masters Sports Cafe - Masters was, unequivocally, the best sports bar ever. It was located in the Toys R Us / Walgreens shopping area in Westport (though at the time it may have still been Child World rather than Toys R Us) and it had everything a great sports bar should have. Big screen TV’s, a great looking bar (hey I was a kid, I couldn’t drink yet), a great menu full of great sports bar food and even a mini arcade on your right hand side when you came in the door. I kicked ass at the pop-n-shot basketball game and the arcade bowling. One of my fondest memories of Masters was during one winter when I was in there having lunch with a friend (and our Moms, of course). This was back when Budweiser did a promotion called the Bud Bowl during the Super Bowl. I asked one of the waitresses if they had any stickers or buttons for the Bud Bowl. She didn’t just make it happen, but she went the extra mile when she said they didn’t have stickers but my friend and I could have giant six foot cardboard cutouts of the Bud Bowl beer bottle characters. I still have my giant cardboard Bud Light bottle. That waitress kicked ass.

Arnie’s Place - If you lived anywhere near Westport, CT in the 80’s you went to at least one birthday party at Arnie’s Place (if not ten). Arnie’s was THE arcade, with rows and rows of arcade games that seemingly went on forever, especially to the eyes of a little kid. There were also a few pool tables and air hockey tables, as well as a few sit down games. I remember I kicked ass at the sit-down version of NES Tennis where you’d play the person sitting down on the other side of you. Along the back wall they’d have all the car games you had to sit in to play, but the those rows and rows of stand up arcade games were simply a thing of beauty. Oh and these games didn’t run on quarters, nope none of them accepted real money, they only took TOKENS! You paid your ten dollars and got a roll of quarter sized Arnie’s Place tokens. Those rolls always lasted longer than I thought they would and if Arnie’s was still around today I’d still go.... that is, as long as they kept the old games around. (Too bad in it’s place is now a store named Anthropologie)

Record & Tape - The music lover in me really misses Record & Tape. Record & Tape was located in the Compo Shopping Center almost directly across the street from Sam Goody. The main difference with Record & Tape was that they always seemed to have a more varied selection despite not having the same capacity for inventory. Their bargain bin was amazing (I remember picking up LSG for $1.99) and they also had a deal where if you bought ten CDs, now matter how long it took you to amass that number, you’re 11th was free. Record & Tape was the first store I saw Wu-Tang’s "36 Chambers" album stocked proudly at the front of the rack. I guess they knew all along what took some cats years to figure out. The desk their register was at was always plastered with the latest record release posters, giving the store even more added coolness. Another hot thing about Record & Tape was that it was the last store in the area to stock vinyl. OK, so the prices may have been a little higher for some things, but the store still kicked ass.

Some other places I want to shout out include Tacos or What and the store that used to be in Trumbull Mall that had the huge pink Caddy in the front of the store. The store in the mall sold sports gear and even had some of it’s stock in the trunk of the car. I remember I copped my John Starks "The Dunk" T-shirt there as well as my Chris Slade Pats jersey. Tacos or What was the dopest Mexican food joint on earth. It’s now located in Stratford, but back when it was in Westport (where Border Grill is now) it was run by a bunch of stoners and they always made the best food (it may still be run by the same folks for all I know, it’s just too far away to hit up now). It was always spicy and the portions were no joke. The place was basically take-out only since it had no real seating, but back in the day my Mom and I had a tradition of getting an early dinner there on Thursday nights and bringing it home.

Final Thought - I feel a little old talking about all these places, but I miss ‘em just like I miss the old sit down video game they used to have at Angelina’s. Whoooooo now that’s takin ya back!
posted by Adam Bernard @ 9:51 PM  
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