The Watering Hole: LTD Bar and Grill, 309 N. 36th St., 632-7876, FREMONT
The Atmosphere: LTD stands alone in a steel building just outside of the main Fremont drag. Its sporty, minimalist, industrial interior is only cut by a mysterious mounted boar's head, tucked away in a back corner. The rest is mostly sleek chairs and tables. Wall space is filled in by plentiful windows and 11 flat-screen TVs, showing sports by customer requests, first-come, first-served.
LTD obviously caters toward sporting enthusiasts, but they're open-minded enough for those just needing a casual drink. Their decor is not clogged up with 12th Man or 3attle business; if you just want a drink, you're not going to feel out of place. This makes it a nice neighbor to the much homier, goldfish-racing, snow-sports-themed joint Woodsky's directly to the west.The bottom line is that if you need to just be somewhere, LTD is a really easy place to do that. Fixtures include Big Buck Hunter (of course), shuffleboard, and pool. A sizable deck attracts a lot of early-afternoon drinkers during warmer weather. Tater tots are readily available.
The Barkeep: Josh Baymiller is celebrating his two-year anniversary at LTD this month, meaning he's been beer-slinging here since its inception. He fits well in this bar. Laid back and friendly but of few words, in a cotton plaid shirt and a baseball cap, it's like he was installed there just to be someone to watch the game with. As a respectable late-afternoon gathering of patrons watch a few different sporting events, Josh checks some scores (presumably to a game they're not currently showing) on a laptop.
This is a Monday; obviously, it's a more relaxed night. Josh says that weeknights tend to be all locals from the neighborhood and industry folk: "I like that I can actually talk to people," he says. The shuffleboard in particular, he says, brings in a lot of different types.
But he works both nights like these and weekends, when "mainly college kids" and recent graduates from the surrounding area bring more of a party. "I like both," he says, "It's just different."
On these laid-back weekday nights, depending on who last took over the jukebox, you could hear Snoop Dogg or Neutral Milk Hotel playing -- which speaks to the versatility of both bar and bartender, as these are two entirely different types of drinking.
The Drink: Josh hesitates before telling me that he normally drinks a shot of Jagermeister and a High Life. "It's cheap, it's easy, it's straightforward," he explains, "I don't like fuzzy cocktails." (He doesn't like making fuzzy cocktails, either.) At LTD, he says, "most people order beers, shots and basic cocktails" like wells and calls anyway. The Jager goes down . . . well, easily if you like Jager and horribly if you don't, but either way the bottle of High Life is crisp enough to cut through the saccharine sludge after a few sips so you're not left with that film on your tongue.
The Verdict: A 20-something at a sports bar in Fremont chasing a shot of Jager with a High Life? I fit right in. It's nothing special, but when you're just looking to kick back and watch a game or just party and bullshit, it gets the job done.