IMAGE: Eliza Sohn
Quickly after setting foot inside HS Pub (4579 NE Cully Blvd., 281-0217), my friends and I realize the same thing: This would be the perfect hideout for the Barksdale crew. Just off a Northeast Cully Boulevard corner next to a small taco cart and a hardware store, the pub has more people working in the back kitchen than patrons in the front room. Before I can ask any questions, a middle-aged woman (who happens to be our doting and delightful bartender) greets us with the house manifesto. It turns out HS offers both free pool and a free jukebox, which I quickly discover is filled mostly with hand-scrawled mix CDs of RB jams. I’m finally able to accomplish my lifelong goal of playing Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, and TLC—the holy trinity of ’90s female sass—back to back to back. The small bar is set to the left of the room, flanked by a few booths, tables that wouldn’t look out of place at a hospital cafeteria and the beautiful combination of $1 pints of Miller High Life and two “corndoggies” for $2. As I’m leaving, I thank our hostess for the hospitality and the free shrimp before she tells me that next time I just have to try the Chinese food. “It’s got no scrubs!” she jokes. Of course it doesn’t.