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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bouncer and the Drunks at the White Horse Tavern Have a Fascinating Conversation About... Grass

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

From the latest Bouncer column:

The White Horse Tavern.
  • The White Horse Tavern.

Did you know that the majority of the world's sod comes from grass fields in Oregon? This blew my mind when I found out -- or perhaps my fascination with ground cover indicates I have developed Asperger's Syndrome. But think about it: Anywhere in the world that a sport is played on grass, or someone has built a new home and installed a lawn, or some avant-garde designer has decided to make a ball gown out of a graminoid, they most likely have Oregon to thank. I was driving past these grass farms last year and marveling at the empire that sod built. While other moguls were plotting to overtake the cut-flower market, some smartypants realized that grass was far more ubiquitous and profitable. What could he do but laugh maniacally and rub his garden-gloved hands together with glee?

So imagine my delight when the conversation turned to grass versus Astroturf during a recent visit to the White Horse Tavern. It had heretofore been very difficult to steer conversations with strangers to lawn husbandry, but on this evening the subject came up without any prodding on my part. It was during the last, fateful 49ers game, third quarter. Optimism still ran high, and folks were on their seventh and eighth pints. It was a good time to be a San Franciscan.


"There's a movement to get back to sod," said Big Joe, the guy at the end of the bar. "That Astroturf will tear a body up." I had never thought about that. For me, the difference between real and fake grass was one of aesthetics. There is a "lawn" in the Sunset that seems quite lovely, but upon closer inspection is a carpet of faux blades. It looks hella real; you have to get right down there and pull and sniff at it to see that it is not the genuine article. (Do not do this in broad daylight, as the owner does not appreciate it.) I hate fake flowers, and fake fruit, but somehow, having a fake lawn ... well, it intrigues me. The only thing I wonder about is dog poop. Would it just sit there forever and ossify? Stuff like that would keep me up at night. How would fake grass feel when your body is rammed into it and dragged downfield? Probably not too good.

Here I am carrying on about landscaping and I haven't even described the White Horse. The place is amazing. It's like passing through a wormhole into Robin Hood's living room. The walls are stucco white with dark brown beams, Tudor-style. The front room is small and cozy, and the back area is a long room with tables that can be pushed together to make one big dining area. You can almost smell the roast stag and guinea hen pie -- really, the free hot dogs and popcorn the bar serves at happy hour...

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column.


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Katy St. Clair


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