Herbie was one of downtown's most reknowned bartenders, a familiar face most recently at the Galley and at the Y-Knot Cafe. He could often be seen before his evening shift enjoying a draft at one of downtown's other watering holes. He knew the saloon trade. He had been in it long enough. Talkative customers of New London's late night trade have talked to Herbie in one barroom or another.
Herbie had an air about him. He exhaled a perfume that was redolent with how New London used to be. His New London was a city of small tap rooms and shining wooden countertops. It was a city of brass rails, tall tales and endless trivia. He was a part of one of New London's subcultures that still has ties to the whaling trade. Visiting sailors appreciated Herbie as much as the people saw him every day of the year.
Herbie met with an unfortunate medical incident last night. He was at The Galley, a New London bar that inhabits an old-fashioned space that will never be up to current building codes.
For those of us who know Herbie in his professional role, The Galley is a fitting place for him to find his reward. Our sympathies to his family. New London is a little less today.