Salt-Creek-marina-district-campbell-2011-300x225I walk into the shady hideout, and the smell of sulfur, burning hydrocarbons, beer, and fish stain my nose. Combined, these odors equal a recipe for home. The poor craftsmanship of the bar just emphasizes that backyard feeling, while the view from the barstool frames it. Fish Tale’s is surrounded by boats in mooring, a marina to port, and adolescent like growth patch of mangroves forward. Year-round Christmas lights highlight the garage sale assortment of décor inside.

My beer sweats profusely and soaks the imported beer coaster (advertising a brand not sold here), and the carvings on the bar reminds me of my desk in middle school. The lacquer is thick yet worn to the point that it has preserved the partially warped and rotten wood. The company that surrounds my stool is that of blue collars and callused hands. A rough crowed with good hearts and bad teeth, the patrons are as genuine as the bar itself. These people have made this place unique and express the salty qualities I grew up around.

Every couple of minutes a mullet flies out of the black water with no style or grace, and slams back into it, cleaning the muck out of its gills. The bartender watches me as I wash down another beer, loosing my form and trying to keep my unbalanced barstool at ease, “ready for another one?” she says. Compared to other fish in these waters, mullet aren’t very desirable. The higher end of town prefers the tuna’s rich meaty texture or an exotic snappers tropical flavor. While everyone can go for a light and flaky grouper, mullet (much like Fish Tales) is an acquired taste.

Four legs with no cushion, my ass is happy sitting, staring out at the creek and its humble atmosphere. My elbows pressed against the bar, wet from the condensation of the pint, I order one more. As I lean back, the stool creaks with age, and the nails corroded by the salt air, look like they are about to snap. The stool is on its last leg, but it still has a few more rounds left.