Pingvinen

Bergen, Norway
August 2015

Pity the regular patrons of the small local restaurant that gets a mention in a popular guidebook. The young bartender at Pingvinen hands out yellow English-language menus to everyone who enters and explains that there is a wait for a table. It is a small restaurant, really more of a pub, that is known for its take on traditional Norwegian dishes. There are only seven or eight tables and some counter space near the windows.

Summer is almost over. The tourists soon will be gone.It’s only six-thirty, but the place is already packed. On either side of me at the bar, locals look over their shoulders in frustration as each interloper crushes in asking for a table that’s not available, a reservation that isn’t offered, or an explanation of the drinks menu. A large group of Norwegians enter and are turned away. The young man beside me heaves a heavy sigh over his Hansa beer.

He will be happy to know summer is almost over. The tourists soon will be gone. And the locals will be able to reclaim their beloved little bar and restaurant.

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