How Do We Find Connection in the Public Square?

On Forming Bonds Over Bars, Benches, Books, and Breakfast

The public square is the meeting ground where people make society happen. In these spaces, physical or metaphorical or digital, we work through our shared dramas and map our collective hopes. Ideally, the public square provides room to solve the problems we face. It is also where new, thorny issues often arise.

This “Up for Discussion” is part of Zócalo’s editorial and events series spotlighting the ideas, places, and questions that have shaped the public square Zócalo has created over the past 20 years.

Here, our contributors consider the rich building blocks of the …

Where I Go: L.A.’s Oldest Standing Black-Owned Bar

I Didn’t Know How to Make a Cadillac Margarita. The Living Room Still Offered Me a Job—And a Community

The Living Room is the oldest standing Black-owned bar in Los Angeles. Located in the heart of the West Adams district and previously known as Barry’s Cocktail Lounge, the bar …

Last Call at the Cat & Fiddle

Remembering Lazy Sundays at a British Pub That Became a Hollywood Icon

Los Angeles is not a city known for dwelling on the past. So if a restaurant or bar can last more than 10 years, it’s automatically designated as a “local …

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The Bars I’ve Loved Pour a Perfect Pint—and Bring People Together

The bars I’ve loved for the past 20 years—from the Metro-North Bar Car I fell for as a teenager riding the commuter train to New York City to the little …

My Own ‘Yacht Club’

It’s Hard to Find Such Terrible Service, Awful Bathrooms, and Uneven Picnic Tables Anywhere Else, But I’m Trying

Last weekend, I went to a new bar in my new town looking for an old feeling. Could the Asheville Yacht Club possibly measure up to my beloved Gowanus Yacht …