I am someone who likes having a routine. I enjoy going to the same places, and rarely step out of my comfort zone. However, sticking to my new year resolution, I recently went out of Highlands County to a bar some of you might recognize.

It goes by several names, however the most popular are P&J’s or The Pool Room in Frostproof. It has been around for quite a while, and the patrons who go there are just the same. For this reason I was a little nervous going to The Pool Room, however I had promised a family member that I would go in celebration of her birthday.

Upon arrival I noticed how inviting not only the interior of the bar was but even the sidewalk and benches in front of the bar somehow seemed cozy and familiar — though, again, this was my first time ever visiting this bar. Perhaps it could have something to do with the people milling about, chatting with everyone who walked past.

Inside the music was loud and the air smelled like food and drinks. The bar runs along the front right side of the building. Towards the back there are a couple of pool tables, and in front of that there is a dance floor and band area.

People were gathered in groups talking, some were at the bar watching television, and others were putting the billiards tables and dance floor to the test. I looked around for a bit before finding my cousin and her friends in the crowd.

Already this was a very new experience for me. I don’t really go to bars, and I especially don’t go to them alone. However, after a few minutes of getting use to the place and being introduced to some people, I felt comfortable enough to walk around and check the place out.

Eventually, I ended up on the back deck of the bar with some people I had never met and others that I had met a time or two before. Needless to say I was not too familiar with any of the people I was with. However, I was able to be social and persevere, and even ended up having a great conversation with someone I might not ever see again.

I met someone who is from my hometown, Perry, which was surprising to say the least, since it’s a long five hours away. I also made friends with one of the people who works in the restaurant next to P&J’s, bonding over the fact that neither of use are really the ‘going out’ type.

I usually like to stick to the things I know. However, this experience has proven that sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone. I’m even considering going back to P&J’s in the future, and potentially bringing some of my friends. Not only was the service great, but so was the atmosphere. A small town joint with big energy.

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