Twain’s offers all of the above

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 18, 2013
Photo from Twain's Facebook page.

Photo from Twain’s Facebook page.

There are important places in Decatur where the unimportant gather.

Twain’s exists for this reason.

It’s my little chapel Church Street. I can walk there in 15 minutes and ride my bike there in 7. The patio has wooden lattice overhead and vines grow thick there in the summer. The menu items are homage to Twain’s eponymous mascot, the walls exhibiting his quotes.

There’s a fine selection of crisp beer. Flat paneled televisions line the walls. Bar games are next to booths so wide they surround the patrons like a bear hug.

The food is the best in Decatur on a consistent basis. There are some things on the menu I’ve tried but haven’t enjoyed.

I don’t fault Twain’s for deficiencies in my personal taste.

I usually order the nachos, dripping with a blended cheese sauce. I like it with steak or chicken. It never lasts long at my table.

There’s a lovely waitress there, Jennifer, and she knows my wife and I well. She’s attentive, thoughtful and kind. It was Jennifer who first brought me a plate of the best wings you will find in any bar in town.

They were honey garlic flavored.


We settled on Twain’s as our go-to after an unfortunate incident at the Decatur Taco Mac.

Taco Mac, which has a corporate board that consists entirely of paranoid Arizona lawyers, declined to serve my friend from Alabama because he had a temporary driver’s license.

I told the Taco Mac staff I would leave if they declined my friend service. The Taco Mac staff declined him service, so I departed as the waiter carried several appetizers toward my emptying table.

I’ve been back to Taco Mac since, but only when it’s late and the other dining options are unavailable. I do not drink their beer and I consider myself a proud dropout of their brewniversity.

Also, the Decatur Taco Mac’s servers all act as though they’re part of an episode of MTV’s “Punk’d.” I have had more than one deliberately ignore my questions, intentionally bring out an incorrect order and huff if I ask for extra dressing for my chicken wings. The chicken wings are usually lukewarm and slimy.

If it weren’t for its geography and late hours, Taco Mac wouldn’t be in Decatur. There will be a great celebration when it closes, which can’t happen soon enough.

I will toast its demise from the patio of Twain’s.

My brother, who lives in Houston, visited me in September. You’d like him. He’s like me, only different. He’s got all the math genes from our mom, who is a public school algebra teacher. He was captain of the football team. He traveled from junior college to junior college playing baseball in exchange for scholarships. He works as an engineer.

I wasn’t athletic. I got the leads in local plays. I wrote cranky prose. I work as a writer.

We do have the same sense of humor, for the most part.

We ate at several restaurants while he was in Decatur. My brother didn’t like the Iberian Pig, said it was too rich for him. He shrugged at The Brick Store.

Twain’s felt as natural to him as holding a baseball bat in his hands. He played shuffle board and complimented the beer (a compliment from my brother is high praise).

Twain’s isn’t so much a restaurant as an extension of many personalities. It provides entertainment for an eclectic range of interests, but is clever enough that it doesn’t come across as half-assed or tacky. It offers multiple choice amusements.

Come football season, we will be different sorts of friends, Twain’s and I. The ivy gone from the lattice work, I will huddle in its enormous booths and watch whatever game matters most.

Drinkers at Twain’s don’t do a perp walk before the waiters will serve them beer.

At Twain’s you play the game any way you like it.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • I like Twain’s (and their fried green beans!), but I generally pick Brick Store over it.

    My reasons:
    A) The vast collection of beer! I’ve never ordered the same thing twice.
    B) I’m not a huge fan of deep fried foods or chicken wings so Brick Store’s brown butter and sage pierogies, gooey pans of raclette, and arugula salads always prevail
    C) The Belgian bar upstairs!
    D) The bartenders are always so friendly and are great at giving recommendations
    E) Brick Store’s indoor layout is way cozier (though Twain’s definitely has better outdoor seating!)
    F) I’m not into watching sports or playing pool or shuffleboard or anything like that
    G) It’s closer to my house so it’s easy to stumble back home at the end of the night

    Of course, it’s not really a competition. Each bar serves a different purpose (Twain’s is a sports bar, Brick Store is a gastropub), so preferences are very subjective and arbitrary.

    The one thing we can all agree on is that Taco Mac needs to GTFO.

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