Longer ago than I like to admit, I worked for The Lantern. I wrote occasional music stories, but mostly just spouted off about politics in a weekly op-ed column I held for two years.

Longer ago than I like to admit, I worked for The Lantern. I wrote occasional music stories, but mostly just spouted off about politics in a weekly op-ed column I held for two years.

Back then I imagined myself a pretty hard-boiled newspaperman - one of those gruff, dedicated, heavy-drinking types who had a nose for the real story. At one point, I took to things like muttering about editors for no reason.

To complete the mystique, I needed a bar where I could write and, more importantly then, be seen writing alone. This was circa 2002, just after the old South Campus was closed and bulldozed. Most bars were packed to the gills.

Eventually, I settled on The Library.

It was extremely cheap and close enough to my house to walk. Sitting quietly beneath a plain orange sign, it was appropriately dim and just crowded enough that I could concentrate but still be entertained. It had a cool name, and so did the bartender. Everyone called him Cricket.

This was my kind of place.

So I would come with my notepad and my big ideas about the election or tax law or City Hall. I'd buy a solo pitcher with a whiskey back, hunker down and get working in a well-worn wooden booth.

There's still a collection of them sitting beneath small shelves filled with books and knickknacks you might find in an English study. Even with the arcade games and digital jukebox, it was always a dusty kind of place.

On occasion, friends would meet me downstairs for a game of pool or upstairs to discuss the day's events. Most times, I'd be by myself - just a maverick young journalist and his news. Then, cash-depleted and thoroughly intoxicated, I would stumble home with the headlines folded under my arm.

When I go back now, I like that The Library hasn't changed. I like that it's rough around the edges, that people wear grooves there. I can still get a Natural Light or Milwaukee's Best draft for $1.50. I can still talk with Cricket.

And I can still see a classic old place where dreams were made.