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Δον Κιχώτης: The Don Quixote Bar

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Speaking of Noble Quests, on one of our last days in Piraeus and Athens, Greece, I was out for a morning stroll and happened upon a place called the Don Quixote Bar. Imagine my surprise to be strolling along, expectationless, an observer, only to glance left out of curiosity upon seeing an open door. A fair-sized mural of Don Quixote on a wall inside the narthex beckoned me. "Δον Κιχώτης" was the name on the outside. With my less-than-elementary school pronunciation skills, I sounded it out...

Δ = "D" or "Th" ?

Is this Delta or Thelta? (Brain takes a mental note and files away the possibilities in my Random Access Memory).

o = "O."

Definitely straight up Omikron. No doubt about it. (Ego: You got this. You're 50% certain of the pronunciation of this first word so far).

ν = "N."

This is Nu. Wait...what if it's a "γ," Gamma, and the font didn't allow for the tail at the bottom? (Ego: Okay, so now we either have "Don" or "Dog," "Thon" or "Thog" for the first word. Moving on...).

Next word.

Κ = "K."

How could I possibly mess this one up? Kappa. Easy peasy. (Mental calculations: You are now 100% certain of 50% of the four letters you've decoded. Attagirl. Progress).

ι = "EE."

Iota. I'm positive. (Brain: All right! Things are looking more hopeful now. The odds are in your favor! I'm guessing it's either "Don Quixote or some strange form of "Donkey" now).

χ = "HEE."

Yes, I know this one! Chi!

ώ = "OH."

Omega. (Brain: Are you sure? Sure it's not Psi, "ψ," adultered by the font selected? On second maybe!).

τ = "TAHF."

There's no possible way this could be anything other than Tau.

η = "EE."

Ita. I'm confident these "n"- looking things are pronounced like "e"s.

ς = "SSS."

Sigma. (Brain: This is basically an "S").

Putting it all together:

1st Word: "Dog" or "Don."

2nd Word: "Key-oh-tays."

"ALEX, What is "Don Quixotes" for $1,000?"


Inside Don Quixote Bar in Piraeus
The upstairs wall decor, featuring the lovely Aldonza, reimagined as Lady Dulcinea

We were one of only two couples in the entire place the night we went, and got to watch the lights flick on on the ancient crescent moon harbor.

We thought of charging at windmills together in the trenches once upon a time at the residential addictions treatment center we worked at once upon a time in another life..

The menu of Don Quixote Bar in Piraeus, Greece.
Look at this exquisitely crafted menu book.

During my undergraduate studies, I did some work in a typography laboratory at The University of Toledo. I poured my spirit into my first broadside, and handset the lead type on a Vandercook printing press I nicknamed "Geneva."

The verse above was taken from the song, "The Impossible Dream," by Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh for the musical, The Man of La Mancha, based on the Spanish novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1605.

Typography and a California job case.
A California job case in the typography lab, used to store movable type for letterpress printing.

In middle school geography, my teacher, Mr. Hull popped in this film from 1972 for one reason or another during class-Man of La Mancha. He was always looking for ways to make history and location relevant to our young, self-centered minds. I sat, with rapt attention. My eyes stung with hot, salty tears. There was no holding back. I was moved. And deeply. I went home that night, and cried some more, thinking about this man, Alonso Quijano believing he is the Knight Errant, Don Quixote de La Mancha, tasked with the quest of restoring chivalry to the world and "dreaming the impossible dream," treating all whom he encounters with kindness, respect, decency and compassion. This man who was scorned and pronounced delusional kept trying. No matter what. Ready and willing to "march into hell for a heavenly cause." His belief and treatment of others was transformative, regardless of the "objective reality" others experienced.

Don Quixote menu in Piraeus.
The first page of the menu, with a scenic overview of the waters lapping Piraeus' shore.

Beverage names at Don Quixote Bar.
Some fantastical beverage names.

Drinks at The Don Quixote Bar in Piraeus, Greece
Our drink choices: An Old Fashioned for him, and a Rocinante for me.

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