Summer has been a time of reflection and spiritual awakening for Mr. Harada and myself. We enjoyed outings to the desert and visited many watering holes around Joshua Tree (or Josh Tree, as we call it, since we’re pretty tight now). I also took a pilgrimage to the San Jose Civic last month to watch the sacred master perform his teachings. I even got to meet the D’Ali Yankovic. It was joyful, like watching my first child being born, only more meaningful and less gross.

Mr. Harada had an awakening of his own. Any time he does something with a scoach more than minimal vigor, he finds a new calling. This time: billiards. When I paged him 143 as a signal to meet, I had a pretty good idea that the place would have a pool table. Sure enough, when I answered the car phone installed on tricycle basket, he gave me a place: The Place.

I wheeled down South First Street to the iconic San Jose bar and thought back to the days of yore, when laces were fat, skateboard wheels were meager in girth and a band named after a Mexican rice and cinnamon drink ruled the scene. This horrible era was the ’90s.

I marveled at how the area hadn’t changed in the past two and a half decades. Even the most inventive gentrifiers can’t spoil what’s known as “Martha’s Garden.” Kevin’s Place, or “The Place” as many know it, shines like a dagger where Second and First streets converge.

The “martini” logo that hangs above the door was once used by a skateboard brand whose followers annoyed decent people from California to the Baltic coast (as far as I can vouch for). With a tear in my eye, I opened that sacred door to find Mr. Harada already knocking balls around with his stick.

Kevin’s Place calls itself the “longest bar in town,” and it truly is a shotgun shack that serves tasty drinks at affordable prices. Like the neighborhood, not much has changed. Or maybe it has. But if so, not by much. It’s still a tavern with acoustic tile above the pool table to keep noise down. Walls are covered with automotive imagery and nostalgia like an O.J.-signed napkin. Magnificent art from the 1970s hangs above the top shelf.

It’s a neighborhood bar that hasn’t changed because it doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. The night Mr. Harada and I visited, the jukebox played New Wave. It felt like we were back in Josh Tree.

The Place
1058 S First St, San Jose.