Alary's, near the windswept intersection of Jackson and Seventh streets in St. Paul, is the sort of place where regulars present and past are immortalized on bronzed nameplates along the lip of the bar. One such plate, in the corner farthest from the street entrance, reads, "The Pope." The barstool before it is usually empty, presumably so that His Holiness would find a place to sit should he come wandering in from cold afternoon outside. The place's proprietor, a big, amiable man named Al Baisi Jr., likes to sit across from the papal perch on these afternoons, when only a handful of patrons hunch against the bar, to smoke a cigar. The moniker, he explains, is that of the fellow who built the fixtures. "We call him the Pope of West Seventh Street," he says. "After the movie." And a thin stream of smoke wreathes its way around his big head and up... More >>>