Back before every one of my hopes and dreams burned to the fucking ground like a 1980 Richard Pryor, I used to daydream about things. Like… maybe owning a little neighborhood bar somewhere. Even though I have no experience, and even less knowledge, I believed I could do well with something like that. I felt like I had my fingers on the pulse of the sizable functioning alcoholic community, and would be able to give the people what they want.
Good, simple pub food in largeish quantity, at a reasonable price. No nonsense like wild game sausage, or stuffed pork chops with mint jelly. I mean, seriously. Somebody else can educate and expand the horizons of the drinking public. And wave goodbye to their life savings in the process.
No bullshit props like pool tables, poker machines, or dartboards. And if any staff member even MENTIONS karaoke or trivia night, they’re out. Drinking, eating, and telling inappropriate stories should be the focus. A jukebox might be OK, but every song would have to pass through the Jeff Kay filter. This ain’t no cologne and tight-shirt dance club, goddammit.
No glass & chrome furniture and fixtures, or flashing lights in the floor. Just normal chairs, tables, and couches. Maybe some table lamps. Also, no punch-in-the-face disinfectant smell. Too many bars smell like hospital wards. And that’s freaky, man.
What would be the guidelines of your imaginary bar? Please bring us up to date on it in the comments. Do they coincide with mine, at all? I’m interested to know.
Also, have you considered possible names for your never-gonna-happen establishment? I’ve always thought Smoking Fish Tavern had a nice ring to it, and would probably go with that. But I could come up with a million others, like, say The Scowling Lesbian. That’s a good one, right off the top of my head. See how easy it is?
You know what irritates me? When a bar has a really boring name, like P.J.’s Pub, or whatever. It almost makes me angry. I also don’t like when they have alternative spellings, like Trax or Morganz Saloon. It’s stupid. There’s a place a few blocks from here called Nyx. WTF?? It might be a great bar, but the name makes my jaws flex.
What the owners decide to call a bar is important, in my opinion. College Hill Sundries was a place I loved in Greensboro, not only because of the great name, but that didn’t hurt. Some other memorable bar names I’ve personally experienced during my tipsy travels: Fuzzy Ducks, The Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, The Blind Tiger, Hooray Harry’s, Now Voyager, The Vortex (tagline: “It’s never too late to start wasting your life”), The Empty Glass, Highland Tap, Billy Goat Tavern, The White Dot, The Lamb and the Flag. There are others, many others. All great names… Not as good as T.J.’s Place, granted. But not bad.
So, tell me about your daydream bar. Use the comments section, and break it down for us. Also, what are your favorite real-world bar names? You know, places that actually exist outside of our imagination?
And I need to go now. Another week of stimulating work awaits!
Have a great day, my friends.
I’ll see you again soon.
Now playing in the bunker
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Laina Smith says
Jukebox most definitely. Not everyone wants to talk with the drunks. Wooden chairs and tables with EVEN legs. I hate it when the table is all cattywampus and your drink spills when you sit it down. Clean bathrooms with graffiti.
My mother in law had relative with a bar in Scranton adjacent called Vic’s Bar. No one in the family is named Vic to my knowledge.
Wisey in Ttown says
Cattywampus is a great bar name.
Phantom Railfan says
Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night, so maybe they were going with that angle.
I don’t frequent many bars (or many other places where I may have to come into contact with other humans if I can help it) so for me a bar has to be quiet, dark, and staffed by unobtrusive bartenders who don’t go in for chit-chat unless it appears warranted. I like places with dark wood, minimal music or forced-participation nonsense, and a simple menu; in my book, anything more ambitious than cheeseburgers or nachos and it’s not a bar, it’s a restaurant. Also, I enjoy a sense of history of the establishment: old photos of customers, 50s or 60s pin-ups, maybe old-timey beer advertisements (preferably originals). Unfortunately, bars like that seem to be few and far between anymore, at least in my area.
When someone burps, my 90 y/o MIL always says “you Dirty Barney”.
I have always wanted to own a bar called “Dirty Barney’s”
I don’t frequent bars any more, haven’t for years. But some memorable bar names from my misspent youth include (but not limited to):
The Blue Tiger- a strip club on 3rd St in La Crosse Wi, long since closed
The Surf Club- A nightclub with random bands and occasional strippers where I worked as a cleaner in my quite young days, also In La Crosse
The Twilight Zone- A strip club between Wisconsin and Minnesota on the road out of La Crosse
Del’s- At the time an old folks bar but with the only dark beer on tap in town, now supposedly a college bar in La Crosse
The Purple Onion- A farmer’s and drunk’s bar put on County Trunk V outside of La Crosse
Grannie’s- A biker bar in Lemon Cove CA
The 22 Mile House- Another biker bar in Ca, on the way toward Yosemite north of Fresno. Long since closed
Pierce’s- An indescribable place east of Fresno run by an irascible old guy named Otis
The Pub- a poor folk and drunk bar in Lemoore CA
Ruby’s- Next door to the Pub, but Ruby’s opened at 6 AM for us hardcore drinkers.
There are others, but I’ll not get too carried away.
On another note a bar called The Scowling Lesbian might get pretty quickly filled with rather beefy “women” in flannel shirts and work boots. Driving Subaru Foresters.
The quotation marks are gratuitous.
Cigar bars/lounges are becoming popular. Limited food only, to avoid being labeled a restaurant. So a nice bar, comfortable lounge, appetizers, and good music for adults. I don’t know how to make money doing it, but I’d like to run one.
I prefer the classic bar names: Rathskeller (the Rat), The Tap, Bull & Finch, Cask’n Flagon, Plough & Stars. A name is acceptable if it’s McSorley’s Old Ale House.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Tipsy McChugney’s might work as a bar name.
Just visited NYC and in Manhattan, there was a bar called 3 Sheets Saloon. I loved that name!
The Rhino Club. In Greensboro an establishment had to sell 51% food to be a public/booze place if not your bar was deemed private. The Rhino had a locked front door and you had to be a member. Once a year you’d register and they gave you a key for 5 bucks. I loved the place, old wood bar that looked a mile long and the decor was a mix of art nouveau and art deco. Drink was all you did and jerks couldnt wander in off the street. Now that I’m an old folk I like the idea even more.
Dive bar in Knoxville from my college days (recently revived) was Toddy’s Back Door Tavern, which I liked for more reasons than the name, and there was the Blind Lemon in Cincinnati on Mt. Adams which had a cool name and a great patio.
My ideal bar would be dark wood, high top tables, smoke free, a jukebox set to below Cheap Trick concert levels where you can listen to music and also have a conversation, minimal food, and a semi-secluded patio with an outdoor fireplace and a small stage for the occasional acoustic set. Unlike Jeff, I’d like to have some minimal props, preferably a couple of dart boards and a bankboard shuffleboard table. I’d probably call it Black Lab Public House.
Warren Ferguson says
Wonderland (college hangout) Hollins, VA. The hook was you could drink if 18 because they served 3.2 beer. The Tradewinds, Roanoke, VA. 3 story bldg. Gays on 3rd floor except Halloween when they could dress in drag. Ground floor for walk ins and adults. Basement for regulars. Mostly college types. Horseshoe bar in basement was great. The Coffee Pot. Black & white log cabin originally a road house. Big two story replica of Coffee Pot attached to one end. Doug Clark and Hot Nuts played there every NewYears eve. Delbert McClinton a regular.
I misspent my youth and fortune in these joints and loved every minute.
Wow mine is almost identical except all the bartenders are dressed like clowns and insult you.
Wisey in Ttown says
Hold the Pickles.
If I had a bar it would have a simple name like Jack’s or Bob’s that way if you said you were going there people might think you were going to a friend’s house instead of a bar.
I love Trivia so we would have trivia but no karaoke, no open mike nights and no late night dance music.
Real wood bar and lots of it. Maybe a room with couches and chairs and books for people who want to chill. High tops. NO kids! Lots of beers without being pretentious. No beer pairing menus. Good bar food. Limited menu not following every food trend, if you want a kale, super food salad – get out.
No count down to Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick’s day clocks. Friendly, smart bartenders who know when to talk and know when to shut up and know when to stop pouring.
He wasn’t freebasing.
Some of the best minds of somebody’s generation have cogitated over the best name for a bar. It’s probably a cultural, regional and generational choice. The best I can do: “Hemingway’s Shotgun”.
The bar when I was in college was the Ox Box. Officially, it was The Oxford House. Cheap beer. And a stage for local up and coming acts, established acts (63 Monroe, Demics). Now ya got me pining for a more carefree time…
You can order their house label cider if you want a dirty look from the barmaid.
Best real world name for a bar- The Bloated Goat
My favorite – The Happy Bottom Riding Club
How cool would it have been to hang out with Yeager, Ridley, Hoover, and Pancho Barnes?
Not Oprah says
‘I’ve Given Up’
The Glass Is Half Empty Public House.
Drank/ate several times while working in Tucson at the Frog & Firkin.
Owning a bar today is probably a very risky operation. Public drinking is discouraged, smoking is banned and good portion sized bar food is considered unhealthy. I imagine that most bar patrons would be staring into their iPads or cell phones…, think of a nice vegan prison with free Wifi.
The heyday for taverns and bars must have been the years immediately after the repeal of prohibition, …late 1930s. People were happy to drink, smoke, socialize and get goofy if they felt like it. Think of the movie “Casablanca.” A tropical bar with a reasonable menu and interesting people who wanted to have a good time. It must have been nice.
. . . and Sascha was not reluctant to overpour.
Phil Jett says
Three bars within 20 yards of each other on High Street in Columbus back in the day all had great names and I patronized them all.
The Travel Agency
The Oar House
There was a place in Fairfax VA back in the day called ‘The Library.” Genius name for a bar.
The ideal bar ‘look’ for me is akin to what others have already mentioned: lots of dark wood furnishings, bar stools with red leather seats, amber lighting, probably a soundtrack of clicking glasses and hushed conversation, a faint smell of spilled liquor and cigarettes, knowledgeable bartenders, a nice happy hour appetizer spread (very very 1986), no clocks.
Did I just describe the bar from ‘Cheers’? I feel like that’s what I did, but lower the lights a little.
I don’t recall “The Library” – but then, I’ve only lived in Fairfax for 20 years. More recently there was a place called T. T. Reynolds. It was good for a college bar, but last time I went in there it smelled like vomit. The business went under and now the premises is host to an “Asian fusion” restaurant – which is actually pretty good. They serve a decent bowl of pho.
Havabite is still there.
I am excluded from any restaurant that serves food with the name “fusion” in it, because I have no outerwear from Nordstrom, The Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy, and no underwear from Under Armour or Victoria’s Secret. I once vomited in an American Eagle changing room, but I wasn’t there to try on clothes. I was there to vomit.
And I’ve stopped smoking, but if you open a bar without a smoking section — and I regret having to say this — you should go fuck yourself. This is still America, goddamn it.
Not Oprah says
Walmarter’s Tappery – Everything you could imagine deep fried.
And Chinese scotch from the deep bogs of Hunan Province: aged through six five-year plans.
Not Oprah says
Me too – when did the cooks become chefs – funny. Food blogs these days – I just want a recipe – I don’t care about your life.
Mame video game cabinet!
Parkinson’s. All of the drinks are…..
Thank you, Mr. Bond.
I thought about Blue Collar Pizza. You get cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or supreme. That’s it. No goat cheese or pesto, no vegetarian. Cheep beer on draft. I also like the dark wood atmosphere. Somebody else said old pictures from 50s and 60s, i like too. Jukebox would also have to pass my personal inspection. Open till 3am of course.
Fred Garvin says
Ferret and Trouserleg
Names of bars that used to be in my neck of the woods:
The Last Lap
Just One More
The Bull Pen