February 9, 2011

If I Owned a Bar...

My long-term goal in life is to one day build up enough resources to buy an old, abandoned, and quirky building in Chicago. It would be a multi-use building with storefronts on the bottom. It would be in a neighborhood that still has a lot of poor people but is starting to slowly become more popular because you can only fit so many hipsters into Bucktown. To give you an idea, the building might look something like this:

Click image for source.
I would completely gut the building and rebuild the interior to meet modern space needs, amenities and also make it nice and green because that's what responsible developers do. It would also be my home, so I'd carve out a large section of the top floor for myself where all sorts of unspeakable things would take place.

On the ground floor I'd want a Mexican restaurant, some studio space, my office, and of course, my very own bar. I really have to thank Jo over at Thank U And Good Nite for thinking I would be an awesome bar-owner. Everyone else I have ever told this dream to thinks I would just become a raging alcoholic. I try to tell them that I would become a raging alcoholic anyway so why not make a career of it?

Being a man of rather eclectic tastes, my bar will naturally reflect my personality. Here are some of the things that would be going down in my bar.

First of all, this is going to be a no frills bar. It won't be kitsch, it won't be trendy, there won't be a theme. This will be a bar that hard-working neighborhood types will feel welcomed in. That being said, every good bar has a few quirks that makes it special. When you walk into my bar you'll be welcomed by a reproduction of my favorite painting: The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso.

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso.

Sure this piece is a bit depressing, but art is worth dying for God damnit! A little bit of depression is good for business anyway. There would also be a secret passage from the bar to my office. That way, when my beautiful, artistic, yet verbally abusive and emotionally unstable wife comes down to yell at me for avoiding her and staying at the bar too late, I can sneak into my office at the last minute where we'll have an argument with our words and hands that ends with us making violent love against the wall.

I'll have at least one bilingual bartender and Mexicans will be more than welcome. Nothing says awesome night at the local pub like doing a tequila shot with a drunk Mexican that barely speaks any English and wears a cowboy hat that has "smile now, cry later" airbrushed on it.

Click image for source.
The Duffel Bag Guy will also be a fixture at my bar. If you're from the suburbs and have no idea who I'm talking about, the Duffel Bag Guy walks around every decent neighborhood with a duffel bag full of of Newports he bought in Indiana (because the 10 bucks a pack here is ridiculous), and fake Coach purses for the ladies. In exchange for letting him sell his illegal wares a couple times a night in my bar I'll get the latest bootleg movies movies free of charge and some pretty shitty weed.

Click image for source.
One of my bartenders will have an encyclopedic knowledge of Frank Zappa's life and music career. He'll even be nice enough to let you hook up your iPod to the speaker system to play one of your favorite tunes. Be careful though, if the song you play sucks he will unplug it right away and refuse to serve you the rest of the night - unless you offer to blow him. Karaoke will be encouraged but there will not be one of those god awful machines. There will be a big wooden spoon behind the bar that will be your microphone. You'll be expected to know the words by heart. If you impress the bartender (or promise to blow him later) you and your friends will get a round of free drinks.

Hacker-Pschorr will be kept on tap and sold at cost. Nothing clever to say here. I just love that shit.

I think that gives you a pretty good taste of the kind of establishment I would run. Any good ideas that I'm leaving out? Oh, almost forgot. These signs that Jo made would go on the bathroom doors. Since the post is over now can go check out her etsy page and buy cool stuff.

26 comments:

  1. Dude, your bar sounds like my kind of joint. Will there be additional space in your building for starving artists? I do odd jobs and am not opposed to sleeping in a furnace room.

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  2. Wow, I would (try to) be a regular at such an awesome bar. I will learn all my song lyrics by-heart :)

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  3. owning a bar is one of my dreams too man. Well rather a fine restaurant with a bar inside of it...

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  4. even though I don't drink alcohol nor have I ever been in a bar...I may happen to pop into this futuristic bar and check out the depression that flows off these walls, you know since art is that good and all :)

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  5. I would def frequent this bar. Can I work there and be guardian of the painting? You KNOW some drunk fool is either going to try to steal it or ruin it one night.

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  6. If you do this, I will seriously pack my belongings, move to Chicago, and buy one of the condos/apartments in your building. Not only would I be a regular at this bar, I would even help out with shifts if need be. I love the idea that much!! :)

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  7. i think you know what i am going to say, don't you?

    where is the stage? where are the poles? where is the stripper dressing room, the very scene for all the giggling pillow fights and inappropriate, drunken proliferation of new life to take place?

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  8. when i am older, i'll be going there

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  9. Brilliant! I'll be going there after class every Thursday and getting into discussions with randoms about the really IMPORTANT questions.

    Ya know, shit like the ethics of letting a vampire work at a blood bank, or if eating an entire mermaid makes you a cannibal.

    Where do I learn Mexican?

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  10. I'd certainly become a regular at such a bar... unfortunately, bars here are filled with less-than-intelligent folksy, country-singing types with pedo-staches. Soo... I seem to be abstaining from alcohol nowadays.

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  11. What a wonderful goal! I love going to places where you don't have to feel "on".

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  12. Perfection.
    A trip to Chicago will be worth it then.
    I have seen some awesome(ly weird) men and women bathroom signs. You'll love em.

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  13. A Beer: That's a damn good idea. It'd help keep costs down thats for sure.

    Apfel: Ha, you'd be more than welcome for sure!

    watchmen: That'd be cool too, but then I'd be fat and an alcoholic. I think I'll stick to just owning the bar.

    Victoria: We would be more than happy to corrupt newcomers at my establishment!

    travelgirl: Chances are I'll probably end up trying to steal it myself, so yes, you've got the job!

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  14. Jennifer: Well I'll put you at the top of my list of perspective tenants!

    Kage: I'll make sure there is a back room for all that sort of fun. Most things will probably be done off the books at this place so I'd like to keep that sort of thing more for the regulars and out of sight from anyone that might go to the cops.

    helen: I'll make sure you're on the list! Not that this will be the type of place with a list.

    Peridot: Ha! That's exactly the sort of conversations I want taking place.

    K. Syrah: Well I'd be hoping for a bit more interesting crowd than that.

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  15. Tanya: Me too!

    Such!: A trip to Chicago is always worth it. I'm just trying to add to the awesomeness that is Chicago.

    MrsCaptKerk: You're invited!

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  16. I love that painting too. And I agree with you; if you are going to be a raging alcoholic anyway, get the stuff at wholesale cost.

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  17. Missed: It's been my favorite ever since I was a kid. Probably because I got to see it so much since they keep it here in Chicago at the Art Institute. It's just really always spoken to me.

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  18. not a clue who the duffel bag dude is. we have a little neighborhood place i totally dig called the bye and bye...appears hipster when you see the bartenders but it's really six dudes who wanted to open a bar who happen to be vegan. but before you gasp at the "v" word - the best damn meatball sandwich i've ever had, coming from a bona fide carnivore. and cute boys and girls without a whole lotta attitude. oh yeah and in the summers the windows roll up and hundreds of bikes litter the lot. http://thebyeandbye.com/index.html

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  19. Eco: Sounds like a fun place. I would be a bit terrified of all the vegans though.

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  20. Will you be showcasing live music at your bar, hey it's your place you could start your own band.

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  21. I always wanted to own a firestation! You know the one on Damen/Milwaukee/North--that is now a store or a restaurant (can't remember)! That one! I remember when they were selling it ten or so years ago. Damn. If only...

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  22. Ryan: Good point, going to have to get a small stage. And believe me, nobody needs me getting near any instruments.

    Samantha: Yea, fire house would be a pretty awesome location too. I love it when people reformat old buildings just adds so much character to what you're building.

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  23. I love this idea. My type of bar. I went to a recently opened bar downtown last Friday for a friend's birthday happy hour and wanted to leave the minute I walked in. Too crowded. Too many Trixies. Too many former frat boys. Sigh...

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  24. Mel: Yea, the former frat boy crowd is death to any place.

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  25. Oh yeah! That does sound awesome. I'd work there and could be the surly bartender from Australia. I'm damn good at pulling beers and have a great knowledge of all things alcoholic...

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