1970s, Austin, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Vintage

Clarice’s Tavern

Round Rock, Texas, early 70s

Seated at the glossy counter is owner Mrs. Clarice DeBack, surrounded by her wares, transistor radio, and packs of smokes, all beneath the Jax beer sign (the mellow brew). The tavern served bar-b-q, sausage, chili, and burgers. I imagine at one time, this tavern ranked among Oldenburg’s “great good places.”

Advertising, Art, Culture, Food, Fun, Funny, Humor, Photography, Pics

Miller High Life Scores A Win

Keeping up with new Hallmark movies is exhausting these days, whatwith new movies every Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday (which cuts into Bible Study), and sometimes new movies back to back at both 7pm and 9pm. We can’t keep up. But watching hundreds of Hallmark movies means we’ve seen dozens of gingerbread houses being constructed (mostly poorly) in family homes, B&B’s on the verge of bankruptcy, and town festivals. Sometimes simply building them brings two foes together.

But IRL, I’ve never made a gingerbread house. I’ve spent Christmas with different families in different cities, and I’ve never even SEEN a gingerbread house in a person’s home. Do people even eat them? Aren’t they messy? Do they wind up in the Glad bag on December 26th?

But today I saw Miller High Life’s take on the seasonal hobby, and I have to say I’m impressed. Who needs a house when you can have a dive bar?

It’s no joke, and it’s perfect for 2021. Despite all the fear and oppression of American liberty, some industries have banked record revenue, like Big Pharma, Domino’s, and beer. Pfizer reportedly nets $268 million PER DAY and counting, as long as more and more boosters are required. And they will be. Granted, beer hasn’t seen vax $$, but nothing makes folks want to drink more than living through the 2020s.

While many restaurants have folded during the pandemic, we’ve seen craft beer pubs pop up all over our city, and adjacent cities as well. The parking lots are always full, despite pint prices that were $4 last year, now doubled for ales like Electric Jellyfish. Beer is in, man, and it won’t quit. Sure, not Miller High Life. God in heaven, not that. But dive bars? You betcha.

And you just know that when that Gingerbread man enters, everybody knows his name. Who wouldn’t want to grab a pretzel cue stick and play some billiards under actual working lights? Maybe take a load off on some peppermint stools. The kit even offers syrup to drizzle on the floor.

To the marketing geniuses at Miller High Life, I raise a glass of cheap, bland domestic ale to you. Just this once. God bless us one and all.

1950s, College, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Five Minutes After Social Distancing Is Lifted

This image of busy cash registers at the Evanston, Illinois Conrad Hilton bar was taken nearly 63 years ago to the date: April 8, 1957.

April 8th was the kickoff dinner of the second annual Soph Week, with an evening of frolic and festivities for students attending the “Hi-Guy, Hello-Girl” dance, where Jimmy Palmer’s band played swinging tunes. Here’s hoping we’ll all be in good form at the end of this trial, ready to sip and socialize.

1970s, Culture, History, Humor, Music, Nostalgia, Pics, Vintage

Dream Big, They Said

Fred's Lounge, Mamou, LA, 1977
Fred’s Lounge, Mamou, LA, 1977

Here it is in a nutshell: the reality of 1:30am bar life.  Verbena sees the 2:00am last call on the horizon.  Semisonic will play “Closing Time,” and the jukebox will stop, the lights will come up, and the illusion will shatter.  But in this brief moment, with Lloyd’s arm around her, his warm bourbony breath on her cheeks, and fiery hot nuts so accessible and so amazingly affordable, life is good.

This is one of the most telling portraits from Henry Horenstein’s book HonkyTonk, a book of fascinating black and white portraits he took mostly from the country and western scene in the 1970s.  It’s hard to narrow a brief selection down, but there are sites that showcase many of them, such as http://clampart.com/2012/07/honky-tonk-portraits-of-country-music-2/#/13.  However, I prefer to leaf through the book itself and create my own back stories.

Is Earl waxing nostalgic for his salad days, missing the boys in his high school rockabilly band, before the tattoos and the Kool habit?  Before Arlene cheated with Vernon, his supposed best friend, and then a twister took Vernon to his maker, and isn’t that sweet justice?

Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, MA, 1972
Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, MA, 1972

Lookin’ for love in all the right places.

Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville, TN 1975
Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville, TN 1975

Last call indeed.

Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville, TN  1974
Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville, TN 1974