Monday, November 7, 2016

Should Small Bars and Local Taverns Have Legends?

We live in a world based on fact - fiction and legends. Facts are things we know for sure - like gravity. Fiction we know is not true - like Gina can throw a baseball over a mile. But Legends - aah they are the things that make us wonder and occasionally smile.

Ever heard the Legend of the Lone Ranger; the self-appointed law man who wore a mask and shot silver bullets? He and his Native American companion fought injustice in the old west? What about the legendary swordsman - Zorro? He single-handedly fought the Spanish government because it oppressed and over taxed the early settlers of California.

Neither Zorro nor the Lone Ranger can be factually confirmed as there is no official documentation about them, but school age children and senior citizens know about their heroic exploits. So should bar and tavern owners consider having ‘Legends’? Well some do … and those are generally the bars with big crowds and making lots of money.

Whenever I walk in a new bar I love learning about the bar's history. Some bars print their histories on the back of their menus others have a plaque on the wall. There is a bar that claims Al Capone stopped in once while on the run from the G-Men in Chicago. Another says that when John Glenn returned from his historic space orbit he stopped in this one little bar in Ohio to eat his first Hamburger back on earth.

Another proclaims that Harry Houdini, the great magician, often came in - wearing a disguise to practice his new magic routines on the locals; and I even read that whenever John Wayne went back to Iowa to visit his old boyhood hometown he would always stop in this one bar and yell out “Boys the drinks are on me”. Now I am not sure if any of these stories are fact but they all sound good and each legend helped make those bars a ton of money.

So if your bar doesn’t have a Legend – why not create one? Imagine a bar somewhere called Vic’s Pump Room. Now Vic bought the bar back in the late 60’s, and then sold it to his son-in-law Walther in 1992. Walther still owns the bar but now his twin daughters, April and Agnes, operate and manage it. Vic’s sells cold beer and provides a good stiff drink in a clean, friendly atmosphere. Vic’s is in a modest neighborhood in an older section of town.  It has a gorgeous carved mahogany back bar area and 60% of the patrons are locals while 40% are strangers just passing through town.

Imagine people entering and seeing this magnificent older bar. They have a few drinks and order a burger then ask ‘what’s the deal’? Well Vic bought the bar in the 60’s, sold it to Walter his son in law in the 90’s and now Vic’s granddaughters - April and Agnes - run it. Boring!

What if Vic’s Pump Room had a Legend that it was once the site of Aldo’s Fine Jewelry Shop? Aldo, a Romanian watchmaker, immigrated to America in 1921 and quickly earned a reputation for making elegant and accurate time pieces. What if Eleanor Roosevelt was reported to have bought two of Aldo’s watches and gave to the Presidents of Argentina and Iceland when they attended a White House diner?

What if Aldo’s Jewelry shop flourished until members of the notorious Simpson gang out of Wichita robbed him. As Aldo tried to defend his store he was over powered by two gang members who broke three fingers on his right hand ending his watch making career. Needing money, Aldo sold the building to the Malone brothers: Jeremiah and Jeddah - two local taxi drivers. 

As the Malone’s drove their taxis they saw a need for a conveniently located fun bar. They converted Aldo’s old Jewelry Store into the beautiful bar you see today. They operated it until Jeremiah was stabbed by Lefty Cohen for cheating during a dice game in the back room.

Fearing for their lives the Malone’s fled town and Vic bought the bar from them. Vic renamed the bar the ‘Pump Room’ because of the large red cast iron Canadian water pump down in the basement.

Now I ask you – which is better? A bar with a blah-blah history? Or a bar with a fantastic legend?

Eba G is a bar analyst who helps bar and tavern owners increase sales and maximize profits. Isn’t it time you increase your bar or tavern’s sales and profits?  Join Eba G. on Face Book.  It’s easy just search ‘Eba Gee’ and friend me.     

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