Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

The Schniztelburg

Looking for a place to go while Old Hickory Inn is undergoing total renovation? The Schnitz just might be the bar for you! They’re located at the corner of Texas and Goss, right across the street from The Germantown Healing House and Dirty Tease, two other Germantown favorites. Also, The Schnitz is just down the street from The Nach, Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge and the late, great OHI. There’s been a bar on the spot since the 1890’s and they still own the original liquor license. They have a very similar vibe to Old Hickory, and the regular crew is tight knit but very kind. 

What most people call The Schnitz is actually a bar named Marguerite’s after the most recent owner, a 79 year old woman who worked 7 days a week, sometimes 18 hours a day. She just sold the bar to her son and he’s taken on a business partner named Scott, and they were both in house the night we visited. Scott lives above the bar and was able to give us the skinny on all the upcoming changes. They’re looking to bring in a younger crowd, so they’re going to be changing the decor and giving the place a face lift. They’re also going to be adding a menu with all the requisite fried foods, and they’re planning an after Midnight breakfast menu so that those who have perhaps imbibed a little too much can have a bite to eat before staggering home. Remember: eat, don’t drive. Call City Scoot instead! Scott would also like to remind you that The Schnitz is Germantown’s home for Nascar. 

Allow us to introduce you to a new friend we made this week. His name is Jim, and he’s going to be 66 in April. Jim is also a Navy vet and he would just like to say, “Walkin’ in this bar puts a smile on my face.” He LOVES this bar, lives just down the street and has been coming here for 6 years and wouldn’t have it any other way. Jim is just one of the cast of characters you’re likely to meet when you set foot in the Schnitz, and a pretty perfect example of what they’re all about. 

At the moment, the Schnitz is a perfect throwback to Old Germantown and proud of it. There’s a wall of mirrors, which gives the place a slightly Labyrinth-esque feel and the other walls are wood paneled. The floor is linoleum and the ceilings are painted tin. We noticed their giant, wagon-wheel style ceiling fans and Nascar hoods affixed to the ceiling (Painted with beer logos, obviously). There are two pool tables, touch screen poker, and darts for your gaming pleasure. Of course there is a juke box, and it is absolutely stacked with country music, just to complete the throwback vibe. When we perused the selections we noticed Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline in addition to some of the more modern selections. Be prepared, you are in Nascar country now.  The beer selection is basic, with $2 domestics and $1.35 (yea, thirty-five) PBR and they don’t have any microbrews just now. They’ve got $1 Watermelon Pucker shots available all the time, and more than likely the owner will deliver them to your table. Its just that kind of place. There are chips available behind the bar until they get the menu up and running, and the joint opens at noon every day. 

According to Scott, the crowds generally come in around midnight, but when we were there at 10:30, the crowd was sparse and we’d say the average age was 30 (Jim excepted of course). We’d venture to say that this is the kind of bar you can visit totally alone and not only will your spirits be lifted, but you’ll make a couple new friends into the bargain. There’s plenty of street parking and the bathrooms are almost unnaturally clean. We spotted this sign outside the restrooms and felt honor-bound to relate to you the wisdom we found there: 

“Our aim is to keep this bathroom clean.

Gentleman, your aim will help. Stand closer – its shorter than you think.

Ladies, please remain seated for the entire performance.”

When all is said and done, we think these beers are for Old Germantown. Before the Yuppie revolution, neighborhood bars like this were the standard and not the exception they are today. Come on, you know you want to do the Time Warp with Jim, Scott and all the regulars at Maguerite’s. 

 

Current Music: Toby Keith – I Love This Bar

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February 28, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , | Leave a comment

Fire At Old HIckory Inn

Hello Fellow Bar Lovers,

 

It is with great sadness that we confirm the fire at Old Hickory Inn, on Monday, February 23. The fire began around 4 in the afternoon, and the first calls to the fire department were received around 4:10 pm. Upon personal inspection, we can tell you that this Germantown landmark is positively gutted, leaving just the stone shell of the structure behind. Considerable damage was also done to the neighboring home. 

According to the Courier Journal, “It took 40 firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control in the two-story building, which was unoccupied when the blaze started.” http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009902240407

Luckily, no one was injured, but the source of the blaze is still under investigation. Firefighters were able to comment that the situation was complicated by the alcohol in the bar. However the operator, Dan Hoffmann, who has run OHI for more than 10 years is ruined. 

 

We trust that you will keep Dan, the owners of Old Hic, the neighbors and the patrons in your hearts as they struggle to cope with the loss of this historic spot. Stay tuned for further information about the source of the fire. Thanks to the Courier Journal, WLKY, and all of our readers who called, commented, e-mailed and texted about this tragedy. 

The Beerologists

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | Leave a comment

Old Hickory

Old Hickory is a Germantown Gem. We’ve been hearing buzz about this bar for quite some time time, now. In fact, there is speculation that it’s the new hipster destination, though on the Wednesday night we used to explore, that was not the case. Nonetheless, it’s charming, and I think we may prefer it without a crowd. 

Of course, there’s not much we can tell you about Germantown that hasn’t already been said, but Old Hickory is conveniently located just a couple of blocks off Goss and catty-cornered to Flabby’s, which we’ve yet to explore. Parking was no problem for us, and even on a crowded night, it’s doubtful that you’d need to walk more than a block. It must be noted, though, that we arrived to find the doors locked. Luckily a bar regular found us and pointed out that we needed only to knock just before we left and considered this a members only sort of joint. It isn’t. The locked door was an oversight and we were welcomed with open arms. 

That, actually, is the great thing about Old Hickory. The crowd is clearly close knit and one can assume the few people who were there for the Beerologists’ visit are there most every night, but they didn’t look down their noses at us like some bar crowds look at outsiders. Actually, everyone was accommodating and quick to greet us and welcome us to their home. This is all without the knowledge that we had come to review the bar, so it was not simply an act of ass kissing.

Entertainment-wise, the place is pretty bare bones, and I suggest bringing a crowd who will make interesting conversation, but the barkeep told us there’s Karaoke on Saturdays, and that gets a big crowd. There are a couple of video games- one that’s golf themed had a group of guys absolutely entranced. Furthermore, I wouldn’t hesitate to call the place a sports bar- they clearly support U of L and UK (Cards over Cats, of course) and it’s the kind of bar where we noticed a small-screen TV using a big screen as its stand.

And on that note, I suppose I should tell you about the look of the place. It can best be described as the kitchen of someone’s pack-rat Grandma somewhere on Dixie. There were no less than 5 refrigerators, many of which I feel may be used for shelving, and a few nascar posters. As the crowd seems to be comprised, mostly, of “Good ol’ Boy” types, the ambience seems fitting. It’s clean (but smells like funnel cake) and the bathrooms are graffiti free, but the ladies’ room has an awkward 2-toiled-but-no-stall set-up. The staff’s older- types who have clearly been keeping bar longer than we’ve been alive, and that’s nice, because we know they’re pros. The place has been around between 50 and 100 years, so it makes sense that the staff’s seasoned like the place. Though we didn’t see it, we were told the crowd is very young on weekends.

The best thing about Old Hickory, I believe, are the prices. A longneck PBR is $1.50 without any specials- but wait- the specials are very special. Every day all drinks are 50 cents off from 3 to 7. On Mondays, wings are free. The food is standard bar fare- sandwiches, pizza, things that would make a place smell like funnel cake.

Though the crowd at Old Hickory seems tight knit, these drinks are for when you need a change of scene. It’s the kind of place you can visit when you’re mad at all your friends and need to fly solo to a new place. You won’t be alone for long.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , , | 2 Comments

My friend, Ron

As our pen name implies, the beerologists are, chiefly, beer drinkers. Sometimes, though, a girl needs liquor. I know this may be shameful for a Kentuckian to admit, but I generally forego Bourbon for something from someplace a little warmer- especially these days- and I believe a good rum is like a vacation in a bottle. It’s only fitting, then, that I find myself on vacation where 70% of the world’s rum is made. In Spanish, it goes by Ron. That’s right- I’m on location in Puerto Rico!
Though I would love to tell you about the new distilleries from which kind latinos have been pouring me shots, that would just be too cruel- Ron Barrilito and Don Q (short for Quixote, of course) are not exported to the states, so you won’t be able to find them (though if, somehow, you do, please have a shot-they’re delicious). Instead, let me share what I’ve learned about the drink, generally speaking.
We owe it all to Christopher Columbus who brought sugar cane to the isle of enchantment. Considering that Columbus Day is an otherwise useless holiday, perhaps we should add that to the list of occasions for drinking. Sugar cane makes molasses, and when fermented, that’s the basis of rum.
As Kentucky’s most attractive native, Johnny Depp, has taught us, the pirates were the first to dig on rum. But the stuff they drank isn’t what we like to pour in coke (that’s called a Cuba Libre, by the way, as the first guy who put rum in Coca Cola drank to a free cuba). It was a thick, sour thing called rumbullion that was considered undrinkable by all but drunken pirates and desperate slaves- perhaps this is why they added water and called it grog.
It is told in these parts that the Bacardi family were the ones who figured out how to refine it, their patriarch striving to make a drink as fine as Champagne. Considering that the Bacardis are held in the same sort of esteem as we hold the Browns, though, that may be a mixture of legend and propaganda. Regardless, they make a fine drink (and you get a couple of them for free if you tour the distillery). Particularly, I recommend Bacardi Superior- it’s dark and smoky and I’m told it goes nicely with a cigar.
Here’s the key to the whole thing- the thing that connects us all. Rum is traditionally aged in bourbon barrels. Bacardi uses mostly Jack Daniel’s barrels, but the staff I spoke with at the distillery don’t seem to understand that as Jack’s from Tennessee, it isn’t bourbon. None the less, the special blends use barrels from the bluegrass, so I think we should forgive them. I like knowing that even though bourbon isn’t my liquor of choice, it’s necessary to make a bottle of vacation. And now I can justify that choice- and so can you.
I must clarify that though I’m speaking in terms of Bacardi, I prefer Sailor Jerry or Captain Morgan- though Sailor Jerry comes from the Virgin Islands, the Captain lives here in Puerto Rico. Also from Puerto Rico is one of my favorite uses for rum- the Piña Colada (I also like getting caught in the rain). I tried one at the restaurant that created them- they use Ron Barrilito and pour ‘em strong- I recommend Aerin’s Piña Colada at the Rudyard Kipling as a fantastic substitute, though.
On a final note, if you do find yourself in Puerto Rico, there’s a bar you HAVE TO try. It’s called El Batey- in Old San Juan at Calle Cristo and Calle Sol- this is the only place I’ve found so far grittier than my beloved Mag. It’s made of concrete covered in graffiti from the people who’ve stopped by- no glass in the windows, possibly no door- but there is toilet paper in the ladies room. It closes at 9AM, which makes our 4AM closing time look completely unimpressive. The only thing in the place that might need electricity is the jukebox, which the locals swear is the best on the island (sound familiar?). Above all, I’ve been told it’s the only place in town where Americans and Puerto Ricans mingle and it doesn’t matter whether you speak Spanish or English. They welcomed me with open arms and I felt right at home. But my drink- that tasted like vacation.

February 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Barret Bar

How We RollAs a continuation of our examination of Germantown, let us now turn our limited attention spans to The Barret Bar. True to its name, Barret Bar is located at 1012 Barret Ave., a couple doors down from Lynn’s Paradise Cafe and more or less across the street from the Monkey Wrench. They have a parking lot behind the bar, and the street parking is pretty abundant, at least on the side streets. Apparently they haven’t gotten on the website bandwagon, so you’re just gonna have to go there and see it for yourself! 

The Barret Bar is almost unnaturally clean. Zero bathroom graffiti and no yucky bar carpet combined with the high polish on the bar creates a sort of members-only club kind of atmosphere. We also noticed their cool tin ceilings, wood panelling and Tiffany style lamps which show off some local support. For all you smokers (power to the nicotine-addicted!), there’s a back deck and a side patio, both with tables and chairs for your drinking pleasure. Its worth mentioning that the side patio is heated by small, contained fires and is therefore the obvious choice for February. 

Barret2

Bar service is quick, and they have a pretty impressive menu of cheap bar food. The most expensive item on the menu is $4.75, which is affordable to say the least. Similarly, the beer list is minimal but highly affordable. They don’t have much on tap, but they do keep a couple BBC brews on hand and PBR is their cheap beer choice at $1.75. Moreover, I think its safe to say that aside from booze, the Barret Bar is concerned mainly with one thing: pool. The sign in the bar room says Sharks to the left and Fish to the right, and there are truly enough pool tables in this joint to accommodate any skill level. If you think you fit in with the Sharks, the Barret Bar plays regular host to pool leagues and tournaments. Not into the billiards game? That’s ok, the Barret Bar has a foos ball table, and of course the perennial erotic photo hunt computer. But alas, there is no, that’s right no jukebox. Despite this absence, the tunes aren’t too shabby, so don’t write off the Barret Bar just yet, oh ye music-obsessed. 

Barret1

People-wise, the folks seem friendly but tight-knit. Their mostly pool players, but its worth mentioning that the folks at the Barret Bar span the age brackets. So, if you’re coming to Barret Bar, bring a crew of friends and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. 

Barret3

So, after much conferring, the Beerologists have decided that these beers are for being broke and shooting pool. If you want to shoot a game of pool and drink a cheap beer, this should be your home base! 

Current Music: Citizen Cope – Hurricane Waters

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , | Leave a comment