Well, circumstance has me back at the Court Square Tavern this Friday, but this time I'll be back bartending the place. I'll be there for the foreseeable future, and boy do I have my work cut out for me.
The crowds simply aren't there like they used to be. Now that it's summer, everyone wants to be downtown. I'd rather be downtown, too, but I have bills and they have to be paid. And, I like a challenge.
For starters, I have to figure out a way to convince people to come up for food and perhaps a beverage. I'm not enough of a draw, though I do look forward to chatting with anyone who comes up to the bar. That was always one of my favorite parts when I was working there back in the day.
One new rule under my second stint as a bartender will be that I'm not closing the place on Friday nights until the last person is ready to leave. We have to build up a clientele again because we've closed way too early on Friday night. At this point in my life, I don't have anywhere else to be, so I may as well be playing a good host to people.
In an effort to drum up business, I'll likely be writing about the place over the next few days. For now, I'll conclude this post with a small snippet of a story Rey Barry was telling in the comments section of a great blog entry about the Monticello Hotel. I had asked for more information on the basement space, and Rey provided:
"The Tavern was called for decades the "Hunt Room" before being renamed Court Square Tavern to take advantage of a change in Virginia ABC naming rules. ("Taverns" using that word were not allowed an ABC license until the 70s unless the name was grand-fathered.)
Behind the Hunt Room there was a one-room barbershop from the 1920s to about 1969 when the last barber left. Clark Mann, owner-manager of the building, turned the room into a salesmen's sample showroom in 1970-71, but no salesman used it. The era of drummers traveling through the south by train and hauling their sample cases to the downtown hotel were over."
Click on the article to learn more. And come on by Friday or Saturday to help me issue in this new chapter of whatever else is going on.