Apr 25, 2013

Bailey's, a bar that shows us the money and where (when we were there) everybody had their pants on

Bailey's: Bills galore,  but not one a Bailey
The Facebook page for A.J. Bailey's Bar & Grill on Salzburg has a posting by the owner: "I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else."

Why would he write that? Only people with some other sort of distinction use that line. And just how many legs has this guy got? After all, Jake's Corner Bar once had a one-legged barmaid, so why not a three- or even four-legged owner? It would certainly give him a leg (or legs) up in the sack race at summer picnics.

The hairy guy once went to a long-gone Detroit bar that featured weekly crab races on the pool table. Watching a guy put on his pants and judging his technique would be at least as exciting, for sure (especially if a fin or two was riding the over/under on legs). We know it's not typical bar entertainment, but sometimes you're just not in the mood for shuffleboard. We were ready for anything.

Before going, we considered the optimum starting time for our sojourns and decided that since 3 p.m. seemed to be the start of happy hour, then that's for us. Time to go to work, as it were. Second-shifters. Doing otherwise would be violating the unspoken code of senior frugality: "Don't be a schmuck; take the discount."
Back bar with dollar bills

Walking into Bailey's, there's no mistaking this is a bar. Your eyes sweep the place and what ain't door or window is a sign (mostly beer), poster or logo mirror, wall-to-wall and in some cases floor-to-ceiling. But while Bailey's clearly leads the field in amount of graphics coverage, it's neither haphazard nor unsightly. Like Jake's, someone here gives a darn because everywhere (but the ceiling) the promos are hung evenly-spaced and at a comfortable eye-level. Like art in a museum, kinda sorta. 

However, unlike the rest of the place, the ceiling and wall around the bar are haphazardly plastered with bills, mostly ones but now and then a fiver and even a ten or two. We asked Stefenie, the bartender, (yes, that's how she spells it) what's the deal with all the bills taped helter-skelter and she replied in true bartender/realist fashion: "I guess people just like to waste their money." We're sure there's more to this, but finding out will happen in due time. 

There are two rooms -- the barroom and another, about the same size, more like a game room with dart boards at one end and beer pong the other (young people like to play on Friday and Saturday nights, said the bartender), and a pool table in between. There's a DJ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. If you're bored, there's wifi.

Alas, no shuffleboard. The bald guy (who was beaten handily at shuffleboard in the last two bar outings) says this was good news for the hairy guy because he'd just been toying around and setting him up. Now, says Baldo, the day of reckoning is near. But it'll have to wait.

The Baileys
There is what some (not us) would call a creepy old photo of the original Baileys, who have undoubtedly long since "gone home" (as in the old song, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey"). And alongside them, what's beginning to look like the obligatory beer salute. Other than that, the only thing here "Bailey" is their Irish Cream.

The road construction on Salzburg evidently hasn't hurt business much. The parking lot was quite full and the place quite lively for a weekday afternoon, though most of the life came from a long table of 10 or 12 young folks there after attending a funeral of someone's grandmother. Nothing like a little life to wash the taste of death out of your mouth, eh?  Another dozen or so regulars were around the bar, bunched up in knots of two and three, only they were quieter. Probably hadn't had anyone die lately.

Stefenie at the bar
We note that Stefenie was adept at multi-tasking because, despite the barroom hopping when we showed up, she was calmly working alone -- conversing with us off-and-on while keeping everyone's whistle wet and even frying up burgers for the live ones at the table. (And no, she didn't give us a free drink to write these things. We say 'em because they're true.)

As if money taped to the ceiling wasn't weird enough, Bailey's has what must be, according to Harry, the coolest (and according to Baldo, the oddest), men's room in town. Built beneath steps to the upstairs, it's all unpainted metal duckboards inside and is like walking into an old Quonset hut or maybe a 1950s bomb shelter,
Men's room
but with a nice wood floor and walls partly covered with old license plates (the oldest: 1936). Really, it's worth a look.

Seven beers are on tap -- Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Labatt's Blue for $1.50, Leinenkugel, Killian's and Sam Adams for $2. And there's a Jagermeister tap ("Ice cold shots!" it says).

Besides the usual fare, the menu on the wall lists Deep Fried Delights -- among them Saloon Stix for $2 (they're just fries, says Stef) and Dee's Mini's (mini tacos) for $4.50.  Baldo opines that it's a good thing they didn't have pickled eggs.  With their penchant for cute food names, they'd probably be called Bar Balls, which would not be a dynamite marketing ploy.

Time to go. But wait -- what about the bar owner and his pants? As it turned out, Stefenie said, we just missed him when we walked in. Damn. Maybe next time.

  The particulars:
  A.J. Bailey's Bar & Grill
  304 Salzburg Ave.

No comments: