Lucky’s Sports Tavern is hOUme

Upon turning 21 years of age in Athens, Ohio, I discovered an oasis known as Lucky’s Sports Tavern. Well…okay. I knew about Lucky’s BEFORE I was 21, but that’s not the point. Being in OU’s Army ROTC program, Lucky’s has always been sort of a “right of passage” for cadets. We, of course, are strict about underage drinking, so when we are finally of age, Lucky’s is more of an exciting privilege.

Congratulations, Here's a Beer
My friend Spyro and I decided to poke fun at the way we receive awards in the military. So, he awarded me with a Yuengling for no reason and we documented it.

When you enter this establishment, it may, at first glance, seem like a typical bar. It is not until you venture there more than a few times that you discover the many aspects you will bond with for the rest of your Bobcat lifetime.

Monday Mug Club

Ah, the infamous Mug Club. You are sitting at the bar. You look up to notice an array of glass beer mugs on the shelf in front of you. Each mug seems to have a little tag with a name or number on it. What is this, you say? Well, Lucky’s gives you the wonderful opportunity to pay a small bit of money per semester for a nice beer mug with your name on it. You will get special deals on drinks like $1.75 drafts anytime and $1 shots on Mondays. Speaking of shots, the shot menu is extensive. My friend Spyro and I have made it a goal to get through the entire shot list. They range from names like grape skittle, jet fuel, silk panties, and train wreck.

Infamous Liquor Pitchers

It’s Wednesday. A well-known bar day for OU students. $5 liquor pitchers at Lucky’s. The place gets packed. Everyone usually has a pitcher of “Lucky’s Lemonade,” “Electric Lemonade,” “Big Red Machine,” or one of the other popular liquor drinks to themselves (with about 1,578 straws in each pitcher just in case you have a lot of friends that want to share). Tip: Pour your pitcher into small plastic cups. You don’t get all the extra ice and you can finish a pitcher MUCH faster (if you don’t mind dying, that is).

The Food

Whether it be the legendary cheese stix or their monthly pizza creations, Lucky’s is a great place to spend happy hour. Cheese stix are $.50 on Fridays during happy hour. I personally like their nachos and fried pickles.

                                                    The People

Alex Exum, a Lucky's bartender off duty, poses in Lucky's with a pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds. (photo courtesy of Alex Exum)
Alex Exum, a Lucky’s bartender off duty, poses in Lucky’s with a pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds. (photo courtesy of Alex Exum)

Every bar in Athens seems to have a certain crowd. From my observations, Lucky’s brings in all sorts of characters. I have seen townies, hipsters, fraternity/sorority guys and girls, and athletes. This, in my opinion, is what makes it the most likeable bar. The employees also make your experience worthwhile. They are very professional and fun. Becoming good friends with the bartenders and bouncers to the point where they know our drink orders and no longer ID us, is a pretty homey feeling, as it would be with any bar. One of the bartenders, Alex, actually came to Vegas with my friends and I.

The Atmosphere

Everyone is always having a good time in Lucky’s. As soon as you walk in, there’s almost always a crowd playing pool. You’re likely to hear the songs “Ignition” by R. Kelly or  “Africa” by Toto playing over the juke box. Nobody really seems to care about what music you play, though. Everyone in Lucky’s is pretty accepting of your tastes. You could play 15 Taylor Swift songs in a row and be fine.

Check out this video: St. Patty’s Day at Lucky’s

Overall, Lucky’s holds a special place in my heart. The biggest shock to myself is that it is technically the Steelers bar of Athens. There is no other thing in this world that I hate more than the Steelers. I am a diehard Browns fan (sadly). That alone has to say a lot about the greatness of this bar. Lucky’s is just legendary. It’s tradition. It’s home.

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I always am keeping up to date on Lucky’s Twitter for specials and events: https://twitter.com/luckysst

 

Purple Chopstix: Athens’ Hidden Dining Gem

There’s no lack of dining options for OU students. Cruise down Court Street and Chipotle, Pita Pit and Jimmy Johns– your typical quality chain restaurants– align the brick road.

They’re a safehaven from the everyday dining hall experience. However, Athens also has its fair share of hidden gems. One that made my senior-year bucket-list: Purple Chopstix.

It’s a little place I’ve heard about since my freshman year. This year, while constructing a bucket-list of places to visit in Athens before graduation, Purple Chopstix immediately came to the forefront of my mind.

Opening it’s doors in 1989, the unique, colorful restaurant located on Richland Avenue is within walking distance of South Green. However, its lack of proximity from the heart of OU campus keeps Purple Chopstix a secret sanctuary of eclectic food.

Purple ChopstixPassing by, you might not assume the little cottage would be home to savory, homemade dishes, and you might be shocked to learn that those dishes do not contain traditional Chinese foods eaten with purple chopsticks. However, the most surprising quality is that Purple Chopstix is BYOB.

According to owner and head chef Ed Fisher, his restaurant allows guests to bring their own alcohol — a concept that compliments the originality of the establishment, proving its appeal to college students — due to its lack of a liquor license.

“Going out to restaurants and bars to order drinks can be costly,” says Morgan Harkey, a senior at Ohio University. “I’m a broke college student, to have the option to get a cheap bottle of wine on your own with some friends and bring it to get a nice cooked meal is not only fun but keeps me from spending endless dollars on my own drinks.”

While the BYOB policy attracts intrigue, it is seen as a negative attribute for a restaurant from the side of those in the culinary business. “It definitely keeps would keep a restaurant from making more money,” says Jake Spiccia, the owner of Pizzazz On The Circle, a restaurant in Cleveland. “And especially for a restaurant in a college town, you just rack in the money from alcohol.”

In a town like OU, where partying is at the center of the social scene, you would think a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol would be quickly dismissed when choosing a place to dine. However, Purple Chopstix has been around for over 25 years. That’s because the food is what sells this restaurant to students and members of the Athens community.

Before going, I read some reviews to see what I was getting myself into, and they were raving. “Autumn S” claims on TripAdvisor.com says “You can’t get this food anywhere else on earth.”

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And “emilygood” promises that this a “must see when in Athens.”

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I was sold on trying Purple Chopstix after only reading a few reviews. The restaurant is only open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday for brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., so we made sure to make a reservation to just be safe.

Upon arriving, you instantly sense the quirkiness of your surroundings. From the colorful walls and artwork to the fun and personable employees. Before I had even tried the food, I decided I loved the place. To get a sense of the ambiance for yourself, check out the video below.

https://vimeo.com/145471434

The menu offers a wide variety of saliva-inducing plates ranging from curry dishes to Greek pizza. I went with “Sweet Potato Peanut Pasta” and was not disappointed. Purple Chopstix felt so homey and relaxing. We became friends with the waitress and even personally thanked Fisher, along with his son, Gabe.

A lone Patriot in Bengals-Browns-Steelers land

I’m a Patriots fan. Yes, a Patriots fan.

If it isn’t already hard enough to find the Patriots game televised at an Athens bar, I’ve got petty Browns fans yelling down my neck, “Brady’s washed up!”

Sure if you want to call seven AFC Championship appearances in the last 10 years “washed up,” then I’d agree with you.

But that’s another story.

It’s cold, way too cold to be moving out of bed after the weekend I had. But football’s on! I turn out of my single bed only to touch my bare feet to the ice-cold wooden planks of my bedroom floor. GameDay! It’s about time Sunday rolled around. By now I’m already suited up in my navy blue Tom Brady jersey, preferably with a Patriots long sleeve under it for added warmth. Shortly after, walking down my hallway, I hear a facetious, “Nice jersey, Carpenter. ” I can’t even walk around my own apartment without being ridiculed about my “bandwagon” antics and how I’m “not an actual Patriots fan.” The bars won’t be much better.

Whether or not you want to drink on Sunday, that’s your call.  Some do, some don’t.  Some local bars are more fitting come Sunday than others, but for a Patriots fan – and other NFL fans who don’t pledge allegiance to the BrownsBengalsSteelers – it’s a lonely waltz down Court Street. Where to go?

In Athens, Courtside Pizza is the go-to bar to watch the NFL. Sure, the floors are still sticky from the night before, and the aroma of stale beer and body odor masks most of the fresh air. I’ll walk in and plop myself in the nearest booth anyway.

The atmosphere is tailored toward your football addiction, yet focused on the inevitable Browns, Bengals, or Steelers fan.  Every television screen, pushing 30 of them, is playing live NFL games that Courtside employees keep loud to ensure the desired fan atmosphere. The televisions are massive near the door. As you move along the bar the screens get drastically smaller. The more isolated the spot, the smaller the screen. Yet I see no Patriots game.  Beer prices go down, though not much. Averaging $2-$2.50 normally, drafts are $1.75 on game day. I asked the bartender, “Hey, you think we can get a Patriots game on around here?”

He laughed. By then, I was moving on.

The vast variety of bars on Court Street is astonishing. My roommate Logan Cassidy had been working at The Crystal for around eight months, including the summer, so I thought I’d head that way.

As I’m passing the BP Gas station, I’m surprised to see small piles of vomit, each spaced out about 3 feet apart, heading up Court Street. It’s not even 1:30 p.m. at this point, come on people. I finally stumble into The Crystal. Literally. There was a huge 2-by-4 poking out from behind the front-door entrance. Way to “ensure safety,” Crystal staff.

While I dust off my pants from biting it at the doorway, I raise my head to see nothing but Browns fans. Ugh, here we go. They’re all staring at me. It had to be the jersey. Sure, Browns fans are bitter after giving up a 12-point lead with a minute to go in the fourth quarter to the Patriots last year. Get over it. I find the nearest stool and finally saw Logan.

“What can I get you, brother?” Cassidy asks. Double-shot of Jameson? I thought. Yeah, right, as if I had the money.

“Just a Bud Light man,” I answer. Logan walked away, fetching my $1.75 draft as I sat alone. As I waited, I decided I’d use the restroom. Fatal mistake. The Crystal bathrooms reeked of ungodly feces. I immediately turned around, almost throwing up. I reclaimed my seat only to hear the pack of hyenas calling themselves Browns fans snickering at me. I damn near turned around to say something, but my beer arrived just in time.

Logan and I talked for awhile. The bar wasn’t too busy, never really is at The Crystal come Sunday. Wednesday through Saturday at the Crystal is mayhem. Times where just you are the only person actually sitting at the bar are enjoyable. Knowing this didn’t happen very often, I continued drinking delightfully.

“These Browns fans man, I’m telling you. I’ve never seen fans so desperate to see their team win. They’ll hate you before they even know you just to see their team win. It makes me laugh,” Cassidy said. He was right. The Browns have been so abysmal the past 10 years I guess their fans have gone crazy for them to finally be good. Don’t get your hopes up, Dawg Pound.

Come to figure out, I’ve been sitting at The Crystal for about 45 minutes now watching the local televised game, Bengals at Buccaneers. This wasn’t nearly as bad as watching the Browns-Ravens game, even though four television screens surrounding me were broadcasting it. I asked Logan, “Any way you can throw the Pats game on?” He said he would if the company’s Sunday Ticket program (allowing access to watch any given game from DIRECTV) hadn’t been canceled. “For now it’s just local broadcasts,” Cassidy said. Thus meaning, Browns, Bengals, Steelers games.

At this point it’s getting ridiculous.

Next I head to The Pub across the street.  The Pub does an excellent job at mixing great food with great football.  There’s nothing like a hot meal alongside a cheap draft ($1.75) on Sundays. Walking into The Pub I thought, This is it! The smell of hamburger damn near knocked me out while there was a subtle aroma of buffalo sauce.

Sitting down in the nearest booth, I ordered a Bug Light pitcher for my buddy Ethan and me. Immediately I was surprised by the price. “It’ll be $7.25,” the surprisingly attractive bartender, blonde hair, piercing eyes, says to me. We were downing a couple drinks when our friends — Ravens fans, unfortunately — stumbled through the door. Here we go, I thought. To my astonishment, they bought us a pitcher. I guess since the prices were cheaper they felt more inclined to show they had $7.25. Whatever, I’ll take it.

Still trying to watch my Patriots, the game is obviously not on and by now it’s 2:15 p.m. At this point I’m getting sick of looking at all four screens in front of me seeing the same dreadful colors of orange, black, white, and brown. Hardly anyone in Athens is a Patriots fan so no reason to put the game on. Sure I’m following it on my SportsCenter app – Pats up 17-7 – but still. Near the end of our second pitcher, I begin looking around, scoping out the other committed fans. First person I see is a petite blonde woman. I asked her what team she rooted for. “I don’t like football,” she said. Hm, alright. So she doesn’t like football, yet chose one of the most fan-driven bars to come to on a Sunday? Confusing. “I just come here because my cousin is the bartender and gives me free drinks,” she continued. ­Ah ha! I thought. There it was. Plain and simple. Where the drinks are cheap, and in this case “free,” the customers will flock.

So the idea is “free drinks.” Sure I’m still trying to find the Patriots game televised somewhere, but I know a bartender, Anna Rutkousky, at The Pigskin so I thought why not?

Crossing the street once again, I stop into The Pigskin.  Like The Pub, this bar offers great food with a large capacity, enabling you to actually relax and not be shoulder-to-shoulder, like at Courtside.  The Pigskin is large, larger than most bars. It’s extremely long, but wide as well, enabling its 235-person capacity to fill up comfortably. The bar also has a back patio, which is nice for football during great weather.

First thing I see is a 42-inch LCD television where Tom Brady is throwing a touchdown. Yes! Finally! I think, almost screaming it out loud. Finally I made it to a bar that was televising the game I originally came out to watch.

Turning the corner, I see Anna. I told her how thankful I was that they were actually showing the Patriots game. “I don’t know much about football but I know management makes us show a different game on almost every TV,” Anna said. There are around 18 TVs in the bar so that was perfectly fine by me as I ordered a 32-ounce Bud Light draft ($2.25). At this point, there were three minutes left in the game, but I was content, sitting alone, finishing off the game happily.

Some bars come alive on Sunday, some don’t.  Football definitely brings students out, even if they don’t want to “get drunk.”  Come Sunday, head to one of the bars earlier suggested and don’t drink, you’ll still have a good time. This week I found the Patriots game. Next week my first stop will be the Pigskin. Finally finding what I was looking for, I still know that with the bundles of exaggerated Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh fans around here, at any moment I might have to go searching again.

This is the struggle of the Lone Patriots Fan.

***

John Carpenter is a senior at Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.  John is a huge Patriots fan and is planning on graduating in Spring 2015, majoring in broadcast journalism.

Athens Economics: Why there are so many bars

For a business looking to thrive, it doesn’t get much better than Athens, Ohio. The college-town vibe and young demographic make the area a hotspot for any type of restaurant or business looking to make a dent in the local economy.

But instead of diversifying the town with various establishments, nearly 20 bars and pubs are squeezed into the 1-mile radius of Athens’s Uptown. For some of the rowdier students at Ohio University, the seemingly endless bar options is a positive. But for some local officials and residents, a city with potential growth is limiting itself to one type of establishment.

Athens City Councilman Kent Butler, D-First Ward, said he often hears concerns from local residents about the number of bars on Court Street, adding that many often push for a diversification of businesses.

“I’ve heard people with families and children say they avoid Court Street at certain times because of the atmosphere,” Butler said. “When I went to school here, Court Street had a more friendly feel; it was Smalltown, USA. That was largely what attracted people here.”

Though the heavy bar scene might inhibit families and non-students in Athens from enjoying some of what the city has to offer, Butler said the number of bars isn’t the issue. The issue is the fact that alcohol revenues go to the state, not Athens’ local government. So in a city with a large number of bars, Athens is making money only from general taxes the bar owners pay, not from total revenue.

“We have a binge-drinking culture just like any other college town,” Butler said. “If (Athens) were to have a tax on alcohol, then we would be able to empower the resources in the community to better deal with the behaviors and after-effects of drinking.”

Knowing that college communities were suffering economically, Gov. John Kasich used to send college towns in Ohio impact fees upwards of $50,000, but Butler said Athens now receives about $20,000 each year.

“We spend about $16,000 on Halloween alone for the extra law enforcement and precautions to make sure it’s a safe event. That’s not including all the fests and events the rest of the year,” Butler said. “We’re woefully underfunded right now.”

An even larger problem: Butler said Athens has surpassed the maximum amount of liquor licenses it’s allowed to give to businesses.

“The State Liquor Control issues the permits and they tell you how many you’re allowed to have in a community, so I don’t know why we’re above the limit when they issue them,” Butler said.

According to the Ohio Department of Commerce’s web database, 86 liquor permits have been issued to businesses on Court Street since 1991. Eleven requests have been rejected. Five requests are pending — three of which are for Chipotle Mexican Grill.

From OU’s standpoint, a school notoriously ranked among the top party schools in the country, one could argue that a heavy bar scene fuels the fire and promotes a drinking culture.

Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi acknowledged the idea, saying he would like to see a better balance between bars, restaurants, and other types of shops.

“There is strong evidence to support that environmental factors such as the density of bars and alcohol-related establishments contribute to a high-risk drinking culture,” Lombardi said in an email. “I think a good balance between the various types of establishments would have a positive impact on some of the negative outcomes that we see from high-risk behavior.”

According to the Ohio University Police Department’s 2014 Clery Report, which details crime statistics at OU and its branch campuses annually, there were 183 liquor law arrests on OU’s Athens campus in 2013. There were also 426 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations in the same year. However, those numbers are not limited to just OU students.

The Ohio Revised Code states that one ground for refusal to issue a liquor permit is “that the number of permits already existent in the neighborhood is such that the issuance or transfer of location of a permit would be detrimental to and substantially interfere with the morals, safety, or welfare of the public.” With more than 500 liquor-related violations, the lines for what makes issuing a permit “detrimental” are unclear.

Despite the number of alcohol-related arrests among students, Butler and Lombardi don’t support a “no bars” approach to the city.

“Completing the bar shuffle was a right of passage,” said Butler, a 1992 OU alumnus.

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl also wants to see fewer bars in the city, but argued that establishments that serve alcohol have the best shot at staying in business.

“Hardware stores don’t come in and agricultural feed stores won’t come either, so what would you want to replace (the bars) with and who would shop there? It’s nice to say we want to have a Macy’s or high-end retail stores, but who would shop there?” Wiehl said. “Even restaurants like Salaam or Fluff get liquor licenses to get more people to come.”

Since there’s such a demand for alcohol in a city full of college students — more than 22,000 students in Athens during the 2014 academic year, according to OU’s website — some bar managers say they never feel threatened or feel the need to compete with other bars.

“There’s never really any animosity between the bars,” said Jenny Alu, bar manager at The Pigskin Bar & Grille. “We like to get business, but its not one of those things where none of (the other bartenders) hang out or are mean to each other.”

Jesse Stowe, bar manager at Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, said they don’t compete with other bars either because “It’s all unique here.”

“We have our own niche because we’re the only place in town that creates our own beer,” he said.

Regardless of the concerns from local residents and the possible negative implications a booming bar scene could have in Athens, the number of bars in Athens won’t be dropping significantly any time soon.

“In the dog-eat-dog world of Court Street. Some things do better than others” Wiehl said. “Eateries with alcohol do the best.”

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Xander Zellner is a senior at Ohio University studying journalism. Find him on Twitter at @xanderzellner.

Tips from Court Street’s women bartenders

She throws on a women’s fit T-shirt with a Court Street bar’s  logo, a pair of denim shorts, and gym shoes —because the floor behind the bar can get slippery. Behind the bar, she’s ready to serve drinks and prepared for any customer who gets a little too friendly. She drops some change and bends down to pick it up. Even over the music, she hears the whistles directed toward her from the other side of the counter. And it doesn’t stop there. They’re calling her “baby” and grabbing her hand when she takes their credit card to pay for their fourth round of shots. She shakes it off, gets back to work, and watches the group of drunkards leave. It certainly won’t be the last encounter tonight.

The bricks of Court Street lead Athens’ night owls, and day drinkers down the iconic road lined with bars. But, before walking into their favorite Court Street establishments and ordering their favorite drinks, they must interact with a bartender. And in many cases, that bartender is a woman.

With about 20 bars in the local area, each featuring several female employees pouring the beverages, there are plenty of personal, tell-all stories from the women bartenders’ perspective on Court Street. Just as each establishment differs from the others, each woman’s experience varies, and she has her own story to tell.

IMG_1779Tori Simokov, an Ohio University senior, took her resume to every bar on Court Street 14 months ago seeking a job. After receiving Simokov’s resume, cover letter and attached photo, The Pigskin hired her. Coming from a serving background at Cantina Laredo and Hooters in her hometown, Simokov learned to transition her skills from a Columbus server to an Athens bartender at the 38 North Court Street bar and grill.

“In order to be a bartender, you have to be adaptable, work long hours, stay on your feet all day, get very little sleep, and deal with all different kinds of customers,” Simokov said. “You have to be able to multitask.” Workers not only make drinks but they cut fruit, clean the bar, clean dishware, fetch refills and make sure people get their food at some places.

Before Simokov whips up Pigskin’s signature Black Widow drink or her own signature Hammerhead cocktail — a Barcardi Mango with Strawberry Pucker, Sprite and pineapple juice mixture — she gives tips for people to be good customers on Court
Street:

  1. Do not raise your hand or tap your credit card or money on the bar or scream anyone’s name to get a drink.
  2. Rule of thumb for tipping: $1 per drink that you order.
  3. It’s fine if you order five waters, but that takes a lot of time to do. Just give a $1 for that.
  4. Don’t be an asshole if you have to wait for a little bit.
  5. Don’t order Bloody Marys at night: “People do that a lot and it takes a long time to make, and who the hell even does that?”
  6. “Don’t try and get me to buy you a drink or give you a free drink. Also, don’t ask for a free drink if you spilled yours. If I spill your drink, I’ll give you another one, but if you spill your drink, I’m not giving you another one.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.41.53 PMAfter working her first HOUmecoming weekend as Pigskin’s beer tub girl, Simokov came across a tweet from OU Crushes, a popular Twitter account where people anonymously submit their crushes, the following day. An Ohio University alum with an American Express Black Card wanted to take Simokov, the “tall, gorgeous, blond bartender at Pigskin” on a trip to Paris via his private jet. ”Simokov found the tweet so ridiculous and far-fetched that it was hilarious, she said. “It was funny and random.” Simokov’s boyfriend joked and tweeted back, “Babe I’d give this guy a chance if I were you. The coolest place I can afford to take you is Funbarn.”

Another woman who is in the Athens bartending scene is Ohio University student Laura Baker. With three years experience working at Pawpurr’s, Baker loves being involved with other students and people her age. “It’s kind of like partying for your job.”

Regardless of the good or the bad, customers contribute to the lady bartenders’ experiences through giving tips. On an average night, Baker will walk away with $180-$300 in tips. On a special Athens weekends (i.e. Dads Weekend, HallOUween, HOUmecoming), Baker will take home between $400-$600. “I’m able to pay the bills, that’s for sure.”

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Along with tipping, customers shape bartenders’ overall experiences. Baker has been in a positive atmosphere where a guy who was “dancing and having a great time” spilled a drink on himself on the establishment’s wooden stage and yelled, “I love Pawpurr’s!”

“Seeing our customers have fun makes us have fun,” Baker said.

Sometimes when customers are having a great time, they’ll hit on Baker or use various terms of endearment. From being addressed as “babe, honey, and sugar,” Baker admits this happens to her and to women bartenders in general. Guys tend to ask for Baker’s number, which sometimes puts her “in an awkward situation.” However, she has her tactics of avoiding giving her number away to male customers. She says when she’s not equally interested in a customer, she tells him that she doesn’t give her number away at work but tells him in a “nice way” that he knows where to find her or she tells customers she’s at Pawpurr’s to work and not to date.

Aside from male customers flirting with women bartenders, Baker has witnessed female customers hitting on fellow male co-workers. Girls are more affected by comments than guys, but Baker hears girls who have liquor courage talk about Pawpurr’s male staff in a sexual manner, she said.

“Girls try and push up their boobs and lean over the bar to the guy bartenders. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Girls also say things like “He’s so hot” or “I want to take him home tonight.”

On the other hand, Baker has encountered not-so positive situations from behind the bar. One “creepy” customer in his mid-20s made Baker so uncomfortable that she had to switch sides of the bar because he looked Baker up and down, kept licking his lips and constantly watched her as she worked, she said.

“Let people know they crossed the line in a nice way because you don’t want to lose customers,” Baker said, “and you also don’t want to put up with their shit.”

Another incident when a customer crossed the line — the line being too much alcohol — was when a female customer passed out in one of Pawpurr’s bathroom stalls after closing time.

“I went to go clean the bathrooms and saw her. I went up to her and said, ‘Hey it’s time to go. Do you have a friend for me to call for you?’ You could tell she was blacked out because her pants were down and she basically fell asleep on the toilet,” Baker said. Baker offered to help the intoxicated woman call a friend. The female said she was fine, and Baker still wonders to this day if the woman made it home okay.

Baker gives her two cents on what people should do to be a great customer, along with understanding the proper bar etiquette on Court Street:

  1. Do tip: It doesn’t have to be a lot. At the end of the night those quarters add up.
  2. Don’t shake your money in their faces: ”As long as you have your money out, I create a mental line in my head of who is next in line.”
  3. Don’t be rude.
  4. Don’t whistle at them: “I’m not a dog, and I don’t appreciate that.”
  5. Order the same drinks or shots together with your friends even if you’re paying separately: “It gets you your drink faster and saves us time.”
  6. If you plan on ordering several rounds of drinks or shots and you all want to pay separately, it’s easier for you to each buy a round rather than paying individually for each shot in each round.
  7. Don’t complain about prices: “It’s so cheap in Athens.”
  8. Have fun!

What about shaping the customer’s experience? Pawpurr’s customer and OU senior Mike Geise thinks there are qualities women bartenders should have before he orders a drink from them.

“They should be firm, but kind. They shouldn’t be afraid to throw someone out or ask the door or floor guys to step in and handle someone,” said Geise. “Also, the bar comes first before your friends. It is a job still.”

Specifically, Geise enjoys ordering drinks from Baker, his favorite bartender, when she’s working behind Pawburr’s bar.

“Laura is engaging and makes the meanest Jack and Coke in town,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt that her looks match an incredible personality.”

Jumping to another opinion, junior Josh Wilking, an avid CI customer, likes when female bartenders are friendly, play music everyone can sing along to, are fair to customers and are good-looking. One particular bartender who has Wilking’s favorite attributes is Abby Rechel at the CI.

“She is my favorite bartender now because we have been friends for a few years. She is super nice and always plays great music,” he said.

Baker believes her fellow bartenders should be friendly, work fast, and always be themselves. “Don’t let people walk all over you,” Baker said. “Have some backbone.”

IMG_1622Still learning the tricks of the trade, the Pub bartender Katie Derr is considered the rookie since she’s fairly new to the bartending scene with only about five months of experience. Even though she is new, she has worked as a server with Buffalo Wild Wings since she has been 16 years old. She takes her restaurant-bar serving experience and brings her knowledge to the Pub.

However, coming from a serving environment, Derr did something bartenders should never do.

“One time when I was working at the Pub, someone wanted a draft beer when we were changing the kegs. I told the customer that it would just be a minute so he could sit down in the booth and I’d bring it to him,” Derr said. “I went to go give it to him and my manager asked what I was doing. He said, ‘You never leave the bar because they come up to you. You’re not a server here.’”

Derr soon realized she needed to act differently when it comes to serving the customers at a bar compared to the serving philosophy at a restaurant.

“It’s all about serving the customer [at Buffalo Wild Wings] but at the Pub the customers come to and you’re doing them a favor by getting them drinks.”

Since bartenders do customers a favor by making drinks for them, Derr thinks every customer should live by a few of her guidelines:

  1. Say “please” and “thank you.”
  2. Tip well.
  3. Have patience.
  4. Smile and be happy.
  5. Be respectful.

Even if customers do not always follow the suggested guidelines, these lady bartenders of Court Street still appreciate their jobs related to Ohio University’s party school atmosphere.

“It is really easy to do, fast-paced and keeps you busy,” Simokov said. “You get out without being out. Instead of going out and spending all of your money and getting violently drunk, you get to stay behind the bar and make a ton of money and see all of your friends at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

“[Bartending at Pawpurr’s] will be the greatest job of my entire life. There’s a deep connection with the people I work with. … It’s a great experience that I’ll be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Court Street essentials

Sometimes you just need something and it’s somewhere you can’t find it. Never fear, here’s where to find all the necessities for living well in Athens.

Alcohol? There are times when you really just need a drink. Do yourself a favor and go to Pawpurr’s. It won’t break the bank and it’s definitely time to try a Dirty Girl Scout. Another great option is Broney’s at the end of Court Street. I recommend a Champagne Slushie…or four.

Pawpurr’s
37 N Court St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 592-9890

Broney’s
7 W Carpenter St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 592-5900

Comfort food? Sometimes all you need are some carbs and sugar to turn your day around. There is no better place than Court Street Diner for comfort food. Homemade mac ‘n cheese, chocolate milkshakes, and breakfast food will always make your day a little bit better.

Court Street Diner
18 N Court St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 594-8700

Quiet place to study? Are your roommates being too loud? Donkey Coffee is right off of Court Street and it is the best place in Athens to grab some coffee and snag a comfy chair to do homework. Maybe you’ll even meet Hipster Prince Charming if you’re lucky.

Donkey Coffee
17 W Washington St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 594-7353

Retail therapy? It’s scientifically proven that women feel better just holding a shopping bag. Figleaf is fun for super girly necklaces and outfits, but in all honesty, CVS is the best place to stock up on chocolate and nail polish.

Figleaf
57 N Court St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 594-5959

CVS
32 S Court St, Athens, OH (740) 592-6024

Music? Music can heal the soul. The best place in Athens for music is Casa Neuva because they often host live bands. Get out there, meet new people, and enjoy some music and margaritas!

Casa Nueva
6 W State St, Athens, OH 45701 (740) 592-2016