The Bar: Jak’s Pub (This used to be the Red Baron Bar for forever)
The Address 536 Main Street
The price 5 bucks
Did they ask me if I wanted a lime: Yes and he put it in
What was the type of gin Just well.
What was the gin and tonic like: It hit me at first as way too strong and then it mellowed out, as if it was not mixed well. But I had a nice conversation with the bartender/owner, so it tasted just fine when I was done.
The Joint: I am predisposed to this place and not in a good way. Over a decade ago I worked right next to the location when it was the Red Baron and it was a dive like you read about. I would be going into work at 8:30 am and if I got a chance to peek in, I would be blessed with a view of a half dozen or more willing citizens occupying the stools, drinking breakfast. As employees of the nearby business we were told not to be found there. But it was bought by a guy in 2011 who made a go of it, but he had to close for a while this year, because he works in Boston and he is the only employee, so couldn’t make it work. It has been up again now for three weeks. It only had two other people in the bar at the time. But the place is nice. Solid, clean bar. Bar in the back, you have to pass the pool table to get to it, but you won’t feel too winded.
General Impressions There was not a lot going on, only two customers there at nine on a Friday. (I can’t seem to find a busy bar it appears) The bartender asked if I was coming from the play. I guess the Hanover had a play going. I just said I was happy the place was open and wanted to try it. He started talking to me. He told me he was the owner Rob. He bought the place in 2011 and tried to make a go but he now works in Boston and he was trying to do it all by himself. He was closed for a while and opened again three weeks before. He talked about how this might be the time to start again. He talked about creating a safe place, a place people want to come back to. The key is sticking with it. Just being open and letting people know he is there. That its not the Red Barron, its a nice bar you can go to before or after a play or concert. He was earnest and I want him to do well. I mentioned that the pool table kind of breaks the flow of the bar and he smiled. He likes the pool table. He practices when he is at the bar by himself. He hasn’t gotten better, but he he keeps on trying.
Rob said, he wasn’t looking for everyone in Worcester to come to him, just the people in the nearby two blocks, that’s all he wants. There is a lot of folk in that small stretch of real estate, but they just need to know he is there. I love that notion. He’s looking for those close to know there is a safe haven to have a drink. To drink before a play, after a play. After class. Before class even, you rebel. Create a place for people who are around to go to. This location, with the Hanover and with the satellite for the Community College coming in, is a place where people can feel safe and comfortable. That’s his hope. I like his concept of the local.
Amount of Time in the Joint: 20 minutes (pleasant conversation for most of it)
Will I come back Yes. Next time I go to the Hanover. Next time I am in downtown for downtime, I will go there. More than I liked being there (which I did) but because I want a place in that location to work. I want a good bar to go to after seeing some concert or some theater. I want to feel that Worcester has these options. I want this to work. I want to have choices to go to in downtown. This might be a more political motive than I usually have, but the hell with it, I love this town, I want it to work. And good places to have a drink are a part of its success.