Hey Bar Owners, Save The House Music For Dance Clubs
There is a disturbing trend – disturbing to me, anyway – happening at some of the best bars in America.
They are forcing out their most loyal customers, the ones who are there on off days and off hours, in favor of younger faces. And right at the time when things get interesting in bars.
What’s happening? Sports bars, casual bars and even some dive bars are transforming into nightclubs (or wanna-be nightclubs) after 10 p.m. The goal is to bring in a younger crowd who likes the club music. But it’s coming at the expense – and loyalty – of the bars’ regular customers, who may or may not be young. Some people are pubbers and others are clubbers (I’m actually both, depending on my mood) and for the pubbers have to give up their bar to the clubbers it’s kind of annoying.
It’s like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Out with the old and in with the new. Quite literally.
I have nothing against nightclubs, mind you. Love them, in fact. But if I want to go to a nightclub, I’ll go to a nightclub. When I want to go to a sports bar or casual bar, I go to a sports bar or casual bar. Or a dive bar. I prefer that the nightclub not come to me. When this happens, I don’t want to hang around so I’ll leave.
And so to, too, a number of like-minded people.
I do understand. The bar is undergoing a transition and, for the most part, the earlier sports and more casual patrons have been there earlier and are about to leave anyway. The bar needs to keep making money and bringing in a fresh crowd makes good business sense.
But why not ease into the change? Make it occur over time, say at least half an hour, so we can adjust to it. Finish our beers. Pay our tabs.
Instead, it’s being forced on us, often so suddenly that we don’t have time to think, or even react. We are given no warming. One minute we’re watching a game and the next, mere seconds after it ends, bouncers are picking up tables – often with diners at the next table with a fork full of food –and the music instantly goes to end-of-conversation beer glass-rattling levels.
It’s suddenly so loud we cannot communicate, even to offer a “thanks for the service,” with the bartender or server we’ve been bonding with for the past couple of hours.
Our good night night ends suddenly, like the date you spent all evening laughing with suddenly leaving you standing on the porch without so much as a goodnight kiss. You leave shaking your head wondering what just happened.
It’s to the point now that when my pub-minded friends and I sense that time coming, we have our tabs paid, drinks near the bottom of the glass and ready to bolt like Usain Bolt out of the Olympic starting blocks. When the thumping music starts to play, we down the drinks and are out the door in seconds
Tho, I have to admit, I pause to see if any good-looking girls are entering. In that case, which seems to be a rare occurrence by the way, I stay.
I’ve even seen this at live music venues. The bar will put a band on from 8-10, then replace them with a DJ at 10. And the crowd changes accordingly.
The scene is actually quite amusing to watch. The pubbers are in a hurry to get out of the place while the clubbers roll in with an anxious look in their eyes.
Personally, I think a bar should be what it is, and not be like a squid that can change colors to match its surroundings. You are what you are, and if you need to bring in a DJ to keep making money after games end or to accommodate a later-night crowd, I’m in full support. Just don’t make it club music.
Because us pubbers want to party late at night, too!