Punch Drunk 

Jack Lowers the Bar


The other week Style reported that the legendary Richmond heavy metal band Gwar was in the planning stages of opening its own themed bar. It's like what Jimmy Buffet did with Margaritaville. Just lose all of the parrot-nautical-pirate crap, the island imagery, the "laidback attitude" and the fruity concoctions, and then add some fake blood, a couple of latex phalluses and a few awesomely grotesque, barbaric interplanetary warriors. Or maybe Margaritaville also has the latex phalluses (or is it phalli?), I don't know.

As reported: Bandmates of the late Dave Brockie of Gwar — including longtime cook and Gwar guitarist Mike Derks, also known as Balsac — are keeping his dream alive. They've launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund GWARbar, a restaurant themed around the outrageous shock metal band known for dismembering public figures and showering its audiences in fake bodily fluids.

It's a fantastic idea, and I think it'll be instantly and enduringly embraced. It also got me thinking about a few other Richmond institutions that deserve a themed bar:

Martin Ukrop's Olde Time Drinkery — The faces are friendly, the bar snacks are baked fresh daily and the sense of community is strong. Regulars are always talking about the good ole days, when you could get your drinks carried out for you in paper bags. Looked down on by the competition down the street, Le Whole Foods, a club that you probably couldn't get in anyways.

Havoc — Shaka Smart's place. He's had offers, but refuses to sell. The Peppas are always onstage keeping the crowd hyped and Chris Crowley, aka Pav, aka that guy wearing the horns, is head bouncer or the loud, drunk guy at the bar. So basically, it's the Siegel Center but with more booze.

Dwight's — Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones' hangout. Can an actual place be described as velvety and smooth? Sure, why not. Like, imagine if Billy Dee Williams and Barry White opened a joint together. Dwight's — much like his Hennessey sidecars — is ice cold, which, for you nonplayas, is a huge compliment.

Richmond City Cantina — The new hotspot down at City Hall is the talk of the town. If you don't follow reports from Richmond City Council meetings on Twitter and Facebook, start doing so. It's like this hilariously inept sitcom with all sorts of quirky, loveable characters. It's a rootin'-tootin', crazy-spewin', gun-totin', Dirtwoman hug of a time.

The Lido Deck — Local band and skilled sea mariners Three Sheets to the Wind's on-the-James bar. Welcome aboard landlubber! Feel free to enjoy a few boat drinks, flirt with the exotic local Richmond women ("Those aren't buoys! Heh heh heh.") and just relax on a sea of smooth, solid-gold, soft-rock jams. The décor of the bar will be exactly how I described Margaritaville above.

Cantor's Cove — Looks like the inside of Judge Smail's yacht. Used to hold tea parties there, until they realized how wildly unpopular and unprofitable tea parties are. I met Eric Cantor's niece there one night, Lacey Underall. But that's a whole other story.

Edgar Allan Poe's Raven's Nest — A great place to drink a cask of amontillado and then pass out in the gutter. It's near Edgar's other barroom, Poe's Pub. Another joint where they aren't shy about tossing back a few drinks.

Interesting side note: Did you know that Poe's mysterious death in a Baltimore gutter may have been the result of cooping, a 19th-century practice in which political gangs kidnap you, make you drink copious amounts of booze and then force to you to vote for their candidate over and over? In reality, he was just a train-wreck drunk who most likely fell down, hit his head and died. Not quite as romantic. Alcoholism rarely is. OK, now let's get back to this column about gin joints.

The Silver Fox Wine Bar — Accepting lavish presents doesn't have the upsides it used to, so the now gray-maned Bob McDonnell has a new profession. While he bar backs, hear him spin colorful stories about his two months in that oh-so-posh resort he was, uh, confined to for two months. Naturally, Virginia's booming wine industry will be on full display at the Silver Fox. The profits are rolling in, especially since Bobby Rolexes stopped letting his wife run the books.

Unnamed Richmond Minor League Baseball Themed Bar — Location: TBD. Sponsoring Team: TBD. Check back sometime around 2028, or never.

Until then we'll just have to settle for Parney's Pub — Ask around for the password to the Flying Squirrels' Todd "Parney" Parnell's secret, under-the-Diamond watering hole. Although I warn you, there are things down there that can't be unseen. Let's just say that Nutzy isn't quite as family friendly as he would lead you to believe. Let's just say that.

Connect with Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback at bartender@styleweekly.com. Lauterback also is co-host of "Mornings with Melissa and Jack" on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.


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