1901, the bar opens. It wasn't called Stand Up Franks. It was called something else, but who knows what?
1919, the failed national experiment of Prohibition kills the bar.
1938, the bar is open again and known as Stand Up Franks. As the neighborhood began to decline decades later, so did the bar, until it became a notorious den of vice and inequity. In April of 2009, in the midst of neighborhood revitalization, the trouble spot is closed. In May, the sign that said "Stand Up Franks" disappears.
August of 2009, as neighborhood revitalization continues and takes hold, the bar formerly known as "Stand Up Franks" is taken over by the owners of Psycho Suzi's and turned into a super cool Zombie Bar called "Donny Dirk's," but folks in the neighborhood have already gotten in the habit of merely saying...
"Let's go to the Zombie Bar."
And so it is we find ourselves in the present moment, with what appear to be graffiti-scarred bar tables turned into wall panels, high end beer, and waitresses in black cocktail dresses. Revitalization doesn't get any better than this.
But, for the record, the bar is not OFFICIALLY open, just open for business. Tonight I asked our waitress, lovely "Rhiannon, like the Fleetwood Mac song" if there was wireless internet at the establishmen and, if so, what was the name of the server? Yes, the place has wireless internet. And the server is called "Zombie" something.
Drinks at the bar have fun themes, even though it's just a small drink menu still (apparently) under development. There's the "Donny Dirk" for $6, "a dainty drink for disgraceful zombies. A classic return to a dead drink from the past. Creamy and wonderful and downright boozy. My friends and I stuck with the "R.I.P. Frank," which is "trouble in a glass" and "the root of all evil" at a mere $3.75.
The menu promises "interactive bartending" will begin August 12 and that will go something like this: We give you a recipe card. You come up with a general recipe. We price it. You decide if you'll pay the price. We make it. You drink it. You think it's wonderful because, hell, it was YOUR cockamamie idea. You name your drink. We keep "your drink" on file for your next return.
Impractical (says the menu) and inefficient and more fun than raiding your parent's (sic) liquor cabinet when you were 12. Disclaimer: You created it. So you pay for it. You can always tweak it next time.
In the pictures above, emergency chainsaw at the ready for zombie attack. Shannon Freitag, who helps run the bar, with Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Housing Director. The old graffiti-scarred Stand Up Frank's wooden wall panels, which remain. Jeff getting ready to break out the chainsaw because he thought he saw a zombie but, actually, it was just a straggler crackhead retreating before the unstoppable, crushing wave of urban revitalization. Last photo: toasting to the death of Stand Up Franks.
More on the Zombie Bar to follow tomorrow.