Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halek's Wants to Change its Name to WHAT?!


Guest post and photo of a name with NOTHING WRONG by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

The following information was sent my way. Halek’s (2024 Washington Avenue North) is changing their name to Ya Baby Sports Bar and applying for additional entertainment (up to a 5 piece band). There is a public hearing tonight regarding this application. Ya Baby Sports Bar?! I don't think so. The name sounds sleazy and scuzzy and reeks of the very urban dystopia that NoMi has been working so hard to dispel. At best, it's nonsensical. The public meeting about this is tonight at 7 p.m. at Farview Park. Please show up or send your opinions to diane.hofstede@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

I plan on opposing the license based on the name alone. This is disappointing, because all of my previous experiences with or at Halek's have been...
ADDENDUM: See comment section for some historical context about the name and a slight change in my stance.

...quite pleasant or outright fun. I like the owners and the staff. The place currently is filled with old sports trophies, hunting video games, patrons who've just come from their own sporting events, and salt-of-the-earth folk enjoying a good drink after a hard day's work. It's kind of a "Glory Days" sort of bar and I like the atmosphere.

I had one complaint the last time I was there. John, Connie, Megan, two other friends, and I hopped over to Halek's from Donnie Dirk's Zombie Den during an evening of revelry. In the midst of this old-school sports bar, we had this show playing on the television set:



Oh HELL no.

But I did ask the bartender to change the channel to "whatever's on ESPN" and that happened right away, and we proceeded to have a fine evening.

So up until now, I've rather enjoyed HALEK'S. But I look at the name "Ya Baby" and it makes me question virtually everything about the new ownership. Either they are trying to attract the same people that WERE coming to Stand Up Frank's and Johnny A's, or they have absolutely no clue about the clientele such a name will bring in. Either way, I cannot support the request for a liquor license of any kind as long as that is the name being proposed.

23 comments:

MeganG. said...

I'd like to express my opposition to the proposed name change at Halek's bar. For two reasons, I am opposed to the name change of "Ya Baby Sports Bar".

First, I think the name "Ya Baby" does not sound or fit like the type of establishment that I would want to patron or that I would want in my neighborhood. It sounds low-class and sleezy and I'm afraid it will play into the stereotypes that already hinder our area from being a destination place.

Second, I consider myself attached to Halek's. With so much change and improvement going on around north Minneapolis, it's hard to take this name change, for no apparent (good) reason. Halek's maybe considered a working class, blue collar bar, but to me, it doesn't seem to be plagued with a reputation that would keep folks from visiting, if the area is well maintained and the renovations look attractive enough, I think it can overcome any stigma that might be associated with the name Halek's.

Halek's is an icon of north Minneapolis and I would like to see us hang on to as man of the icons that we can salvage and reclaim as part of the new Northside that we see emerging.

thank you for your consideration,
Megan G.

Anonymous said...

You are going to veto a liquor license, based upon a name change?? And you call the name change 'nonsensical'??

Even though it is already an established bar within the community, and a good one at that, you feel if they do not check in for your approval on every business decision, that forfeits their right to run a decent business at all?

JNS, I really am having serious doubts on whether you are the kind of neighbor I want to have in my neighborhood, or representing my neighborhood. Yes, I can say that.

I am beginning to doubt what value system you have to guide the crosshairs of your public criticism. and whether your actually even analyze what you are about to say in the context of will it truly help the community - or is it just a personal attack?

There are plenty of bars in this city with ridiculous names, and the name really doesn't matter to the success of a neighborhood bar. You would have to be a business owner, or at least objective enough to see the big picture, and you are neither.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Let's make a few things clear, anon 6:31.

This is Jeff Skrenes writing as a guest blogger for JNS while he is out of town.

I do know the owner and I respect him. The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council has supported his application and if I am the only Hawthorne staff present I will make the neighborhood's official position clear before I state my personal opinion. (admittedly, they were not aware of the name at the time, but they have supported the overall business plan)

I have no way of "vetoing" this license. But I will go to the public meeting and state my opinion. That's why they HAVE public meetings, after all.

Every single person I have spoken to regarding this name dislikes it and feels it is not a good fit for our neighborhood. Every. Single. One.

In this particular case, I frankly do not care if you accuse me of failing to be objective. I believe the name "Ya Baby Sports Bar" falls below the community standards we have in our neighborhood and I have a right to state that opinion both here and at the upcoming meeting.

You'll notice I did post your comment in spite of our disagreements. And if you or others have a follow-up to this comment that doesn't cross lines that JNS has set up for comment approval, I'll post that too. That's as objective as I'll get.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I talked to the new owner and received enough information and context that I want to bring it up here in fairness.

I am not going to change the original post, since I meant what I said based on the information I had available, and the new information does not fundamentally change my approval of the name.

The new owner was told by the Halek family that he'd have to change the name within a year, so he decided to change it right away.

He's been a bartender/manager there for a long time (30 years, I think) and one of the regulars yells "Yeah baby!" to him whenever he comes in, and the nickname stuck.

He's aware of the reaction people will have but he plans on sticking with the name.

Knowing that the name is based on some history within the bar and its regular patrons makes me less viscerally opposed to it. I still do not like the name, but my dislike does not rise to the level of openly opposing his application for a liquor license.

Anonymous said...

Well, if they've gotta change it, my vote goes to the name, "Anonymous 631." Way better than anything with "Ya Baby" in it!

Margaret said...

Why "Ya Baby?" Not "Yeah Baby?" Is that already taken? Maybe the new owner is a Dick Vitale/college B Ball Fan?

Ya Baby sounds like a strip club, band or no band

Amos said...

"Ya Baby" is very Austin Powers, so if I can come in my swinger-attire, cool. But "Ya Baby Sports Bar" doesn't go with my outfit.

Johnny Northside said...

Jeff, you called this one right and I'm glad you used JNS blog to do it. I also formally add my voice to the opposition of the name.

"Ya Baby" sounds sexual and it is too close to BJ's strip club. We are trying to add some class to this area and this name is NOT the way to go about it.

veg*nation said...

i vote for "the sports bar formerly known as Halek's."

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I get a "Jimmy the Greek" vibe from it.

Evan Reminick said...

Opposing a liquor license based on the owner's choice of name strikes me as a step in the direction of the "Berkeley Syndrome." In that fair California city, known far and wide for its liberal values, such a degree of "taste tyranny" exists that it takes neighborhood approval to pain your house a new color. Kind of like a gated community would do. I like this blog and understand that it intends to move NOMI in a more healthy direction. But beware ideological lockstep and the message it sends! Community standards have their place AND their limits.

World Is Flat said...

Names matter...you know, some people in NoMi are so concerned about names that they will sue if they get called one they don't like. Thin skin side, the name will be here and in my opinion, it shouldn't be obnoxious to those of us that live here. Anon @ October 15, 2009 6:31 PM, I have to disagree with your position. First off, to make a personal attack, while complaining about personal attacks is...well, you know...

To the point: these are opinions, and we are all entitled to our own. I personally don't like the name. If "Ya Baby" was the slogan, and the bar had another name like "the sports bar formerly known as Halek's. (small font) Ya Baby!" that would be funny...nice spin on a Minnesota theme that would draw me there to spend money...

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I think it's pertinent to mention that at the meeting, several Hawthorne residents showed up and (without having read this blog) voiced their displeasure with the name as well. After having a discussion with the new owner, nobody said that they opposed his application for a liquor license. We just don't like the name.

Evan, I CERTAINLY do not want to become a "Cold Berkeley." Wow, that's scary. I think in this case, the community struck a good balance of articulating its values while avoiding irrational decisions.

And if the owner runs as tight a ship as he has promised, the establishment itself will remain upstanding and the name will matter less and less.

Still, I DO NOT LIKE Ya Baby.

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, I believe it's a good thing that the neighborhood has involved itself to a degree that they are scrutinizing the name of a business. To me that equates to an involved community.

I however, don't think it's a good thing for a neighborhood to attempt to place restrictions on the name of a proposed business, as long as the name passes the most general of social "litmus tests", i.e., it's not profane or offensive to and particular group.

Personally, I would be more apt to question the business plan for the new establishment from the standpoint of the type of clientle they expected to draw with the name "Ya Baby". If it is similar to a "physcho Suzies" type format in Northeast, then I'd have no problem with it.

Nothing romantic about this struggle said...

Oh my goodness, another card-carrying member of the JNS Fan Club breaks ranks and disagrees with the clan!

Evan, I applaud your good sense in this instance to call out the 'community standards' that this blog and it's few voices has become known for pushing out on the rest of us 'incidental' residents.

To 'beware ideological lockstep', one must first believe there are ideals (let alone ideas) present; there has been precious little evidence that any such solutions are intellectualized here. Just random 'revitalization' blather...

Evan, we can always use good minds at the inclusive community dialogues, if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Dyna's Take on the rebranding of Halek's:

I hate to see us lose the history of the Halek's name, but the family quite rightfully doesn't want it on the bar after they sell it. "Ya Baby" sounds to me like an advertisement for trouble. I did a bit of research on the property and found that the Hoiby family ran a carriage making shop, bicycle shop, and later built truck bodies on the block from the 1890s to the 1980s. They also lived in the neighborhood and later had a gas station where the Holiday now stands at 24th and Washington. Perhaps a turn of the century historical theme with a name like "The Horseless Carriage and Bicycle Shop" would be more fitting than "Ya Baby"...

veg*nation said...

@ anon 2:41: since your group is inclusive, and invitations to these dialogs are completely, open, why don't you share a little bit about it here, so that we can all participate?

Get on a few mailing lists said...

veg*brain:

Do we really need to tell you which community meetings and gatherings are more inclusive than this Northside White Residents Party?

I get between 25-40 evites in my inbox a week, of which I attend 4-8 meetings a month, which is what my schedule and responsibilities allows for. I think it's pretty obvious which organizations are trying to build up a sense of community for all, not just push agendas down our throats.

...for example, the Let's Force The Bar Owners To Adapt A Name We Approve agenda....

veg*nation said...

dear anon 7:14:

thank you so much for your respectful and inclusive answer. i think your response advertises very clearly what you are all about.

Ranty said...

Gotta love the anons...

MeganG. said...

I got a good name for the bar...




KELAH's

how about that name?

veg*nation said...

@ Ranty: as long as we're providing free marketing tips, i'd like to suggest that the Anons name their group "inclusivity anonymous" with the slogan "if you can find our secret meeting location, and if your name is Evan, you're invited!"

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

To the anons who claim to know where the secret, all-inclusive northside meetings are:

Which mailing list do I have to get on in order to find out where meetings are held using agendas printed from a stolen copier, and people sit around discussing which payday lending outlets still take pre-February 2009 JACC checks, and then sit around waiting for the second coming of a victorious Jill Clark lawsuit?

Maybe you're not from the "Old Majority" (this term is trademarked by the Johnny Northside blog and is not to be used without the prior express written consent of JNS Incorporated) but the point is that what you are saying is bullshit.

You want to say that there are inclusive meetings out there? Well, you had an inquisitive reader earnestly asking what they are. If they're so inclusive, why can't you list EVEN ONE? Or maybe just tell us who we can contact to get on one of those precious mailing lists.

Are you afraid that the exclusive people will come along and take over your supposedly inclusive meetings? Well (sarcasm font broken, informing manually) no worries there. We only want to associate with people who think like us anyway.

But you come on this blog, extend a (figurative) olive branch, and then when someone asks a legitimate question, you use that olive branch to figuratively beat them over the head...well you don't get to do that without SOMEONE calling you out for it.