April 10, 2007

The Bar Belle: Gone but not forgotten

Lately I’ve been diligently working on our upcoming Nightlife Guide (which drops April 25). The main part of it is our comprehensive list of bars in the area. Currently we’re sitting at nearly 360 beloved watering holes — almost enough to visit one per day for a year. That is something to write home about.Throughout my research, however, I’ve run across an inordinate amount of bars that just didn’t make it from last year. Sadly, we lost more than 25 fine pubs this year. Their names will be memorialized in our Bar Guide, but I wanted to dedicate a column to one very special space that was near and dear to my heart.Jillian’s was the bar to go to when I first moved to town nearly eight years ago. Remember their hugely successfully Friday happy hour, where you couldn’t find a parking spot for miles? There was a free buffet, two-for-one drinks and live music by Nervous Melvin or The Rumors. I’ve never danced as much as I did then. What was I thinking?You must recall the Bob Dylan concert … or the Hootie & the Blowfish concert where we spotted Syrus from “The Real World” at the bar … or the Hanson show (did I just admit that?) … or seeing Chris Robinson be an asshole to the fans requesting “She Talks to Angels” … or gushing over newcomer John Mayer as he took the Axis stage … or getting free shots of Jager from Vanilla Ice backstage as his lead guitarist told us it was basically a gig to pay off his rent back in L.A.? Jillian’s was also the place where I won $500 once and discovered the dire effects of mixing cheap red wine with black licorice. Oh, my. Now the building sits empty — a vacant reminder of the many memories made within its walls. I can’t help but hope someone with enough money comes along and opens it back up — perhaps I’ll start playing the lottery. Where’s the party? Let me know at shavens@leoweekly.com