Posts Tagged ‘bars’


Quixote Wednesday Update! A Word From Michael Bly Regarding the Mitchell’s Tavern Fiasco…

June 18, 2009

It’s ridiculous man! I deal with it as much as you do playin at shithole bars like this every week. Fortunately my business has done well enough that I can usually avoid the real hardcore dives like this but it really makes me sad about my hometown. I place I laud everywhere else I’ve been or live – even an amazing city like NYC when it was next to impossible to get anyone to believe anything good about a place like Buffalo.

I hate to say it but this kind of behavior from all involved has become far more common than when I lived here over ten years ago before moving to NYC originally. You can blame part of it on the economy – for people like this guy surely are not doing well and looking to make excuses for why they have no money and take out their frustration on some poor, unsuspecting person like Mike that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and, of all ironies, tryin to help!

But I say its gotta go deeper than that. Is it the parents? Is it the town leaders that have taken us into a deeper depression state with a bad choice in almost every crucial decision in the last 50 years?

Or, and I hate to sound so much like the republican I’m not, but is it just time to say that there is no personal responsibility left in a place like this? Not on the part of the guy who clearly either didn’t have the 400 in the first place or had it and spent it at the first few bars he was at then forgot he did just like he forgot he left the stupid clip in the parking lot. Not on the part of the patrons who instead of being out to celebrate a new promotion or a good week at the office with some co-workers or ANYTHING positive are far more likely going out to get so drunk they can forget about their multitude of mounting problems by spending the last money they have and then, no surprise after adding depressants to the already depressed, they end up miserable and ready to fight or encourage one. More than ready to blame an innocent bystander like Mike just so they can blame someone other than themselves for the miserable state they’re in!

And certainly not on the bartendar who either knew the guy and was protecting a regular, was genuinely clueless as to the whole event or hired bartendars that couldn’t recognize and deal with a problem patron.

In the end, the industry polices itself. As Patrick Swayze’s character said in ROADHOUSE; “Good people who really wanna have a good time won’t come to a slughterhouse.” It was true 25 years ago when that movie came out and it will always be true. My guess there wasn’t one person in the place of either gender that you would really wanna take home to mom and probably not a patron there with more than a bachelor’s degree or makin over $50,000/yr either. That may sound snobish and it’s by no means the only demographics to consider when analyzing a bar crowd but facts are facts and certain things like upbringing, education and income level undoubtedly make certain behavior more likely. Like Bob Dylan once said; “When ya got nothin, ya got nothin ta lose.” In my opinion it is alcohol combined with this state of being, more than any other factor, that leads to bar fights.

The obvious answer is to avoid like poor excuses for a bar like this – hate to say it but if I’ve never even heard of the place and I’m in the business its hard to imagine they’re runnin that great a business – but the greater challenge is avoiding places like this in a place like Buffalo where this bar is no longer the exception but indeed becoming the rule….

Disenheartened with my home,

Michael Bly


Quixote Wednesday Update! Mitchell’s Tavern Review (unpublished)

June 10, 2009

As promised, here’s the original review for Mitchell’s Tavern.   Word also has it that the owner has been throwing his weight around in an attempt to get me to take down these posts.  For those of you who’ve followed this site long enough, you know that I don’t give up easily, and this isn’t the first crusade we’ve been down the road on.  I got confirmation this week that Kenneth (the kid who started the fight) was indeed friends with the bartender who was outside during the fight.  We’re less than two weeks away from Mike’s court appearance and I’m really interested to see how things pan out for him after such a bizaare situation.  More to come next Wednesday…

Location: Mitchell’s Tavern, 734 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda 874-8907

Drinks: Top shelf and bottom shelf liquor with few in-betweens.  Five draft beers including Landshark Lager along with daily drink specials.

Dress Code: Sponsored team gear and cut-off muscle shirts or sweatshirts. 

Music: Open mic with Paul Dylan every Friday.

Scene: A corner bar that lets the mob mentality run the way they do business. 

     After discovering (or remembering after returning to the area for the first time in years) that Sheridan Drive forks to the left after Elmwood Avenue, the wife and I doubled back and found Mitchell’s sticking out like a sore thumb across the street from a convenience store.  My buddy Mike got the drop on us and was well underway working his talents as a single man on a new blonde friend at the bar.  We staked our claim at a raised table across from the bar on a trio of black leather stools.  Musician Paul Dylan crooned to a James Taylor in front of a small crowd eating and drinking across from a pool table that appeared to take up the better part of the dining area towards the front of the building.  
     I ordered a pitcher of Landshark beer and a double of single barrell Jack Daniels for $20 from a cordial blonde woman tending bar.  The Jack Daniels alone tallied up to $12, but it’s a smooth whisky and it was the best brown liquor I could find compared to bottom-shelf selections of Kessler’s, Jim Beam and Black Velvet.  Lindsay ordered a Grey Goose and tea for $4 and Mike was settling in to the evening with a pint of Guinness ($4).  A neat row of frequently ordered liquor bottles peeked back at us upside down from a well manufactured shot/drink dispenser gallows behind the bar.  Two flat-screen televisions broadcast a baseball game and a basketball game, respectively.  A row of daily drink special banners lined a wood-panelled border protruding from the ceiling and a Genessee clock from a former era advertized a slogan long gone: ‘Boy, could I go for a Genny now.’  
     At 9 p.m., it was as if a starting bell went off and a herd of people poured into the bar.  Most of them looked to be softball team players and we were surprised to see a couple drinking at the bar with their child in tow.  A few road construction workers drank to the end of a grueling work week.  Pat and I grabbed a smoke near a picnic table situated behind a side entrance along with a horde of softball team members smoking in unison.  A group of patrons played a casual game of ‘Can-Jammers’ (a frisbee/trash can hybrid sport) in the parking lot.  The entire bar was full once we headed back indoors.  Paul Dylan launched into his second set of the evening with a soulful version of ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones along with a skilled accompanying guitarist.     
     By ten o’clock, a drunken patron started yelling about losing his money clip in front of one of the two bartenders who took over during a shift change.  Having bartended before myself, I could tell that the person’s attitude (and inebriation) were going to escalate.  After looking around on the floor in front of him, he began accusing people sitting at the bar next to him on both sides and shouting obscenities.  Eventually, a girl came inside and told him that a man had found his money clip outside and the patron stormed outside and said he was going to beat the guys up.  I didn’t think anything of it until Lindsay wondered if Mike was involved since he went outside to make a phone call.
     Out of curiosity (and concern for my friend), I went outside with a cigarette in hand to investigate.  Five or six people surrounded my friend a few feet away from the entrance and the drunken patron in question threw a punch at him.  I jumped in to pry this person off of my buddy while a group of onlookers tried to egg the man on.  I immediately asked for the owner or manager on duty (one of the bartenders was outside with us) and was told that there wasn’t one.  Eventually, the Tonawanda Police were called and they arrived on the scene.  When the police showed up, the owner (Nick Christou) magically appeared from the kitchen and started apologizing to my friend and the officers who arrived.  
     My wife was so disgusted by the situation that she asked for my keys so that she could wait in the car.  It turned out that Mike found this person’s money sitting in the parking lot with his driver’s license and after trying to be a good Samaritan by looking for the owner, he got assaulted by a group of drunken regulars.  After talking to the police inside the bar while they filed their report, I went outside to check on Lindsay and had to put up with the same drunk swearing and threatening me on the way back in.  Eventually, the police told us that the best thing everyone involved could do was to leave the bar and go our seperate ways.  Lindsay and I drove home infuriated over the situation and I phoned Mike so that we could try and make sense of what happened.    
     What started out as a decent evening with friends turned into a nightmare at Mitchell’s that could have been easily avoided if the owner or the bartenders on duty (or outside during the altercation) had intervened.  Every bar/restaurant has to put up with violent patrons who start fights from time to time.  How they deal with it (or ignore the situation completely while watching the fight) is another matter entirely.  The three of us will never go to Mitchell’s Tavern again.  For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend the place to anybody for any reason.   In my ten years as a reviewer for bars, restaurants and other establishments, this is the first time something like this has happened to me or my friends and hopefully, it will be the last. 

Monday Big Words Update! Purgatorio

June 1, 2009

The last two months have been very frustrating.  It seems like every project I’ve been working on has gotten trapped in limbo and things aren’t progressing at a speed that I’m comfortable with or the timeline I was originally working with.
     After personally proof-reading my correction proof for Slapstick & Superego and submitting the typos and various errors that crop up with any manuscript, I uploaded the newest revision and ordered a copy of the revised book.  I got the new copy in the mail over the weekend and there are five NEW typos that cropped up and can’t be ignored.  I was hoping to have some copies of the new book on hand for the Big Words Radio Anniversary Party on June 20th, but it’s getting down to the wire and it’s not looking good at this point.  I can’t plan an official launch, I can’t schedule radio interviews, and I can’t really do much of anything in terms of promoting or scheduling the new book until the new book is DONE, so I’m stalled yet again and I’m not sure how long it will be before the book measures up to the standards I’m holding it to.  One way or the other, this new book is going to be perfect.  No typos, no mis-prints, no formatting hiccups.  As the third release from Doubt It Publishing, the presentation of the book needs to be as tight as the content within, so unfortunately, I’m going to wait patiently until the finished product is, well, finished.
     The entire month of April was spent designing the new Big Words Radio web site and moving each show over individually under a different format.  As a result of this, there are still six to seven hours worth of archived shows that I’d like to edit and post before planning/recording any new shows.  Potential guests are chomping at the bit and I’ve even talked a number of talented local and national artists about doing new shows, but I can’t set a date or start researching new shows until the old ones are up online.  And I can’t do that until we get our computer back from repairs.  The new motherboard for my PC was supposed to be in last Tuesday and it got delayed, so I have no f*&#ing access to the sound files that I’ve been anxious to work on since last week.  So any new radio shows are on hold for a bit longer.
     With a final deadline approaching for the Buffalo Anthology Project, Alycia Ripley and I agreed to block out some time in May and June to begin reviewing the final slate of submissions and start adding the accepted works.  While I’ve made some headway updating accepted authors and while I have access to the submissions that haven’t been accepted or rejected via email, again, I don’t have access to the anthology file itself because it’s on a hard drive that isn’t physically HERE right now.  So I get to wait that one out, too. 
     And after the fiasco at Mitchell’s Tavern this previous Friday (if you didn’t read about it yet, scroll down), my editor at the Buffalo News and I decided that we won’t be publishing the review because he doesn’t want to send a staff photographer to a bar where their reviewer and his friends got jumped without provocation while the employees watched outside (on camera) and did nothing to stop it.  
     I’ve got a lot more to discuss about the Mitchell’s Tavern fiasco, but it seems like the perfect topic to go into at length for a little something I like to call ‘Quixote Wednesday’.  All of us directly involved are truly livid about the incident, and from what you’ve all told me since posting, you’re not too pleased about it either.  I’ll start airing my grievences two days from now on the official site this Wednesday, so I’ll talk to you all then.
     And before I forget, part one of a brand new essay (‘Oral Technique’) hits the stands in Night Life magazine today.  It’s an article about the impending one year anniversary for the Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour that I wrote on my AOL email since I don’t have a word processing program on our loaner computer.  
     Color me frustrated,
     Tom Waters

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