In the mornings, we had Go Go dancers because we knew the late shift at Goodyear would stroll in around 6am. We did this until the late sixties.
One morning the Vice Squad came in under cover. Nobody knew who they where, they just sat there drinking their beers. Apparently, one of the girls showed too much. Of course, in those days, the girls didn’t show anything compared to what you would see today.
Well, the next thing I know, they closed me down. I was closed for 72 days. I got myself a lawyer and had it cut down to 42 days. I took the citation and closed on January first and didn’t reopened until Valentines day, exactly 42 days later. We used that time to do a major remodel by adding a new wing. We really fixed the place up. I even put in a new dance floor. It actually was the start of the new Red’s – the classy Red’s. May have been the best thing that happened to me.
In 1963 we ran a very clean establishment with great employees. Lillian, who worked for me as a waitress for many, many years, was one of our best.
One day, the State Liquor Department, decided to send a kid in to test us to see if we carded patrons. This “customer” was over six feet tall and didn’t look anything like a kid. He looked more like he was 25 years old. Well, unfortunately, Lillian was working that day and she served him a drink. Next thing I know, they busted us. Now days, if you were caught serving alcohol to a minor, they would fine you about $100 a day for a certain amount of time. Not back then. In those days, you were immediately shut down. Lillian was arrested and we had to close for 7 days. Of course, I went to the jail to bail Lillian out.
In 1963, this was a bad situation because I had to lay of all my employees for a week! It was really devastating. Back in those days, bars got closed all the time for serving to a minor. They would put a sign on the door saying, “Closed for repair” or “Closed for remodeling.” to disguise the real reason they were closed. I put a sign on the door that read, “We’ve been bad.” The Beacon Journal put a photo of that in the paper.
Ahhh, the Joe Savage days. Everyone has a story. Some true, some not so much. But I have a favorite.
Joe used to keep his snake in the coat room. It lived in a big wooden box with heat lamps. The smelled was awful. The heat lamps didn’t help. He fed it live animals, usually rabbits and chickens. I remember coming in one day when the bar was closed to do something and found a bag under a chair in the game room. I picked it up thinking it was trash and a live chicken jumped out.
Joe must be headed to the ladies room
But anyway, back to the snake. The time clock for our employees in the coat room and that’s where Joe would keep his 10 foot snake. Sandy, our daytime bartender for a number of years and the first one to arrive in the morning, was not thrilled about that. As she cracked open the door one morning the lid was off the box. As she turned her head, there it was, hanging off one of the coat racks. Needless to say it wasn’t a good day for her, and I don’t think she ever clocked in again when Joe was in town.
In the late sixties and early seventies, local celebrities, Hoolihan and Big Chuck, had a baseball team that would play all around Ohio. Whenever they played in Akron, the team would invade the bar after the game. They loved Reds.
It was quite the sight. The doors would fly open and the entire team including Little John, Mushmouth and Jim Doney followed by the rest of the Channel 8 staff would march in behind Hoolihan & Big Chuck playing banjos and horns. After a few “beverages” some of them would take the stage and put on a good show. I seem to remember that they would always play “Shotgun” with Mushmouth on sax. If you saw their TV show the following Friday night, they always mentioned the trip to Red’s and had giant aspirin boxes fall from the ceiling. Good times indeed!
Back in the day, Akron bars truly didn’t compete with each other as a business because customers were very loyal. If you where a Red’s customer, you went to Red’s. If you hung out at the Windsor on Tallmadge Avenue, that’s where you could be found. Although, it seemed that everyone knew one another in some way. Every now and then, a little friendly competition was always fun. So, how about a softball game?
The Reds Softball Team
Red’s put together an “Over 30” team. So did the Windsor Pub, and it was on. I believe the first game was at the field at Firestone. They also battled at a few other parks in the area. The game out at Portage Lakes was one to remember. Besides the great turnout of players for both sides, there where a lot of family and friends. These games were always a good time. There were many laughs because the players were not people you would call athletes. Well perhaps, only in their own mind.
If you ever go to Luigi’s, or should I say, the next time you go to Luigi’s, look on the wall to the right as you walk in by the first row of booths, for a picture framed in red. Mickey put up a photo taken at the very first game. Right next to it is a reunion photo of the same guys, including my dad, taken years later. It is a classic!
Red’s threw an appreciation picnic every year for about 20 years. It was a major party. When I was a kid we went swimming and watched the adults get “silly”. It started at Hillside park, then moved to Portage Lakes where my dad lived, and finally ended up in Canal Fulton. In the late 70’s LaFlavour would play at most of the parties. Although one year, Magenta played.
This picnic was an absolute mess! We had 40 kegs of beer, I don’t know how many pounds of kielbasa and 100 dozen ears of corn. It got to the point after the last one, when we had about 600 people show up, that it had become too large, and too scary. If you went to one you know what I am talking about. Got any stories? Please post them.