5 O'Clock Somewhere: Jack's Corner Pub
As game two of the World Series wound to a close Thursday night, regulars who were lined up at the hardwood bar for a good chunk of the evening began to slowly trickle out. They paid their tabs, put on their coats and said goodbyes beneath the bar's faint red glow.
The resident bartender got a good, firm hug. If he was washing dishes, they waited. Other patrons set up along the worn hardwood got the same from each departing group.
Even I got a reassuring pat on the back and pleasant goodbye. I'd been there maybe an hour.
Welcome to the friendly, no-frills world of Jack's Corner Pub.
It's the last of the Summit Street neighborhood's old-guard watering holes, and it's survived to welcome in a new batch of small businesses. (Wild Goose Creative, Capital City Scooter and Leen O' Caffe have set up shop nearby within the past several years.)
You've probably gone by the unassuming scarlet and gray exterior a hundred times without venturing in. You should.
The focal point is a bar in a small room with a Manhattan bodega's experienced, almost desperate use of space. Michelob clocks, Bud mirrors, holiday lights, liquor bottles, several TVs and a jukebox are situated sardine-style with stools, a popcorn machine and likeable seasonal decorations.
Guests can enjoy selections from coin-operated candy machines that would seem insulting anywhere else.
Things get cozy. Conversations get lively. If you're not game for discussions about foul balls, putting stances and RV tailgating policies, a parallel room offers more space, quieter confines and a pool table.
Perennially $2 Budweiser bottles come just a shade above freezing, with a slight frost on the exterior but no slush inside. Mixed drinks start at $2.75, cans at $1.75. There's a happy hour until 7 p.m. weekdays, in addition to specials Monday through Thursday.
Also, don't sleep on the family-style cookout on gamedays. Staff sets up a grill on the sidewalk to prepare dogs, brats and burgers. Everyone's welcome - just bring a covered dish to share.
In addition to a robust happy hour, Jack's offers regular specials. Here's the daily rundown:
Monday: Margaritas for $3 a glass or $8 a pitcher
Tuesday: Ladies night with $2 Purple Hooters and $1.50 Jell-O shots
Wednesday: $2 Long Island iced teas, $1.50 draft beer
Thursday: $2 Purple Hooters
Jack's Corner Pub
2480 Summit St., North Campus
Hours: 12 p.m.-2:30 a.m. daily
Happy hour: 12-7 p.m. Monday-Friday: $5 pitchers of Budweiser, $2 nachos with cheese, select $2.50 sandwiches