A sampling of local bars’ happy hours (the holiday episode)
by Mark Luedtke
To kick off the Christmas season and this column, my girlfriend Devin and I investigated several local inns for happy hour. A quick Google search identified a number of options, but since none of them had web pages, we had to take our chances based on names.
We had a hard time pulling into Tuty’s at 3982 Colonel Glenn in Beavercreek around 5 p.m. because of westbound traffic, so we passed it, came back and pulled into the ample parking lot. Tuty’s looks like a cross between a diner and a bar. It’s open and light with two pool tables, electronic dartboards, keno and a jukebox to the right. The bar running to the left is similar to a diner counter, and the booths opposite it add to the illusion. But the many-colored bottles behind the bar, apparently popular with the late night college crowd, shatter the illusion.
Happy hour is from 4-7 p.m., Monday-Friday, offers 25 cents off drinks and hosts a small crowd, mostly from the base. A well whiskey and a domestic beer costs about $6. Their naked wings – without breading – were top notch and cost $7, including celery and bleu cheese. The grilled cheese was good and cost $5.50, including fries.
The Shroyer Inn at 1028 Shroyer Road was recommended to us and it reminds me of the bars where I grew up. It’s a classic neighborhood bar. With only a couple of parking places in the front and a small lot in the back, I was afraid I’d stolen some regular’s parking spot, but there’s plenty of parking nearby. We entered from the front and immediately took a liking to the dark paneled tavern. The bar runs from front to back on the left-hand wall and the stools were filled with regulars. Fortunately, the guy who said, “they killed people who asked too many questions” didn’t really mean it. The right-hand side housed a big-screen TV, pool table, electronic and real dartboards and karaoke equipment. We sat at a table along the divide and listened to country music playing on the jukebox.
Jimmy served us our usual, a healthy well whiskey and domestic beer for $5. The menu says you can order a pizza for $4.50 and some cheaper items, but Jimmy discourages it. He doesn’t like to cook, but he welcomes everybody to bring in their own food and be sure and bring enough for everybody. Happy hour runs from 12-7 p.m. weekdays, with 25 cents off beer, 50 cents off drinks and a friendly crowd of regulars. (Bonus: it’s open Christmas Day and every other day of the year).
When we first saw the Stockyards Inn at 1065 Springfield St., we wondered if we were in the wrong place. It’s huge, surrounded by an equally huge parking lot. Walking inside is like walking back in history. The Stockyards Inn dates back to 1900 and pretty much everything inside is original. It’s more of a restaurant than a bar, but it has a charming little bar with original cherry wood and glass and a 100-year-old upright piano for bar guests. Management was setting up elaborate Christmas decorations for the Christmas season, providing a holiday atmosphere.
We sat in the bar with owner and bartender, Jane, and a small crowd, but it was a shame this beautiful place wasn’t bustling at happy hour. Jane thinks it’s too far off the beaten path, but I haven’t seen anything downtown that compares in character and it’s only three minutes away. It’s always happy hour at the Stockyards, with daily drink specials for $1.99. Jane served a stiff drink to Devin and a domestic beer to me for about $6. Food is available for $5 and up because Jane says cattlemen want strong whiskey and a good, fat steak.
To wrap a bow around this piece, we followed the star over Dayton to Stars Lounge at the top of the Crowne Plaza at 33 East Fifth St. Located on the 13th floor with a panoramic view of south and west Dayton, Stars offers a very different happy hour experience. The bar itself is tiny, located on the right as you enter. The rest of the space is a lounge with elegant tables and couches for comfort. A baby grand waits in one corner, but only for pros, leaving the bar quiet. The crowd is an eclectic mix of locals and hotel guests.
Dan served us our usual for $9.50, that’s with the happy hour discount of $1 on drinks and 50 cents on beer between 5 and 7p.m. Appetizers are available for $7 and up, and dinners for $10 and up. Stars also offers special prices on drink and dinner combinations. The Crowne Plaza is under new ownership and they’re renovating everything, including Stars, to be finished by March.
Devin and I had fun visiting places we’d never been to before and talking with people who enjoy happy hour in Dayton. Whenever you think there’s no room at the inn, think again.
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at email@example.com.