Remembering the Great Bars of Waterbury’s Past
Whenever I show my old photographs, one of the most common things that people say to me is “Damn, you guys did a lot of drinking”
I grew up around alcoholic beverages — most children of the glorious 70s did too. There were no regulations on advertising back then. Every other commercial was for a beer. My father was a bartender through a good portion of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I remember hearing about The Carousel, The Pines, Mecca’s, Wooden Goblet, and the Lux.
I started going into Waterbury bars in the 80s. My dad’s good friend owned Scruples on Watertown Ave. We used to go in on Saturday afternoon after my dad came home from work. He used to toss a few back with Nick, and I used to try to eat all of the pasta fagioli that was left in the kitchen.
As my crowd became legal to drink, we used to try to hit all of the hot spots around the Brass City: Polo’s, Westside, The Horse, The Wackie, Gahan’s, and Enjell’s.
We used to try to get into the White Parrot/Nightlife when we were underage, but never could. When we got turned away, we would go across the street to The Fox, Fuzzy Wuzzy’s, or Mr. Happy’s, I’ll spare you the details of those nights. Drescher’s was the first place that I ever heard of, or tried, a half-yard of beer.
I still get nostalgic for Drescher’s when I drive by Pies & Pints on Leavenworth St, or for the Scoreboard when I drive up Wolcott Road and see Popeye’s instead of my old hangout.
I loved the Ground Round. My buddy Joey loved it when it was Cleary’s. Unfortunately. neither of us do now since it’s a Japanese steakhouse.
God, the names that also come to mind: Outside Inn, Amici’s Backstage, Domar’s. Carmine’s, London Fog, Begnal’s Brown Derby, Brownstone, Park Place, Amigos, Toad’s Place, City Limits, Sin City, Marty Brennan’s, No Fish, and 1249 West Main all make me smile.
There are plenty of bars around Waterbury. We’re hard-working,salt of the earth drinkers, always have been. A big salute to the men and women who broke their backs to let all of us blow off some steam. Gimme a shot of ‘Buca with the coffee beans, and a Bud, I’ll see you out on the streets.