Don't call em Bars or Taverns.
They're Beer Joints!
|Charleston, being a working mans town
has always had it's fair share of beer joints. Most were safe
places to stop and have a bottle of Stroh's, Duquesne, Blue Ribbon,
West Virginia, and yes... even the high class beer called Budweiser.
I've always thought it strange that you never see any old photos of
beer joints beyond the turn of the century. Those 1890s establishments
are now considered "quaint", but any beer joint of
the 40s 50s or 60s was considered a "dive". |
So I ran
across some 50s photos of a place my Uncle owned on Smith Street.
It was a tiny little place that sold beer, hotdog's and hamburgers.
It was called the D K Cafe, and before that "YaYah's"
from the Syrian family that started it. It was right next door
to McClure Wholesale, and most of the customers were from the
Cablish Sunbeam Bakery and the railroad. It wasn't unusual to
see kids in beer joints back then, just like you see kids in
bars today with their parents. I remember being in just about every
beer joint in Charleston at one time or another before I was 13.
From the "Elbow Room" to "The Terminal" to you
name it.... I was probably in it.
Below are a few photos from
DK Cafe and one from "Bernie's" beer joints. Notice
the kids in the photos. It's Halloween, and I'm one of
the Trick or Treaters. That's me at the bottom cutting up also.
I can remember when the good people seriously frowned on this.
Today however, they'll take their kids into restaurants where
HARD liquor is sold and think nothing of it! I can never remember
any problems in ANY beer joint I visited as a kid. No fights,
stabbing's, shootings. An occasional drunk was shown the door
and that was about it. I think it's funny that I never
took up drinking, not even beer. I could never understand
why people wanted to drink something that wasn't sweet... but
bitter! The WV beer joint: an institution!
My tribute to the common WV Beer Joint!
All of the above were taken at the DK Cafe on Smith Street
No beer joint in the world operated without Tip Boards
Me acting drunk. Funny thing
is... I never liked beer and never took-up drinking period.
This is my Smith Street neighbor, Carl
Olian's joint. It was on the Boulevard near Laidley Street.
People say it had a good dance floor.
Roadside Inn on Slip Hill Rt21 Sissonville Rd
NOW, HERE'S A LITTLE TRIVIA FOR YOU:
|Here you see just a few of the well over
200 beer signs that I once collected and placed in my basement.
Many people don't know that "back in the day", it
was illegal in WV to have a name-brand beer sign with lights in it.
So most (not all) of the signs that came to WV were pretty plain compared
to signs say... in Ohio. The signs that were SUPPOSED to be
lit up like the Blue Ribbon and the Stroh's above, were delivered
without any electrical fixtures, or had them removed.
Why was this stupid law in place? The lawmakers felt that the
smaller breweries couldn't compete with the big boys when it came
to catching your eye. West Virginia Beer couldn't compete with
Stroh's for instance, in the amount of money spent on fancy signs.
The other reason some say, is that a fancy lit beer sign in
a window was simply too much enticement to the young people.
Therefore, any lit sign that was in a window where the public
could see it could only say 'BEER'.... or "COLD BEER",
but never EVER a name brand. Another law was that curtains must
be hung in every window in such a way that the public could never
see you drinking.|
HERE IS ONE MORE BEER JOINT THAT
DEMANDS IT'S OWN PAGE: SISSONVILLE RD.
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