May 18, 2009

That's all, Volks! Tipp o' the hat memories.

Quaintly crappy cell-phone pics by P.M. Summer.

The Tipperary Inn closed again last weekend. It closed once before, was bought and reopened, and failed again.

The Tipperary Inn (not to be confused with Fort Tipperary just east of White Rock Lake) was an Irish-style bar/pub, complete with actual pub furnishings imported from Ole Eire. Legend says the Tipperary's first owners (who were Irish) paid $1 million in cash for the furnishings. They were in the "sporting hardware export" business, so it was whispered, and could be found hanging around Knights of Columbus halls in the USA.

The triangularly-shaped stone building they were housed in was originally the Lakewood Volk's Department Store, an upper-middle class shopping venue that I grew up with. This particular location (designed by George Dahl?) had multiple levels, and a fascinating indoor/outdoor goldfish pond that went through a glass wall to the outside. There was even an item I can't believe REALLY existed as I (and others) remember it... an X-Ray machine to size a child's foot properly. The bi-level corner of the building the Tipp was located in was the Women's Fitted Wear section (as opposed to Ready-to-Wear), and the mezzanine was Couture.

So, I paid my respects to the Tipp last Thursday after work. I walked in at 4pm (opening). It was un-air conditioned at that time (cost savings?), and had the distantly all-too-familiar smell of stale beer and bleach that I remember from my bar-keep days during my college years. I sat at the bar and ordered my preferred lager, a Spaten Bock, thinking perhaps I was making a mistake (ordering a Bavarian lager during the parting visit to an Irish pub). As I was pondering my error, I heard the gush of CO2 coming from the tap, the tell-tale sound of a blown keg. "Make that a Guinness" I said to the Mohawk sporting barkeep in a First Cav t-shirt (IIRC).

I drank my beer, wishing I'd had the foresight to order a Guinness 250 instead. Then it happened. A bad idea. A potentially ruinous idea. What if I pulled together some investors, cashed out my retirement, took over the Tipp, contracted with Franconia Brewery to brew private-label beers, did some minor redecorating, and re-opened as the "Volks Brauhaus"?

Or even as "The White Horse Tavern," appealing to the historically literate renegades at nearby Dallas Theological Seminary.