Once upon a time, long ago in the early 1990’s, The Sandbar installed a webcam. We were one of the first businesses in Lawrence to have one, and it caught on as kind of a fad around town. The LJW has written about our webcam several times; I couldn’t find any of the early articles, but one of the later ones is here.

Back in those early days, we also had a television hooked up in a front corner of the bar, always tuned toImg_3786
show the picture from the webcam. The camera was also in the front of the bar, near the television, and it was a hoot to watch customers hamming it up for the camera and watching themselves on the screen. People would call up their friends and family, give them our website, and then do something goofy in front of the camera. I’ve even heard of soldiers in Iraq logging on to see their friend’s birthday celebration. Note for those of you uncomfortable with the idea of web voyeurism: we purposely chose a camera that doesn’t function as well in lower light, to keep our customers slightly blurry and unidentifiable.

Our former website host/bartender/doorguy Josh used to tell us that our website got a million hits every month. I’m not sure what he was drinking, but I’m quite sure we were not *that* popular. Because if that were the case, given that the internet is way more prevalent now than it was then, our hits would be considerably higher now, and I can assure you that they’re nowhere near a million a month.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, we lost the television set to technology or something, and never replaced it. No longer could patrons see themselves on a screen or encourage their far-away friends to watch them, and consequently the interest in our website began to drop. We still had the webcam, nothing changed there (except the location, it’s now in the back corner of the bar where it gets more even lighting), but it was suddenly less visible.

Until now. Last month, bartender Joe (who should be interviewed on this site soon) sold Dave his old computer system, which included a flat panel monitor. Dave was able to hook up the monitor over the bar, and voila! The days of watching yourself while you’re at the bar are back.

So, tell your friends and family and long-lost cousins that if they must know what you’re doing, they can log on to www.thesandbar.com and click on "webcam," and they just might be able to pick you out of the crowd.