Happy Homecoming, Sandbar Jayhawks!

Hey friends!

In case you haven't heard, this weekend is KU's annual Homecoming. It also happens to be the 100th Homecoming on the Hill, which is a pretty big deal.

You know we love a good parade, and even though we don't have a float in this one, be sure to check out the Homecoming parade. It's on Friday night this year, which is a good thing since the football game kicks off early at 11 a.m. And if you aren't partying with us on our Rocky Horror Picture Show haunted bus extravagana, then you might as well check out the parade.

After the parade, make your way to the Adams Alumni Center for a pep rally. Our buddy Scott is going to be the DJ, and they'll have all the usual pep rally stuff like the band and cheerleaders.

And then, come see us! The Lawrence Bar Band is headed out on the town again, and according to their Twitter account, they'll be making some extra surprise stops Friday night. Follow them for more information.

The bar will be B-U-S-Y on Friday night, so get here early and be prepared to stand in line. And it'll be busy on Saturday, too. Tailgate in the morning, enjoy the game and then come downtown to eat, drink and shop.

Happy Homecoming, Jayhawks!

Check in at the Sandbar on Gowalla

Last spring we set up the Sandbar on Whrrl and Foursquare, two location-based social networs that allow you to check in, share your location and find friends. We added "specials" that allowed users to get free jukebox credits when they checked in and showed their status to the bartender.

Now, we've added a third network: Gowalla. It's similar to the others, with one big difference: the network was co-founded by an alumnus of KU. Which makes it a big deal in our opinion. And he's been to the Sandbar. Check out the picture he uploaded to our spot on Gowalla.

If you check in to the Sandbar on Gowalla, you'll get this nice friendly welcome message:

Once you check in, show this message to the bartender and they'll load five free credits on the jukebox for you. This offer is only valid before 9 p.m., any day of the week.

You can find our spot on Gowalla here.

Another reason we like Gowalla: the AP Top 25/Gowalla Check In Challenge. The contest encourages fans to check in to five designated locations on their college campuses, and at the end of the regular football season the school with the most points will earn a $10,000 donation to their general scholarship fund. You can also win random prizes like MacBook Airs and iPods, just for checking in.

KU is pretty far behind in the standings right now, but you can help! Use Gowalla to check in at the University, Allen Fieldhouse, Memorial Stadium, the Campanile or the Kansas Union and you'll earn a point. Send your check-in to Twitter or Facebook and you'll earn five more. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Thoughts on Austin’s Sixth Street

Some of the Sandbar crew visited Austin, Texas, right before Thanksgiving. It seems like a million years ago after all the holiday hoopla, but I still wanted to share some of the fun stuff we saw at Austin bars. I'm going to break this up into several posts, because there's a lot to share. So, check back later this week for more.

Everyone always talks about Sixth Street as "the place to go" in Austin. And maybe it is, but not until 11 p.m. -  even on weekends with home football games, apparently.  Several of the bar employees we talked to confirmed that they rarely get busy until late at night.

Dave and I stayed at a hotel in downtown Austin about two blocks from Sixth Street, and on our first day there we spent the afternoon walking around the area. We noticed right away that it's very different than Mass Street in Lawrence. We're used to seeing people in Downtown Lawrence all the time- morning, afternoon, and late into the night- but the Sixth Street area was practically deserted. In fact, most of the other people walking around were sporting KU attire just like us; other tourists there for the football game who had been directed to Sixth Street as the place to be.

20091120_austin_0002We found a somewhat-tropical looking place to grab some food, the Paradise Cafe & Bar. This was a  research trip, after all! It was a cool old building that had been restored, and the staff was super friendly. Probably because there were several of them, and only a couple of us. We asked the bartender to whip up her best tropical concoction (the name escapes me), and it was pretty tasty. The staff even bought us tequila shots. In the middle of the afternoon,ugh.

Most of Sixth Street was populated with bars and restaurants, with a few random businesses or offices sprinkled in. Not like Downtown Lawrence, where you can buy practically anything. We also noticed that a majority of the bars seemed to offer some type of food. Another one we liked was the Jackalope– awesome burgers and a surprisingly delicious spicy Guiness Bloody Mary.

One of the few stores that we saw along Sixth Street that was actually open and busy was Wild About Music. As music fans, we spent quite a bit of time in there. It was a neat gift shop that I would compare to a combination of Hobb's/The Palace/Etc. Shop.

While we had a great time on Sixth Street, we decided that Lawrence is lucky to have a downtown area like we do- an area that is vibrant almost any time of the day, with office workers, shoppers, diners, and bar hoppers all sharing the space. It wouldn't be nearly as great if Mass Street activity shut down at 5 pm, or if it didn't get busy until late at night.

Sandbar Shout-Out in Gruene, Texas

A few weeks ago, some of the Sandbar crew ventured south to Austin, Texas. It was a rag-tag bunch- managing partner Dave and his lovely wife, our art director Justin and his lovely wife, and our Man on the Street Patrick.

It also happened to be the weekend that KU played the Texas Longhorns in a little game called football, so there were lots of folks we knew down there.

But, the game wasn't actually the reason that Dave and I were there.

We planned the trip for two reasons: to check out the bar scene in Austin and steal borrow some ideas, and to catch a concert at the legendary Gruene Hall, the oldest continuously operating dancehall in Texas. 

One of our favorite artists, Roger Creager, played Saturday night. He's played in Lawrence and Kansas City several times, and he's partied with us at the Sandbar after a couple of shows. We weren't about to miss the opportunity to see him at Gruene.

Dave and I had dinner at the restaurant next door to Gruene Hall, the Grist Mill, before the show. All of a sudden, who comes walking past our table but Roger himself. Dave got his attention, he stopped to chat for awhile, and went on his way.

About halfway through the concert later that night,  Roger started talking about road trips, and fans, and how it's great that people come from all over to see shows. Then, he said this:

"I even ran into a buddy of mine who's here all the way from The Sandbar in Lawrence, Kansas!"

Clearly nobody's mind was on football, or else they knew we were losing badly, because we didn't get booed by the crowd. Dave and I cheered, and a kid about ten feet away came running over to us.

I won't lie, I had seen this guy earlier in the night and thought he looked familiar. Sure enough, he introduced himself as Andrew, a grad student at KU who had been in the Sandbar less than a week ago.

It's such a small world. It was very cool that our tiny little bar got a shout-out in front of a crowd of maybe a thousand people in Texas.

Coming soon, a post about some of the things we learned from the bars in Austin. I know, I'm slow.

Odds and Ends

It's been pretty slow on the we've-got-news front, but I've got a few random odds and ends to share.

1.  Thanks for a fantastic weekend! Downtown hasn't been as busy as usual lately, but last weekend was definitely an exception. The final home football game of the season certainly helped.

While we wish KU had won the game, we always appreciate the Nebraska fans that visit. As far as fans from other teams go, they are always very fun and never cause any problems.

2.  Speaking of the gamethis blog post popped up in my Google alerts today (that was fast!).  It's about local music and our neighbor to the east, the Tap Room. Apparently the craziness of the football weekend spilled over there, too, and some folks had trouble finding us. 

3.  New pictures! I found more pictures from Halloween hiding on my camera. You can check them out on our Facebook fan page or our Flickr photostream.

That's all I've got tonight.

Another Friday Night, Another Bar Band

 Friday brought another busy night and another visit from the Bar Band!

20091023_AlphaOmicronPi _0001We had some Oklahoma Sooner fans in the house- we always think it's fun for the opposing team's fans to see a tiny marching band invade the bar to play the KU fight songs. Wonder if any other Big 12 schools have a similar bar band that travels around town the night before a game?

Obviously, this tuba isn't used on game day. It's message pretty much sums up the Bar Band!

We had a line for most of the night on Friday. Lots of regulars, lots of football fans, and even a 30th birthday party.

The 10 pm hurricane featured brand new mermaids- these girls had never even SEEN the hurricane and had no idea what they were getting into when they agreed to put on the costume! (Don't tell anyone, but one of the girls is also a Mizzou fan! She thought the bar band was cool, though.)

It wasn't a very rowdy crowd, considering it was a Friday and the night before a football game. Usually after the hurricane, we do several more Sandbar favorite bar dancing songs, but this night we stopped after Car Wash because the crowd just wasn't into it.

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One of my friends who managed to get in the bar just before the Bar Band started had a video camera and filmed them. Once he gets the video ready and posts a link, I'll share it here so you can experience Friday's performance even if you weren't there.