Bourbon Train+Cowboy Days

img_cowboy_daysDon’t miss these fun events over Labor Day weekend!

We can’t ever resist a good beer, wine, or other tasting—especially a bourbon tasting. On September 4, board the Kansas Belle Dinner Train bound for Norwood and enjoy a bourbon tasting, appetizers and a real cowboy experience.

The train departs from the Baldwin City Depot at 7 p.m.; guests must be at least 21, of course. The cost is $75 per person—call 785.594.8505 to make your reservation.

Then the next day, on Saturday, head over to Ottawa for the Cowboy Days celebration at the Plaza Theater and Municipal Auditorium. This has something for everyone: educational seminars, shopping, food, horses and more—including a cattle drive downtown!

Local favorite Travis Marvin will also perform a live concert, with an opening performance by Rusty Pierson. And, food and drink will be catered by Sandbar Subs!

Spend your Labor Day weekend doing something unique!

Sandbar scarecrows

Ever seen a hula girl scarecrow? How about a pirate scarecrow? Well, we made some scarecrows, and we couldn’t just make any old traditional kind of scarecrow—of course they had to have some kind of Sandbar flair to them.

Cottin’s Hardware has sponsored a scarecrow contest and auction for the past several years to raise funds for various community garden projects. Every year, we say “We’re going to make a scarecrow this year!” and every year….we don’t.

Until this year!

Using leftover costume remnants and tropical “stuff,” we managed to make not one, but TWO scarecrows this year: a hula dancer and a pirate. You can imagine how much tropical “stuff” we have on hand: coconut bras, leis, grass skirts, all kinds of stuff.

This beauty could be yours tomorrow night:

Tropical scarecrow |

The base of this one is even made from the base of one of our old tables, so you’ll legitimately have a piece of the Sandbar.

The scarecrow contest and auction takes place Friday, Oct. 24, from 5-9 p.m. at the George Paley Building, located at 721 East 9th. This year’s beneficiaries are the Central Garden at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School; the New York Elementary School garden; the Boys & Girls Club Teen Center garden; and the Lawrence Community Shelter garden.

But this isn’t just a contest and auction—it’s a party! Free State will be there with beer and wine, and the Purple Carrot and Torched Goodness food trucks will be selling food. And we all know Lawrence loves beer and food trucks…

After the scarecrow prizes are awarded at 5:45 p.m., the live music begins. Listen to Hyde & Seek, Ellie Williams & Michael Paull, Chris & Dan Tomkins and Truckstop Kids

This is a great family-friendly event, so whether you’ve got kids or not, come on out to see some of Lawrence’s unique creativity!

And buy our scarecrows, please. Otherwise we’ll have to put them at the bar…and you certainly don’t want them taking your seat, do you?

Dracula Unveiling

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year—we love any excuse to wear costumes!

This year, Peach has put together a fun event at the Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, the oldest operating movie theater in the world and one of her many business adventures.

Get out your best Halloween costume and head south for a costume contest: the best vamp and vampire costumes will win free year-long movie passes!

The fun starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, with spirits and bites, along with the unveiling of the Dracula Museum. There will also be a special movie screening of 1931’s “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi and Young Frankenstein.

The cover charge is $15, and you can buy tickets in advance by calling the Plaza at 785.242.5555. The costume awards and party will resume at the stroke of midnight at the South Beach Cove in Ottawa (formerly our Sandbar South location!).

Dracula Unveiling at the Plaza Cinema |


Enter our Facebook photo contest!

We’ve never run a contest on Facebook before– Facebook’s terms of service make it just too darn difficult.

(All those contests you see asking you to “like” or “share” a status or a photo in order to enter to win something? Yep, those are against Facebook’s TOS. Most people either don’t know or don’t care, but Facebook can shut down your page without warning if you violate their rules. I don’t want to take that risk.)

In order to run a legitimate contest on Facebook, you pretty much have to use a third-party application. Which either means you need to have mad development skills to create your own (I don’t) or spend money to use an app that someone else has already created.

So, that’s what we’re doing.

Announcing the Best Sandbar Pictures of All Time contest.

You can enter on Facebook (click here to enter or vote), or you can also enter a photo on Twitter or Instagram by using hashtag #sbparty13. The app claims that entries with the hashtag will automatically be entered, but if for some reason it doesn’t work, we’re not responsible.

You can enter pictures and vote until August 5.

Encourage your friends and family to vote for your picture; the entry with the most votes will win a pair of VIP passes to the beer garden at our August 10 block party!

You must be 21 to enter the contest and redeem the prize; we’ll ask for two forms of ID to verify.

So start digging out your best Sandbar pictures and enter our contest!

Why a beach bar took a dive into sandwiches

The Sandbar, a downtown beach bar, has been a staple on the Lawrence bar scene since 1989. A little over a decade ago, Sandbar founder Peach started dabbling with the idea of expansion.

“The subs story started when I found out that most downtowns would not allow a bar to go in without food sales,” she said.  Overland Park and other similar towns—including Lawrence–  have zoning regulations to prevent the same type business.

Longtime bartender and manager David Johanning agreed to take over the responsibility of the Lawrence bar while Peach explored expansion options.  This was during the time the Legends shopping center in nearby Kansas City was under construction.  “We were asked to participate in the original Legends plan,” Peach said, “but realized we were not experienced enough at that time to handle such volume.”

The small town of Ottawa, close to home, was a great place to test ideas and concepts.  Peach opened a second Sandbar location that was a restaurant and bar (click here to read more stories about the Ottawa adventures) and enjoyed it, but she knew it wasn’t quite the right match.

During this time, the Madls became friends with the Zaremba family of Zarco66. The Zarembas had just bought a store in Ottawa, and Scott and his family often came into the restaurant on wing night.

A downtown Ottawa sub shop without table service was the next effort, and boy it worked. It was great fun, Scott came down and enjoyed the food and a partnership was born. We now have three Sandbar Sub Shops inside Zarco66 convenience stores in Lawrence and Ottawa.

The Sandbar Subs World Headquarters is slated to open in August, right across the street from the original Sandbar, along with a new location of Peoples Bank.

Now how did the relationship with Peoples Bank happen?

Peach explains, “Well, back in the old days, banks would sometimes be ‘not nice.’ My husband and I had the opportunity to buy the building the original Sandbar bar was in. However, I was rejected by a bank my accountant referred me to– because ‘you receive the majority of your income from the sale of alcohol and we are a family owned bank.’”

Their regular bank wouldn’t loan money for properties outside of Baldwin City. So one day Ted said,  “Hey, I have a cousin who’s a banker, let me call her!”

“That’s when I met Maley Wilkins of Peoples Bank, and she took great care of us.”

Another connection to Peoples Bank comes by way of the Winter family, who are well-known around the Lawrence area.

“When we first got the Crystal Plaza Theater in 2005, it was struggling, “ Peach said. Peoples Bank kept sponsoring events and coming by and supporting us in many ways in Ottawa. The late Wint Winter, Sr., who was chairman of Peoples Inc., was a wonderful man and he is honored at the Plaza Grill and Cinema with a picture on the Wall of LOCAL Stars in the lobby.

As for the new Sandbar Subs World Headquarters/Peoples Bank adventure in downtown Lawrence?

Peach says it came about when Scott and Maley spent time talking instead of listening to speakers at a Chamber event and came up with this wonderful plan.

“And Ted and I said ‘we’re in!’” said Peach.

Usually, this is where they say the rest is history, but in this case, the next chapter is just beginning.

Be sure to join us on August 10 for the big block party bash! Click here for more info.