I was going through my files these past few days and found a lot of old stuff. I have posted on here many times about my love of Bob & Barbara's at 15th & South. The place has always been a neighborhood bar that Center City grew up around. The place precedes the gentrification of that area, and has been run like a neighborhood bar with affordable drinks for decades.
I don't spend nearly as much time there as I used to. But I still feel awfully welcome when I walk in the door. The bike messengers and hipsters may not know me. Neither do the kids who pack the place on the weekends, but the barkeeps and the locals do. I will always feel comfortable sitting and drawing cartoons at that bar. I found this piece from 2001 that was drawn at the bar while rocking cans of Pabst and shots of Jim Beam:
It was a flier for the bar. Frank, the manager at the time (and the guy responsible for scoring most of that vintage PBR swag way back when) wanted to do something nice to pay pack the bar's steady patrons. So he created "The Big Payback", a weekly event where he brought in free home cooked food. Sadly, the event started to draw a lot of starving addicts who popped out of the woodwork and disturbed steady patrons. So the Big Payback was a short-lived event in Bob & Barbara's history. But it was great that Frankie wanted to do that for his customers. Bob & Barbara's has always been diverse and experimental with their nightly events, from Bingo to Ping Pong to Pictionary to the Drag Show to live Jazz every week.
Above is a photo I took back around 2001 or 2002. I've sung the praises of Nate Wiley & the Crowd Pleasers many many times. They are my heroes. Nate and Cliff have passed, but Howard Candie, the greatest organist the band ever had, is still around. Lately, he has been having some health problems. So once again, Bob & Barbara's Lounge is giving back. Tonight, September 14, from 8 PM to 11 PM, there will be a fundraiser to help Howard and his family with their medical bills. Anyone who has ever heard Howard play has been amazed. He makes that Hammond B-3 shake the room like no other. If you know Howard's music, please come out and help him and his family out. They're great folks.
If you've never heard Howard, you can CLICK HERE to hear him on this documentary short made by local filmmaker Jim McGorman.