Exploiting You: The Bar in Rocky Start

I think we need a bar in Rocky Start. Bob says it’s too small a town to have a bar. I say there is no town too small to have a bar. A town may only have two houses, but there’ll be a bar. So remember when you all came up with spy/covert names for businesses in Rocky Start? We didn’t do a bar. We need a bar name.

Have at it, Arghers.

97 thoughts on “Exploiting You: The Bar in Rocky Start

    1. Wish I’d thought of that! “On the Rocks” is such a good name for a bar in that town, for so many reasons, that I’m not even going to try to come up with an alternative.

    1. I second that for the UK. Another thing we have is sometimes other businesses close down and get rolled into the pub. There’s a pub near me that’s also the village shop and post office now. Or the business changes character over the day – so it’s a cafe during the day and an Italian restaurant at night. Even the sign revolves!

    2. I live in a small town, calls itself Mayberry on acid, there are 3 bars, 4 restaurants with full bars and 2 liquor stores and live music every night. Playing off another town tagline, the bar could be called Only in Mayberry (insert your town name)

    3. I lived in an outback town of 200 people for a few years. There was no pharmacy, grocery store, or post office but by god there was a pub.

  1. I used to work at a bar called “The Lost Vegas.” Makes no sense for the book and really no sense in general, but I always liked it.

  2. There is always a bar. The town I went to college in had one stop light… And three bars. It was the only place to get pizza for a while.

    Shaken, Not Stirred?

    1. Omg. We have one of those where I live now. I find it annoying because it is so Not the place to hang out. A rich minor politician’s opened it a few years ago. Before that it was Rum Runners, a super tacky tiki bar. I kind of preferred it that way… Blue ceilings painted with clouds, fake parrots hanging from the ceiling…

      1. My town (now that we aren’t dry) has Small Town Tavern. We are up to three stop-lights now, what with all the city people moving out here.

      2. I’ve noticed this seems to be an American way of naming businesses. I used to have a game with another Canadian friend of mine to find the most pedestrian names we could, like “The Mattress Store”. I bet it works.

  3. I love On the Rocks too. I’d want to know who owns the bar before I would even try to beat that one.

    In my little hometown there was only one bar… the Snake Pit. You didn’t go there after dark!

  4. I used to drive my great-uncle to all our family functions. He was broken in 1911, and every few miles he would say, “That used to be a juke joint right there.” They were just old houses or sheds (and many were just patches of weeds, gone after all this time). Literally, every few minutes he would say this, and we were in the back of beyond. Lol, there must not have been much to do there as a young person, so people just made it up.

    And later, in the 90s, a wild (ex) boyfriend showed me his aunt’s bar. It was also in the back of beyond, just an old barn-type building with a neon sign on a small road with nothing else nearby. It was THE hangout for the rowdy crowd who wanted a drink, a dance, and probably a good bar fight. He said the police had to come out there a lot.

    So, yup, there will always be a bar. Maybe not a fancy bar, but someplace to get rowdy for sure.

  5. I love it when you do these 🙂

    Off the top of my head:
    Long shot
    Quick shot
    Last shot
    Knock ’em Dead (pool bar)
    Last Chance Saloon
    Rack ’em Up (pool bar)
    Trick Shot (pool bar)
    Tough Breaks (pool bar)
    Under the Table (pool bar)
    Nice Rack (pool bar)
    Hit me
    Killer Alibi
    Lucky Break (pool bar)
    Deep Pockets (pool bar)

    I don’t know why my brain thinks you need a pool bar.

      1. I didn’t even think of that! My brain isn’t on yet. I did think that Hit Me reminded me of Bet Me, and others might have the same response (maybe).

    1. Oh, also:
      Mom’s
      Dead Soldiers
      The Courthouse
      Clean House
      Whiskey Business (sorry, I don’t pun well)

  6. I don’t think I could beat On the Rocks, but as an alternative, I know of a site where The Last Chance went bust like several bars before it, and when eventually somebody else tried, they named it The Second Chance. (And it went bust too.) Given all the retired agents, The Second Chance could work as a bar name.

  7. Super fun, ok:
    • The Black Bag or simply Black’s (could be a person or not)
    • if this is rural enough play on the FBIs Farm (if that won’t cause issues of course)
    • the Cobbler (one who would create fake documents)
    • the Station
    • Uncle’s Place

  8. There is a bar in Chapel Hill called “He’s not here”

    I like
    Bar None
    Low Bar

    and you can always go with a name like
    JB’s bar and grill (add the e to grill if you want to be pretentious)

    1. I love He’s Not Here. In San Diego there’s a bar named My Alibi.
      I love that name.

      In the bible belt there are usually the same amount of bars as there are churches (unless it’s a dry county).

  9. I’m no good at names, but I do know that small bars can exist in very small places, if there are some people around who will use it.
    The place where we went for summer holidays for more than 30 years only had 7 houses, 3 farms and a small and rough bar called Carnozet (I think it’s just the local Swiss French dialect word for a bar). No shops, those (2 small ones) were in the next larger village, which also had places to eat and drink for the tourists. Your Rocky Start village is almost a city in comparison, with its multiple shops and 2 postoffices.

    The Carnotzet was only for the rougher and poorer locals, I don’t think any of the tourist hikers ever stopped there.
    It did quite well providing the poor herders and laborers from the surroundings a place to get warm, get a drink and some simple food, and have a chat before going back up to the lonely shacks guarding the sheep and young cows; but a few young men with fast cars used to drive all the way up there from the city at the lower end of the valley to get drunk too.

    The place was at the end of a narrow and winding mountain road, and we used to worry about the drunks leaving late in the evening driving too fast down that road; one eventually did die in a car crash.

    1. I lived in southern Bavaria for a couple of years back when, and another American there with me formulated the rule, “No German is ever more than 100 meters away from a source of beer.” This seemed locally true, although most of the sources were not even loosely bars. Even the local McDonald’s sold beer, as did snack shops in far more remote locations. Some of this culture may have been imported into Rocky Flats by foreign agents or Americans who had long lived abroad.

  10. When I was attending Naval Nuclear Power School lo, these many years ago, there was a bar called “The Office.” Summer of ’71.

  11. We had a bar here called The Rusty Nail. Mind you, we have two colleges in a relatively small town, so we have a LOT of bars. When I first moved here to go to college in 1980, there were 76 of them–the most bars per capita in the state. What a thing to be famous for.

    There is also the Sip N’ Sail, called The Sip for short. No idea where the name came from, since the nearest large body of water is Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, about half an hour away.

  12. In Edinburgh we, until Covid, we also had a bar called The Office (sorry dear I’m still at the office!). We also had The Doctors (it was opposite the old Medical School (sorry Boss, I have to go to the doctors!)).

    Small town though – “The Other Bar”? “The Dogs” (as in going to the dogs – we used to have a dog track too but there are up-market flats there now LOL).

    1. Not a suggestion for Rocky Flats, but another excuse-name for a bar is The Library. It’s pretty popular, per Google. We used to have one locally, which caused a lot of confusion because the real public library was close by. The local Library bar went bust. I don’t think that bars as a whole have a long life expectancy!

        1. My dad, Time magazine under his arm, would often announce that he’d be unavailable for a while, in the Library. Not good news in a one-bathroom-family-of-seven house.

    2. You also had (still have?) The Regent in Edinburgh, a gay bar. My son used to work there. I was amazed when he met his wife at the Christmas party — the owner of The Regent also had a restaurant where the future bride worked. At least, if you’re in Edinburgh, Scotland.

      1. The Regent is still here. There is also Planet Out and CC Blooms (gay bars in the Pink Triangle (I live on the edge of that area). Not sure they are suitable for a small town though. We do have a lot of repurposed banks (Edinburgh was a very rich financial center in Georgian times) big old buildings with vaguely financial names – Standing Orders, the Counting House.

        Was the building always a pub or was it something else before – that might lend itself to a particular name?

        Sorry – live in a big city, not to good at American Small Town stuff. The Barley Mow, The Bull and Bush are popular country pub names in England if that helps

  13. I live in a town of around 2000 people. That includes the law school. We had two bars. Now we are down to one…

    I vote for Joe’s.
    Or Rocky’s. My office mate says Rocky Mountain Oyster Bar.
    We are no help.

  14. A few bars that have come and gone in our small Wisconsin town : The Chatterbox (they even had a neon sign with chattering teeth)
    The Red Dot
    The Office
    The Right Bower
    The Harmony Lounge
    We have less than five thousand people in our town and we’re the county seat! Good luck with the name!

  15. Here in Los Angeles, there is a bar and restaurant called Public school. It took me years to realize it wasn’t a public school because the building looks like a public school.
    You could call it Stop and have the sign outside be a stop sign. No words.

    Or Go like in monopoly.

  16. In the same vein as the office, “Headquarters”

    Unless a county is dry, I would expect a bar in every town in America.

  17. If you want to be on the nose with the spy theme, The Hideaway or The Safe House.

    The first one was a bar in the town where I grew up, and the second–IIRC–was a bar and grill somewhere we visited, but hell if I can remember where.

    1. There is a famous bar in Milwaukee, WI. called The Safe House. You need a password to enter.

  18. It just struck me that it could be a double name in imitation of some British pubs. The Cloak and Dagger is probably too obvious. The Book and Key? The Chalk and Drop?

  19. This is probably way off base, but how about another option — “Socks Off” bar, based on the conceit that the owner wants all fighting done outside. From the phrase “[Knock your”] Socks Off.

    It’s kinda stupid, I know. But you requested ideas. Many of the suggestions already made are ones that I prefer myself. 🙂

  20. I live near 2 small one-street towns and both have bars. Actually one has 3 bars. They have gone with names related to the history. One town used to be a coal lining town and theirs is Mineshaft Tavern. The other is a rehabbed old saloon and appropriately called Blackbird Saloon.

  21. When my siblings went to college in a small town in Minnesota, the only place it was legal to buy liquor was owned by the city, The Municipal liquor store and bar, known as The Muni. However, the first thing I was told when I checked into my dorm 8 years later was that the liquor store in the extremely tiny town a few miles away delivered.

  22. How about “The Loose End”? I remember a song from my college days called “Rocky Top”, too. “The Medicine Cabinet”, or “Tippsie’s” appeal to me. The liquor store in my town is called Tipsy’s.

  23. Ooh, I’ve been to The Safehouse! Their famous drink is the Spy’s Demise. Also, a popular bar at Marquette: The Gym.

    For you, Jenny and Bob:

    The Cutout
    My Cover
    The Cipher
    Scytale’s

  24. Deerstalker’s (in honor of the spot on the Venn diagram where Sherlock Holmes meets Appalachia).

    Also, you don’t need a town to have a bar. My grandparents met at a bar and dance hall at a rural crossroads. They were in their teens–her dad was the bouncer, he was a dumbass kid who wrecked his first car, and she comforted him. The bar was named after its owners. In that vein, what about a famous spy name, like Mata Hari’s or Bond’s Place?

  25. I have no idea if this would work for Rocky Start, but years ago, I used to drive by a bar called The Dead End. Never got the chance to stop in but I always wanted to…

  26. I grew up in a small town, about 800 people. It had 3 bars plus an Elks Club and an America Legion, both basically bars. The little town about a mile away (60 people) had another bar. The bigger town 3 miles away ( 2,500) had 5 or 6 bars, also another Elks , plus the Masons and both towns had State liquor stores. Never underestimate people’s desire for a drink with friends (or the urge to get out of the house). Oh, there was a grange with monthly meetings and dances too.

    1. Oh, one of the bars was The Brick (complete with running water spitoon along the base of the bar. That would be a good name for a bar of someone dealing pot.

  27. When I was in London 40some years ago, the pub was always referred to as “the pub”, but every once in a while one of the people with whom I drank would refer to it as “the boozer”. I think that would be a great name for a bar.

  28. My first trip to Inuvik in the Arctic in the early 70s, there was the MacKenzie Hotel. The bar/dance floor was called The Zoo. I was told we had to sit with our backs to the wall. It was an eye opener.

    On The Rocks
    The Bar

  29. I grew up in a small town in CT, Plainfield. Mama used to send me “downstreet” to pick up a couple of grinders (a particular variety of submarine sandwich) at Ikey’s, after she called in the order. Being 6-7 years old (’57-58), I had to wait outside the bar while he made the sandwiches, where I watched through the window. (Lest anyone think this task onerous, it was two blocks each way.)

    Fast forward to 1976, they opened a dog track. Plainfield Greyhound Park. They named the mechanical rabbit Ikey after the bar owner. The track closed in 2005. I think Ikey’s closed before then.

    The point is, the bar was called by the owner’s name. I think the actual name was “Harvey’s Rest.”

      1. When I was stationed in CT at the submarine base and went to visit big brother Jim in Atlanta, he made me stop and get three or four grinders. He said there were no comparable sandwiches in Georgia.

        Every region has a sandwich. I liked gyros (heroes), hoagies, hot Cubans, various subs, ham & Swiss on rye, but my favorite will always be a grinder.

  30. Last Call. The Tipple. Low Bar. Bar None. The Tipsy Tavern. Suds. The Tall Tankard. Whatever Ales You. The Grape Grotto. The Grape and Grope. Beer Goggles. The Festive Ferret. (That one will need a back story!)

    1. Deep Six.
      Over the Line (for the state line if the bar straddles the line down the middle of the town)
      And a local bar & food place here is Nutz Deep.

    1. Oh, The Tap is good. The public room in English pubs used to be called the taproom because that’s where the kegs are tapped.

  31. My tiny rural town had a population of 800 when I was a kid (it’s slightly larger now, about 1000). We had two bars up until one of the owners retired, plus the three (four?) in the similarly-sized town five miles away. The one that’s gone now was called the Detour, and the one that’s still there is the Why Not. The Detour had a minuscule kitchen in the back and served extraordinarily greasy burgers and fries, which you could also call and order as takeout since there were no cafes or restaurants in town. The Why Not, until it was renovated a few years ago*, was just a small one-room cinderblock building with no frills at all. It’s important to note–this is a surefire tell for outsiders–the name is pronounced as one word, with the accent strongly on the first syllable: the WHYₙₒₜ.


    * “a few years ago” in small-town time, meaning maybe like 15 or 20 years?

  32. I lived in tiny town in a string of small towns. There are six to ten miles between them and most of them had at least one bar. Ours was “the saloon”. I really had to think about it to remember as everyone called it Meagher’s and he wasn’t even the owner.

    For an old bar it might well be called after an owner three owners back no matter what the current owners named it. Doesn’t help, just widens the scope, oh well
    But too small for a bar? Our population sign said 0. the vandal only had to scrape off one digit. 🙂

  33. My dad’s hometown has a population of 600ish and two pubs.

    Set it in Ireland and you’ll be fine.

    I like The Tap suggestion. Doubly good because everyone talks to the barman/person. All the goss, no wire needed.

  34. Liquid Courage, P.O. #3, The Double, as in agent or trouble. Martini’s (the bar in It’s a Wonderful Life) or Olive’s, both named for an owner, current or long gone.

  35. Double Tap. Stinky’s. The Drop Site. The Trench (coat). The Dead Rat (I once read about a purported Russian favorite way to make a covert drop: stuffing it inside a dead rat…). Dry Hole. No Excuses.

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