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Published: Thursday, June 29, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— One characteristic of most dive bars is how light they are on frills. Shroyer Inn located at 1028 Shroyer Rd. where Dayton, Kettering and Oakwood all converge has but a few -- and that’s alright with the regular crowd who pack the place most weekends.
“If it’s not broke, I’m not going to fix it,” owner Butch Elder said.
Aside from a jukebox, some dart boards and a pool table, Shroyer Inn -- affectionately nicknamed “The Shroyer” -- is a bar that knows what it is and doesn’t attempt to be what it is not. So how does a bar with absolutely zero web presence, no karaoke and no trivia night become a finalist for the Best of Dayton 2016? Word of mouth and little else.
Originally named the Shroyer Inn when it opened 65 years ago, the bar changed hands -- and names-- two times before Elder purchased the place at the turn of the century, restoring the original name. A chance meeting with an acquaintance who knew he was in the market changed everything.
“I was looking for a bar to buy. Basically, I just stumbled across it,” Elder said.
Aside from a fresh coat of paint here and there, new carpet every few years and updated television screens, very little has changed in 18 years. But some big developments could be on the horizon for this Little Bar That Could. Elder says he wants to expand Shroyer Inn into the vacant space next door, and has discussed the possibility with the building’s owner. However, the two parties have yet to come to an agreement.
From outside, Shroyer Inn doesn’t look like much. Stepping inside is like a blast from the past with tall cushy chairs that look they were new when Gerald Ford was in office. All that aside, the place is clean. In fact, you can find Elder cleaning it himself every morning before the bartenders come in.
A nice, long L-shaped bar greats you as you settle into the low-lit atmosphere.
BOOZE & FOOD
Despite not having a real kitchen, Shroyer Inn can heat up frozen pizzas, sandwiches, or a soft pretzel. But one of their best attractions is the free hot dog bar every Sunday. That’s right -- FREE.
But, if you’ll pardon the expression, Shroyer Inn’s bread and butter is its reputation for cheap beers.
“I’ve got $2 22-ounce drafts. That’s what brings them in,” Elder said.
You might think this is a bad business model, but Elder -- who used tend bar, but now leaves it up to his employees -- says the bar has shown an increased profit every year since he took over.
“I did my time in the first 10 years. I was here 24-7. Then I got it running efficiently. (I have) good employees. It’s been great.”
Shroyer Inn has a built-in crowd of regulars who are always friendly to newcomers. It’s a nice mix of age groups from the twenty-somethings on up. Elder said he worked hard to clear out any problem regulars when he took over and has seen few issues since.
As previously mentioned, the lighting is dimmed, but not to the point where you can’t see what’s going on. It’s more comforting than anything else.
When Ohio’s smoking ban went into effect, Elder had a patio built behind the building to accommodate smokers or people who just want to enjoy a drink outside.
“The beers are super cheap, like stupid cheap!” one recent Yelp review reads. That’s not a lie and might explain why Shroyer Inn manages to maintain a younger crowd despite the lack of trivia or karaoke.
Next to the cheap beer, this is probably the establishment’s greatest asset. The bartenders treat rookies like regulars and the regulars like royalty. The staff clearly enjoys working for Elder since all of them have been at the Shroyer Inn 10 years or more.
“I love the Shroyer Inn. The bartenders there are like family,” regular patron Patrick Berry said. “I know Butch doesn't care for the term 'dive bar', but I love dive bars and the Shroyer has been my favorite for years.”
Whether the Shroyer Inn gets to expand or not, Elder says he has no intention of selling the business anytime soon.
“I’ve got to be here a little while yet. At least I want to be,” he said.
Despite its small size, this bar is made mighty with its impeccable staff and cheap prices. It’s perfect for getting out of the house for a couple hours for a game of pool and a couple drinks. The place does get packed out on most Friday and Saturday nights, so you may want to get there earlier on those nights.
Overall, it’s easy to see why so many people call the Shroyer Inn the best bar of its kind in Dayton.
Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— MacKenzie Manley has no problem with hip, modern bars, but that’s not her speed.
“They’re all bright and shiny and new school,” she said. “I wanted the bar you can’t find anywhere.”
In Mack’s Tavern, Manley says she has built a place where a person can pony up to the bar, order a drink and make new friends.
“Everybody calls it home,” Manley said of the pub at 381 Miamisburg Centerville Road in Washington Twp., Montgomery County. “It’s been a hell of a ride. I love it.”
Described as a “a laid-back neighborhood bar with amazingly good food,” Mack’s recently celebrated its third anniversary.
The adoration for Manley and Mack’s shined through in the results of Dayton.com’s Best of Dayton contest.
The 5,000-square-foot tavern known for its pizzas, in-house ginger beer and award-winning Bloody Marys grabbed five first place awards in the Dayton.com Best of Dayton contest: Best Bar Bathroom, Best Bartender (Holly Henry), Best Dive Bar, Best Karaoke and Best Trivia.
The bar that gets it name from Manley’s nickname, “Mack,” scored second place in Best Place to Play Pool and Best Place to Watch the Game.
Manley said she was particularly proud of victories in the sought-after Best Dive Bar and Best Bar Bathroom.
Mack’s bathroom is an oasis of femininity with its pink paint, bedazzled soap and towel dispensers and butterfly ceiling.
“Glitter makes everything better,” Manley said.
Manley’s decorations haven’t survived as well in the Second Amendment-themed men’s room, but that clearly doesn’t bother Mack’s regular Johnny Sullivan, who uses a wheelchair.
He said Manley went the extra mile to make the bar and its bathroom “Johnny-friendly.”
“It is a good place to hang out and have fun, play darts and pool,” Sullivan said of Macks.
“Dive bar” doesn’t exactly describe Mack’s entirely, and it is clear that Manley and her staff put blood, sweat and tears into transforming the space that previously held L2 Marketing Research into a bar with such a loyal following.
Mack’s is larger than it looks on the outside. There is a wall of TVs above the bar, a three-table pool room, foosball, about four dart boards and a front patio. The wall is filled with vintage bar signs.
Manley wants to add a back patio as well.
Some of the bar’s decorations are from Newtown Party Center, the carryout once owned by Manley’s parents, Bill and Kaye Manley, at Little Richmond and Union roads in Trotwood.
Among the treasures is a can’t miss 7-Up sign. Her grandmother’s old dresser now serves as a popcorn machine table.
Speaking of food, Mack’s menu is far from typical bar food.
The menu includes Chewie Boar Bombs (pork short rib lollipops), a Mack and Cheese Pita Pizza, the Cheesy Roethlis Burger Pizza, Bianco Pizza, Smurf-tastic Shrooms and Not Your Grandma’s Bread (toasted buttery naan bread smothered in special cheese, spice and sour cream).
Paul Erickson, a Mack’s regular and once-a-week cook, said the bar has great atmosphere, bartenders and regulars.
Manley pointed out that bartender Andrea Russ, for instance, went above and beyond to help her stain Mack’s wood.
“It is just a good neighborhood bar like Cheers,” Erickson said.
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Why celebrate your birthday one day when there seven days in a week?
Mack’s Tavern, one of the biggest winners in Dayton.com’s 2017 Best of Dayton poll, celebrated its third birthday on Tuesday -- but it’s partying all week long.
>> PHOTOS: Dayton.com’s 2017 ‘Best of Dayton’ party
The bar, located at 381 Miamisburg Centerville Road in Centerville, is posting specials to its Facebook page all week long to keep the fun going.
SPECIALS TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
Thursday, Feb. 8: $2.50 Miller Light and Bud Light pounders (16 ounce aluminum bottles); $3 cherry and grape bombs; $7 one-topping medium pizzas.
Friday, Feb. 9: 99-cent domestic beers; $7 one-topping medium pizzas; $10 large one-topping pizza; $3 lemon drops and carmel apple shots.
Saturday, Feb. 10: $3.50 domestic pitchers; $7 one-topping medium pizzas; $10 large one-topping pizza; $3 cherry and grape bombs and Fire Bomb shots.
When we say Mack’s Tavern won big in Best of Dayton, we are not kidding.
Owned by MacKenzie Manley, the pub describes itself as “a laid back neighborhood bar with amazingly good food.”
Manley said she is thrilled by the bar’s success. The bar strives to make each customer feels welcome.
“Come as a stranger, leave as a friend. It is that down home, old-school feel you can’t find anywhere,” she said. “It’s been an amazing ride. It really has been.”
It was voted Best of Dayton in the following categories:
First place: Best Bar Bathroom
First place: Best Bartender (Holly Henry)
First place: Best Dive Bar
First place: Best Karaoke
First place: Best Trivia
Second Place: Best Place to Play Pool
Second Place: Best Place to Watch the Game
Want more? Find out about other Best of Dayton winners here:
Want to go?
WHAT: Mack’s Tavern
WHERE: 381 Miamisburg Centerville Rd., Washington Twp.
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— If you’re obsessed with pinball, here’s something to keep you busy this winter.
Canal Pinball League kicks off on Monday, Feb. 12 at Canal Street Arcade and Deli, 308 E. 1st St., Dayton.
The Co-ed Winter Pinball League is, quite simply, “for those who enjoy pinball.” You can join individually -- no teammates required.
The league will meet on the following dates: Feb. 12, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 19.
The fee is $30, and includes quarters, a t-shirt, weekly prizes, overall league winner prizes and admin fees.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— The contents inside an iconic Dayton business are being auctioned off.
Gilly’s Jazz, the iconic club at 132 S. Jefferson St. in downtown Dayton., closed at the end of 2017 following the Thanksgiving Day death of its legendary founder, Gerald “Jerry” Gillotti.
A city worker on Monday was seen changing the locks of the space that housed the club since July 7, 1972.
Cincinnati-based Worley Auctioneers is handing the now open online-only auction.
A preview will be held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Wednesday, Jan. 24.
The auction will close at 4 p.m. that day.
Items must be removed between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25
Items up for grabs include a 1965 Fender Guitar amp and mid-century bar stools.
“We love auctioning landmarks, and this is a neat one,” William Hesch, the auction’s manager, told this news organization.
Hesch said he does not know what the fate will be for Gilly’s iconic front marquee or oversized sign.
>> RELATED: 45 years of Gilly’s
For more information, Hesch can be contacted at 513-444-6329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bids for more than 139 items — signs; barware; brass rails and partitions; bar equipment; sound and lighting equipment; tables and chairs and art — are being accepted online at Worleyauctioneers.com.
The items are being auctioned on behalf of the Gillotti family.
The family decided to close the club following Jerry Gillotti’s death at age 80 after a long illness.
>> PHOTOS: Jerry Gillotti through the years
The club had leased the space on a month-by-month bases for about a year.
A jazz fanatic, Gillotti established a name for his beloved club in the music industry.
Performers booked at Gilly’s through the years include a host of local groups and a laundry list of national acts that include Tony Bennett, Diane Schuur, BB King, Wynton Marsalis, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Count Basie and Bobby Blue Bland.
Gillotti was laid to rest Dec. 1 after a Mass of Christian burial at St. Joseph Catholic Church.