"The neighborhood is just awesome," says Amy Burgess, who's managed Don's Club Tavern
(aka Don's Mixed Drinks) for the past decade.
The longtime watering hole at 723 East Sixth Avenue was purchased by the Little Pub Company
in 2005, after founder Don Aymami passed away. The new owners gave the place a slight facelift in 2010
, but it remains a dive through and through — albeit one with pretty clean bathrooms.
On July 9, Don's will celebrate 75 years in business with a party that kicks off at noon and will keep rolling until 2 a.m., as the nights always do here: Don's is open until last call 365 days a year. "During the day, it's a lot of regulars. Then at night, it's party central," Burgess says, noting that the bar's late-night clientele has gotten younger in recent years.
But while the neighborhood demographic continues to change, the staff remains steady; one bartender has been there seventeen years. "We retain a lot of regulars because they know us. We don't have a rotating door of staff that don't care about the business. We're career bartenders," Burgess says.
It'll be all hands on deck for the July 9 celebration, which includes the chance to buy new merch designed specifically for the occasion (the first 100 people in the door get a free shirt), 75-cent Bud Lights for the first 75 minutes, a free pig roast, games like a Montucky bucket-holding contest and more.
Unofficial Don's mascot Jakimo oversees the back patio.
"For our seventieth, it was pretty much one in, one out all day," Burgess recalls, so expect a crowd if you're heading down to cheers Don's. If you do make it in the door, be sure to say hello to Jakimo, the name given (though no one is quite sure of its origin) to the now one-armed statue of a chef on the back patio. "About fifteen years ago, before Odyssey [the nearby Italian restaurant] opened, there was another Italian restaurant there," Burgess says. "They left him outside and we rolled him down," and he's been there ever since.
Another Don's staple: games, including pool ("If anyone's looking for a good pool game, you can always find players here," Burgess notes) and the vending machine, which is stocked with everything from corn nuts and koozies to Banquet turkey pot pies and KY lubricant.
Here's to another 75 years, Don's.