Monday, March 16, 2009


Two generations of Vero Beach High School alumni on the same page! So to speak...

Max Newport

Tonight we’re gonna party like its 1975. Max is about to take you back and share the Vero bar scene back when rock was rock and roll was roll. Disco made an unwelcome entrance later and really stunk up the joint but hard rock was prime in most of the Vero night spots. We loved the night life. We loved to boogie just like young Miss Viv likes to do here in the then unforeseen 2000’s.

Here’s a special tip for Miss Viv. If you want to turn some heads and grab the attention of the appropriate young gentleman the next time you stroll our lovely beaches of Vero, I suggest you visit this website and break out the numbered plastic. You’ll be glad you did.
Two words. Hubba and hubba.

During the summer of 1975 there was a harmonic convergence of sorts. Most of the merry crew that raised so much mayhem in the halls of Vero Beach High School returned to our little town sporting fresh new college diplomas and menial jobs to save money for eventual graduate schools. Some of us ended up as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, etc. and one became a transgendered person (I wrote about Virginia a couple of weeks ago). While we had been away in college, the drinking age had been lowered to eighteen. Many of the hot looking girls from high school had already been married (and divorced) so there was a whole new group of available young ladies out there for us fresh college grads. And where were these girls hanging out just waiting to have an intellectual discussion with a recent college grad? The bars. That’s where. So in the true spirit of Miss Viv, here is a rundown of the night spots, in no particular order, in Vero during those two magical years where higher education was not a priority.

RICK’S DUGOUT: This was a popular club located at the present site of Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty. They always had a live band, usually from out of town, playing a variety of music. One week it would be top 40, the next hard rock. They had drunken barbeques on Sunday afternoon, usually with acoustic music. My girlfriend and I went in there one night, and after shaking a few hands I left with a job with the Florida Legislature, that is a story for another day.

MR. B’S: This is now Old South Auto Sales. It was a great place for happy hour after work. There was one old guy (probably in his 40’s) who would come by every afternoon and ask the bartender to set up seven shots of tequila. He would down the shots, pay and then leave. He was there for less than five minutes. We all figured that he either had a rough day or was not looking forward to going home to the wife. On the weekends, there was a live band, usually the great three piece hard rocking Night Bird, all local guys. On week nights there would often be acoustic music.

THE HOOTIN’ OWL: Now the Long Branch. Never went there.

BIG DADDY’S: This was part of a chain of lounges throughout Florida. They had a disc jockey and 25 cent drink night on Thursday. This usually made Fridays a little rough. I don’t remember any live bands there. It wasn’t that great of a place. It closed and became the first site of Indian River National Bank.

LENNIE’S TWO: I don’t remember if that was the actual name of the bar but it was located on US1 and 17th Street where the Chevron convenience store is now. Never went to the original Lennie’s on 43rd and now that it has been demolished, I don’t guess I will. Lennie Sutton wanted to attract a younger dancing crowd and opened this place for awhile. They had a house band called George Fye and the Mystics. I think they were called the Mystics because there were different guys playing every time I saw them. This place didn’t last very long.

THE LAMP POST: This was located on south US1. There is a probably a car lot there now but I’m not sure. They had a very good band of Vero guys called Nexus. When Nexus was playing the place was hopping. When they weren’t playing, I don’t know since we never went.

THE PUB: This was a very popular night spot. It was a restaurant with great food and in a second room they had acoustic acts, mostly local. Carolina Slim, Tommy King, Jeff Maurer, Steve Short, Tom and Anna, Glen Muni (who sounded like Cat Stevens), Nancy Wagner are just a few of the names I remember as musicians. The Pub later turned into Club 41. I was driving through Royal Palm Pointe a few days ago and if the building is still there, it wasn’t recognizable. This was a great place.

THE PATIO: Yes, Viv, THE PATIO. There was a great local band, Aberdeen Rock Fish Railroad, who played there on weekends. They were the backup band for Gary Stewart, who was a country recording artist but was more of a rocker in real life. I haven’t been to the Patio since it reopened, but it is the only survivor of this group.

DOMINO’S: This club was named after its owner Dominic Mancini and at the time was pretty highfalutin for my tastes. They had a dress code, mostly polyester leisure suits, and a cover charge. They maintained the 21 age requirement for admission in spite of the change in the law. They usually had a band of sorts. Typically a three piece combo with a female singer and a name akin to something you would find in your spice cabinet. Around that time period Van Morrison had a song called “Domino”. I think the main requirement to get a gig at Domino’s was to have the ability to play that song at least twice an hour. This bar was located on Ocean Drive across from Sexton Plaza.

THE DRIFTWOOD: Long before it became Waldo’s, the Driftwood had a bar and a small dance floor with local groups like Streetlight, which featured the unforgettable one-of-a-kind musician Howie Golub. If you heard this band, you would never forget it.

THE TAHITIAN: This place was a tradition. A true dive right on Ocean Drive. I don’t recall any live entertainment there other than the patrons. I guess the rent got too high or something and they moved it to 17th Street just east of the tracks. It just didn’t work without the beach location. It became the Pour House which ultimately became Filthy McNasty’s.

The place that turned into MARVIN GARDENS, so named because it was across the street from the city water works, was a country and western bar during the time period I am talking about. My crew never went there, not because of a dislike of the music or the people. Couldn’t afford the right kind of hat. I don’t remember when it became Marvin Gardens. I was off getting higher educated somewhere.

Those are my precious memories of Vero’s night scene during the couple of years spent here during the 1970’s. After all of the schoolin’ and testin’, marryin’ and kiddin’, the night life has passed me by. Now we settle for an Eagles DVD (in DTS 6.1 surround sound of course) and a cold glass of Cherry Diet Coke. Life in the fast lane.

Those are just some of the Vero night spots that were hopping long before young Miss Viv was born. If I have left any out, let me know.

And Viv? I’ll be looking for you at the beach.


If Lost please return to: Miss Vero’s Beach House…

My sincerest apologies for my absence on Friday. Between the full moon on Wednesday and Friday the 13th, I’ve just been mixed up, so mixed up in fact when I went on my rampage through Vero I was raping horses and pillaging the men! So confusing when your therapist prescribes the wrong mild altering meds. Do you ever have those mornings when you wake up at 6 am wondering where you are, fully clothed, wondering why there’s an admission ticket into long branch glued to your hair, smelling like a bordello, with feet as filthy as the floors of Winn-Dixie? Well it happens to the best of us I suppose.

Some nights are tougher than others as Miss Vero is well aware of. I’m glad you are so accepting of my late posts or non existing posts for that matter. It’s a full time job socializing and rubbing elbows with commoners. Carrying on and cavorting’ is CLEARLY an understatement Miss V. This job is not for the faint hearted that’s why you have to have outstanding genes to be able to live the lifestyle I do. Of course, that lifestyle will send me packing to Betty Ford in less than a year and make me age as quickly as a methadone addict. Risks I’m willing to take.

Speaking of risks, I’m going to have to say I thoroughly enjoyed our "Live Chat” and I suggest we do it again, except with a little more enthusiasm and earlier in the night for the ones that hit that sack around 10:30 pm last time.

Max, I’d like you to just go ahead and return to your temptation of nicotine - at least to keep you around the computer a little longer and to have the full effect of the buzz, your dip of choice, produces. And Jethro, I suggest you go ahead and just start smoking inside also. These are things we have to take for the team… you only live once - Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. I’m going to get a drink or 5.

See ya Friday (seriously this time).
Love and Hugs,


Viv said...

Those bathing suits are aboslutely heinous, Max.

Max Newport said...

Viv, you cannot honestly say that those bathing suits are not attention grabbers. I've been off the round tin for two weeks now and the worst is hopefully behind me. It is too late for me to live fast and die young etc. I am more or less working on intact.

Glad you survived the weekend but it sounds like you had some close calls.

Max Newport said...

I remembered the name of the country bar that became Marvin Gardens while in the shower this morning. Funny how that stuff happens. It was called The Palms.

Now we can all sleep better tonight.

LDouglas said...

And people have the nerve to call Vero Beach, Zero Beach? Geez, where I became of age, we had two bars to choose from and more than likely your friends parents would be in them, playing their music.

Our "bars" were which hill, or lake or cornfield. Don't laugh at the cornfield. I never had as much fun drinking in a bar as I've had drinking in a cornfield playing war games (glorified hide and seek).

Miss Viv,
I didn't always hit the sack at 10:30. Some of us are just better at living and learning than others. ;-)
But I agree about life not being a journey to the grave in a well preserved body- in fact, I have that saying taped on my desk just as a reminder when the never ending paperwork gets the better of me. :-)

Viv said...

I'm getting a tad bit better about living and learning - it's an ongoing process though.
I have the entire quote taped to pinned into my bulletin board - I'd have to say it's probably my absolute favorite besides the obvious Dr. Seuss (you're as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel) very catchy

LDouglas said...

Lol. I have the entire quote too- sliding in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out & proclaiming, Wow, what a ride!

Here's to achieving it...

BlessUrHeart said...

Wasn't the Tahitian in what is now the Islander? People keep telling me it was at the Twig, but memory eludes. My era was more Marvin Gardens, although there are some in that group I've experienced.

Anyway, the Ocean Drive scene used to be quite varied, not all richy-rich Lilly P. stuff. Had character, like Key West. But many people with money prefer that bland "cityplace" look, faux Florida.

thx for the trip down memory lane, Max, blurred as it may be. Viv, honey, you sure like to appear as the next Amy Winehouse. Glad we don't "take you serious" - ly.

Sorry I missed the live blog -- have been recovering from some really, really nasty virus, barely vertical for awhile. Better now. Missed you all!

Viv said...

I do love to appear as the next Amy Winehouse - such witty banter flows out of me when i come across as the town bicycle... Luckily you'll never read of me "confirming" that statement merely writing about it.

John McCoy said...

I played at Rick's Dugout with a group called McCoy, Glenn and Frazier. A great place. Also played at Lenny's and the Sheraton Resort Inn.

John McCoy said...

Hi. Just ran across this place. Noticed you mentioned Rick's Dugout. I played there years ago with my group called McCoy, Glenn & Frazier. Also played at Lennie's, and the Sheraton Resort Inn. Loved Vero in those days. Had a lot of friends.