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Gate 2 Garage Classic Rock Bar: Quiet Drinks and Car Memorabilia

By: Stephen Carr

Date Posted: 2000-04-14

Do you ever find yourself sitting in a dark club, disco or bar with the music pounding, at such a decibel level that it’s necessary to shout, either to order a drink or to speak to your partner? If you go out in a group, the distance across the table is beyond yelling power. You could only signal to your friends by semaphore, which would look rather strange in a nightclub, so you give up talking to them, rather defeating the purpose of spending a social evening together. Eventually the effort of shouting into your loved one’s ear becomes too much too. So you relapse into a stunned silence, drinking and watching the flashing lights and cavorting couples on the dance floor. Every so often you do some cavorting yourself. At the end of such an evening the feeling is that it might have been better spent at home, curled up with a book.

If you sometimes feel like this but are still subject to the barhopping urge, then help is at hand. Gate 2 Garage Classic Rock, just by the intersection of Gate 2 Street and Route 330, next to Al’s Place, has opened. Here it is clean, bright and neat and the music is a mix of classic and contemporary rock, not so loud you can’t talk. About the noisiest numbers you are likely to hear would be tracks like Mott the Hoople’s ‘All the Young Dudes’ or Elton John’s ‘Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting.’

In this bar fighting is definitely not all right, although such activities are not unknown in the locality. Gate 2 Garage could provide a civilized haven from the noise and aggression of nearby establishments. The décor has a lot of light pinewood and the theme is cars. The owner, Harry Haney, in Okinawa six years, is retiring from the Air Force in May. He got the car theme idea when he went into a bar in Louisiana called The Filling Station.

The walls of Gate 2 Garage Classic Rock are covered in license plates from every US state and Harry is trying to get as many foreign ones as he can, to add to his collection. Last week a customer came in with some Thai ones. As yet there are no Japanese plates because they do not turn up in junkyards. They are taken away when cars are de-registered.

The bar is entered downstairs from the street. A road signs indicates No Left Turn and a big red, orange and green traffic light immediately establishes the theme. Once inside, the atmosphere is light and airy. Despite all the auto paraphernalia, there’s no hint of grease or dingy pit stops. Different sections and alcoves have various themes. One is dedicated to Nascars which resemble ordinary production models, though they are built to race at speeds up to 180 mph.

There is a European section with pictures and models of the famous and classy brands that came out of Great Britain and the Continent: Rolls Royce, Jaguar, MG, Lotus, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen.

Racing car inflatables, a chevy section, Route 66 signs, spanners lined along a beam, a shiny chrome muffler mounted on the wall: we are assuredly in a shrine to the internal combustion engine. There is a large format TV screen showing races, car movies. A Playstation allows customers to play at being racing drivers themselves.

The drinks menu is displayed on a car hood. There is large selection of cocktails, all priced at $3 and all beers are $5. “Gourmet hot dogs” are also served. Gate 2 Garage Classic Rock Bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10pm to 5am. On Saturdays ladies can have drinks free.

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