The oldest bar in the city, a two-story dive, is still standing, surviving 10 decades of change, rambunctious turns as a prohibition speakeasy, a gambling hall, jazz club and a burlesque.
But in its most enduring chapter, Tobacco Road is a remarkably ordinary, beloved neighborhood spot good for a drink, a meal, conversation and live music, blues and other stuff too.
A century’s worth of history calls for an outsized 100th birthday celebration — a two-day fete this weekend that was scheduled to end before sunrise Sunday morning. The bar hosted a string of Tobacco Road disciples, old bartenders and cooks, music lovers, neighbors, and the people who kept the seats warm over the ages. The birthday bash included drinks, food trucks and, of course, live music from Heavy Pets, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Iko-Iko, Spam Allstars, DJ LA Spam, Locos Por Juana, Artofficial and DJ Smooth, among others.
Tobacco Road and neighboring properties were sold to a developer, and as part of the deal, the bar was granted a three-year lease. After that, the future is uncertain.
So what is this dear centenarian’s secret to longevity, health and a steady stream of customers?