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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Another one bites the duts


 A venerable Fort Wayne restaurant — the Acme Bar — is closing.

The gathering spot “Where Neighbors Meet” since 1941 — that slogan is painted on the wall — will close its doors for the last time Saturday night. The adjacent package store will close, too.

The Acme has one of the most extensive bar menus around and is justifiably famous for its breaded tenderloins. Institutions come and go, I know, but the departures are starting to pile up.


Bob G.
Sat, 01/31/2009 - 11:59am

Sure glad that SMOKING law isn't to BLAMNE for this closing...and the closing of KEY LANES Bowling.

Neighborhood bars, taverns, taprooms...call 'em what you want, were largely part of the reason neighborhoods WERE so close-knit.
Ad a LONG tiome ago, they even had a LADIES ENTRANCE (along the side) because seeing a lady enter by the FRONT door wasn't deemed "proper".

I remember learning to play darts (REAL men's darts-the metal pointy kind) and tabletop shuffleboard (with weighted metal "pucks") when I was barely in elementary school.
Not to mention all the FREE sodas I got from Dad's friends (when they hoisted me onto one of those lofty barstools)...LOL!
Good, inexpensive food, Friday night fights on the TV, neighborhood camaraderie...what more could you ask for?
All within walking distrance from the homestead.

I USED to be really great to grow up...

Andrew Jarosh
Sat, 01/31/2009 - 5:39pm

You can blame it on smoking ban or a sign of the times, replete with Applebee's as the favorite neighborhood watering holes. But the answer might be found in the picture of Frank Sidwell, a 35-year regular at the Acme Bar, who sat Friday at the Acme sipping a Busch beer. That's the problem; places like the Acme that catered to clientele drinking cheap, $2 beer is an anachronism. And one reason why places like the Acme go belly up, catering solely to older, World War II-era clientele.

tim zank
Sat, 01/31/2009 - 7:24pm

AJ sez..."And one reason why places like the Acme go belly up, catering solely to older, World War II-era clientele."

That is probably one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

Sat, 01/31/2009 - 7:46pm

Not dumb at all.

From reading the article, it appears that the Acme chose to cling to its old ways, didn't do much in the way of innovation and didn't try too hard to reach out to new and younger customers. How is a business supposed to stay alive counting solely on its regular, aging customers? I imagine that veterans' clubs in many places are suffering the same fate.

tim zank
Sat, 01/31/2009 - 8:55pm

Let me explain a few basics. There is very little margin in food. There is a reasonable margin in booze & beer, but not if you only sell one here, or one there. That "clientele" you speak so glowingly of (sarc) has a preponderence of smokers. The money in the neighborhood tavern biz is getting the guys to STAY and sit down, smoke a pack of cigarettes, shoot the sh&%, drink 6 or so beers and shots, play a little cards, watch a game, bet on a game, etc. If they can't smoke they leave after one, and with it your profit. Ask any bartender, it's always nice to see the guy that stops for one or two, but he's not a profit source by any stretch, the money is in the guys that stay and pay.

I've pointed out time and again, a smoking ban doesn't effect an Applebee's, or a Ruby's, there primed to turn tables, people don't want to hang out in there...

What most nannies don't understand is, even though smokers represent only 20% of the overall population, in the population of an Acme, State Bar & Grill, Fosters, Shady Nook, and dozens of other REAL neighborhood taverns, that 20% of the population represents 90% of the clientele, and the other 10% don't care if the others smoke.

Nobody in those bars ever complained about the smoke, they weren't bothering anybody, and nobody was ever forced to hang out in any of them. A wonderful slice of Americana is being snuffed out for absolutely no good reason other than to appease politically correct pansies who's arses would be duly kicked if they TRIED to hang out in a real bar.

Bob G.
Sun, 02/01/2009 - 6:24pm

You covered all the bases NICELY...
(from one baby-boomer to another)...THANKS!

You know what a "TAPROOM" is, was, and should be.
Indeed, a sizeable slice of Americana...disappearing all too soon.

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 8:41pm

So the neighborhood tavern biz is this?: "drink 6 or so beers and shots, play a little cards, watch a game, bet on a game, etc." Geez, for the civic-minded, you'd hope the 21st century isn't the time to extol the virtues of six beers and six shots, illegal gambling and then hop in the car and plow into an innocent driver on the way home. Not a way a progressive commercial district wants to thrive.
There isn't margin in food, but there is moreso when you feed your customers a modern, varied, menu, who are then willing to buy the $8 margarita, the $9 glass of merlot, the high end libations a place like the Acme doesn't sell. You can tell they don't; bars like that have a bottle of Gran Marnier, for example, sitting on the shelf for years and if you are a frequent visitor, the line of liquor inside it inches oh so slowly, maybe opened once on New Years Eve.

tim zank
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 9:44pm

Andrew, you may find this hard to believe, but there are other people in the world besides you. Some of them have different likes and dislikes. Some of us would prefer a shot and a beer while watching a Football game as opposed to say, a $9 glass of warm Merlot, munching on lowfat bri' while watching The View.


And I was not advocating driving under the influence.

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 9:55pm

But you were extolling six beers and shots. wonder what the breathalyzer would be for that neighborhood tavern hospitality?

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:09pm

And it's not the likes and dislikes of beers and shots, or merlot and bri, or football or the The View. The Acme clung to an outdated, unprofitable business model, relying on the old white guys to stop by their version of Cheers to drink a cheap beer and cheap shot and stink up the place with cigarettes. You can't sustain a profitabl business in the hospitality industry with a demographic and business plan like that, plain and simple. That's why it's gone the way, like they say, of the Dodo bird.

tim zank
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:43pm

What are you the frickin' greeter at Applebees?

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:47pm

No, I'm a George Thorogood fan. "I drink alone, with nobody else."

tim zank
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:59pm


Thu, 02/05/2009 - 8:47pm

You know what? The ACME stood for more than just dollars & cents. It was just a cool place to be on a Friday or Saturday night and you could even take your family. I think perhaps there are just too many choices and most that have moved to suburbia just forget that it was there. There's a friggin Applebees on every corner with marketing machines to back them up. A real Fort Wayne icon lost.......what a bummer.