Thanksgiving eve is one of the most popular nights at the bar. People belly up to the bar requesting their favorite draft or cocktail catching up on all the latest gossip. The confident bar-goers may indulge in an ill fated karaoke attempt. No matter if you are a social butterfly or a wallflower the bar is an entertaining venue for your pre-thanksgiving plans.
That notion in mind, I chose to feature Fort Thomas’ very own Olde Fort Pub in a special Thanksgiving eve “6 Things to Know” feature. On a night dedicated to the bar scene, FTM had to incorporate that idea into this article, exposing some lesser known facts about your favorite watering hole on South Fort Thomas Avenue! I contacted Mike Arnzen who provided these great facts:
- My father, Robert Arnzen, and Michael (‘Mickey’) Foellger opened the Olde Fort Pub In January of 1977. Draft beers used to be 25 cents at Happy Hour. Before that it was called ‘Hank’s Cafe’ and way back when it was a Kroger grocery store.
- We really are a family and friends run business. Fort Thomas is a great place to grow up and run a small business, but we owe a lot of our success to the city itself, and the wonderful people who make up the community. The Pub is a joint effort between my family, Bob and Joanne, Nate, Michael, Annie, Richard Shoemaker and Megan and Ed Krieg. We all grew up in Fort Thomas and live in Fort Thomas. Outside of our immediate family we’ve had a ton of great help over the years from Steve, Kate, Wes, Keegan and Cameron Kruse; Beth, Mike, Michaele and Stephanie Blackburn; Tony, Debbie, Marty and Lindsey Arnzen (who owns and operates the Four Seasons Driving Range on Kellogg Avenue); Barby and Jay Fossett (our new city councilman) and family; Gary and Jenny Arnzen, Tom and Laura Arnzen.
- Thanksgiving Eve is one of our biggest nights of the year. We enjoy it so much because we get to catch up with our old friends who are back in town for the Holidays. It’s so much fun seeing all the different ages and faces coming together for a fun, safe night while supporting a small, local business. Our other big nights are the July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest, Merchant's and Music Festival Night, our annual Chili Cook-off in February, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas night, and New Years Eve.
- While Thanksgiving Eve is a big night for the Pub, we also do a lot of fun stuff on the other days of the week and throughout the year. Mike Arnzen puts on Trivia on Wednesday evenings at 9pm (the winner gets a gift card) and Karaoke on Thursday at 10pm each week. On Friday and Saturday we usually have live music or a DJ. We also have tons of HD TVs and there is usually a sporting event on to watch with your friends. We are also lucky to have great local bands like ‘The Sleepin’ Dogs’ who play Dec. 8. They opened for Travis Tritt at the Alexandria Fair. We just had a couple young guys play. The Carter New Band. Jeff and Mike, the Stonehaus Trail, Truckstop Darlin’ with Fort Thomas native Nick Foltz. You can always find out what’s happening if you follow us on Twitter @oldefortpub and on Facebook as ‘Thomas Pub’.
- So many people make the Pub and this city great. First off the good work Mark, Steph, Jessica, Ben and Darrin do at fortthomasmatters.com, our helpers: Whitney Poynter, Rachel Wallingford, Hawkeye, Danielle, Chris and Gayle, Trish Herring, “DJ Fierce” Chris Farris, The Renaissance Committee and the City Council, the karaoke crew on Thursday, Jim Lampe for helping me come up with trivia questions each week. And everyone else. The Pub is great because of all the good people who come here to spend time together.
- One last important aspect of The Olde Fort Pub is how they help others. For instance, on December first there is a benefit for Dan Walsh, a local teacher. Throughout the year if the bar can raise money for a certain cause they are the first ones to open their doors to help out the community.
The Olde Fort Pub has acted as the central meeting place on the night before Thanksgiving for years. It could be considered a Fort Thomas tradition that is unknowingly passed along from one generation to the next. I have experienced the amazing night myself many times; my recollection of those nights is less than crystal clear, but I guess that just means you are doing it right. Right?
The Olde Fort Pub is an amazing place that Fort Thomas is fortunate to claim. Their drinks are cold, the staff is amazing, and the memories (however blurry) are uniquely special.