I went to Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania in the 60’s. “Jack’s” was a small bar about 10 miles outside of Easton, a small oasis for underage college kids in a desert of farmland and old country roads. Jack was 80 years old; his wife Glad was the same. Jack liked college kids. I guess they made him feel young. We loved "Jack’s". Jack did not ask for ID, fake or otherwise. He did not care, he was 80. What would authorities do, take away his license? I’m not sure he even had a liquor license. Would anyone put an 80 year old in jail for serving underage kids?
"Jack’s" was not easy to find. It seemed only college students knew where to find it. It did not have neon lights to make it stand out, locals did not frequent the bar; I never saw anyone in "Jack’s" that was not an underage college student.
The beer at “Jack’s” was a dime for a six ounce glass; hard booze was…I don’t know, no one ever ordered hard liquor. The juke box played anything from Al Jolson to sixties rock for a nickel a song. Food consisted of a “Glad burger” which was a giant cheese burger, potato chips, hard boiled eggs, and tiny steamed clams from the Delaware River. I doubt if the food was very good, but somehow in the atmosphere of “Jack’s” I have never had better burgers, chips, eggs or steamed clams.
Entertainment at “Jack’s” was the guy on the stool next to you, or Jack himself. There was nothing but good conversation without the distraction of women (patrons of “Jack’s” were all from Lafayette, an all male school). Jack had one good story after another and we never tired of hearing them.
The highlight of any trip to “Jack’s” was Jack’s recital of “The Face on the Bar Room Floor”. It would take several shots and a little encouragement to get Jack to perform but perform he did with gestures, expressions and voice inflections practiced and perfected over God only knows how many years. No one could recite like Jack:
Here is the poem in its entirety; read at least the last eight lines for "flavor"
The end of the performance marked the closing of Jack's bar. One more round of “Dimeys” and it was back to campus. We survived the drunken trip home only because the country roads at 1AM were empty.
Jack was an old man. He was probably a drunk. He had no scruples with regard to Pennsylvania liquor laws.
We received an education on life at “Jack’s” that was not offered at any college.