Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A Hazy Rabbit and the Bars on North Main Street

I had to build another camera to try out some of the pre-made internal parts that are being made with a laser cutter for the workshops that may occur this summer. It turns out I have a little more experimenting to do. Everything fit great, but the laser power for scoring the fold lines needs to be reduced and the internal assembly could use a little thicker cardstock. Of course, more cardstock, tape and glue allowed me to finish a solid and reliable camera.

The objective in building this camera was not about reducing the time to completion or anything else about the process. I took my time and made a fully tricked-out camera with graphics matching on the shutters and body on both sides, a full set of viewfinders, an axial and rising pinhole with a double shutter, and a spacing layer under the middle of the WinderMinder so it doesn't pinch the winder collars. It took me all day. I bought this carton of Lakefront Brewery's Hazy Rabbit IPA because the rabbit was funny and it would be fun to make a camera featuring it. I shouldn't have been surprised that the beer turned out to be a lot hoppier than I hoped.

I had the hare-brained idea that the bars on North Main Street would be an appropriate subject for this camera. The wide angle 30mm would get most of the facade of a two story building in with the tripod still on the sidewalk. All the restaurants on North Main serve some kind of alcohol, and most of the bars serve food. The dividing line between a restaurant and a bar is a little indeterminant, so this is a slightly selective survey. I think I got every establishment that primarily identifies itself as a pub, tavern, bar, or "a drinking place."

Beginning at the intersection of Irving and Main. Alone on the northwest corner is Mabel Murphy's, a historic college bar (since 1974) which has just recently been rebuilt after burning down. I've photographed it from the back before. The sign is the only thing that survived the fire.

Across Irving is the Calhoun Beach Club. It's been a bar since the 30s and has had this name since 1984. There's no Calhoun Beach anywhere near Oshkosh.

Twisted Roots is in the adjacent building to the South.

Terry's Bar is across Main on the Southeast corner. During all this, across the street was a crazy panhandler with a hand lettered card board sign with rather crude language to the effect he was saving to procure the services of a prostitute. He continually shouted this phrase as the cars passed by and seemed to be enjoying how much he was offending everyone. I wasn't about to allow him to intimidate me into stopping what I was doing, but his presence and noise were unnerving. I forgot to advance the film after photographing Terry's which I remembered just after opening the shutter for the next picture. Not soon enough to prevent a double image.

Christine's Bar next door, without so much Terry's in it.

Crossing Main Street again and a few doors south, The Barley and Hops Pub.

Moving down to the 500 block. The neoclassical Wenrich Granite Company is now occupied by Fletch's.

Peabody's is two doors and parking lots down. As I was setting this up, a young man in a cook's hat and apron came swiftly walking by, told me I had nice camera as he passed and kept on truckin.'

The thrice identified Distillery Pub is across Main near the intersection with Church Street.

At 430 Main is the unimaginitively named Bar 430. In nice weather the whole front opens up with seating on the sidewalk. We had lunch there once right after it opened.

Next door is Oblio's, a favorite of the university faculty, the only one of these places I've ever been in to get a drink.

Then I ran out of film. As it happened, U-Club, an informal group that meets monthly, was gathering the next day at Oblio's. I thought it would be cool to take the picture at the top of this post against a background of taps and bottles, so I took the camera along. As long as I had it with me, I might as well load it again with film. We meet in the back where they have an open patio. Kathy, the president, was greeting members near the patio opening and graciously tried to sit still for a minute, except for twiddling her thumbs.

The inverse square law made exposures much longer even a little way into the room. Nobody was willing to go out on the patio where exposures would be seconds. I set the camera at the end of the back bar and went to the front to get a beer.

Oblio's building was the last structure to be rebuilt after the 1875 fire that completely leveled downtown Oshkosh. Built in 1884, it has held a tavern of one sort or another since, except for a few years during prohibition and the pandemic, although it operated as an illegal speakeasy for some of that. During the first half-century or so, the building was owned by the president of Schlitz Brewing and this room was the Schlitz Beer Hall 

When this group gathered at a table nearer the patio, I opened the shutter without asking. Nobody said anything, but I think they were posing,

Another participant in the conversation.

I had just enough film to complete my saloon survey. A few days later, I decided to start at the southernmost bar this side of the river and work my way back north. As I passed Opera Square, the crazy panhandler was there putting on the same act! I looked at him menacingly as I rode past and when I stopped half way down the block, I swung my large, heavy tripod around as much as possible setting it up to discourage him from messing with me.

Screwballs Sports Bar is about the plainest facade of any of them and built on about the steepest slope in town,

The Ruby Owl Tap Room identifies itself as a GastroPub. We stopped for lunch once when it opened and had the worst appetizer I've ever had in my life. It's no longer on their menu.

When Gardina's opened they styled it as a wine bar, but now its described as a Kitchen-Bar-Market. The market part is probably the most curated selection of wine and craft whiskeys in town, and a few artisan cheeses.

The Varsity is right next to Fletch's and owned and operated by the same people with an interior passageway between the two.

And finally, Terry's by itself without Christine's on top of it.

The Hazy Rabbit has hand-drilled .23 pinholes 30mm from a 6x6cm frame. The first roll is 100. The second is FP4+.  Both semi-stand developed in Rodinal 1:100.

1 comment:

  1. I like the pictures (I'm definitely still partial to black and white).