Monday, May 24, 2010

The B & B Tap: It Was That Kind of Place

One of the lead stories in yesterday’s Oshkosh Northwestern was about O'Brian's, the tavern at 686 N. Main that last year won the subtitle “Oshkosh’s most troubled bar.” Apparently, O'Brian's has begun cleaning up their act, but if you look at the comments section for the web edition of the story, you’ll see that there are still a number of Northwestern readers who’d like to see the place shuttered. The comment that caught my eye was this one: “Ever since the B&B went under, the place has changed hands pretty regularly and each one was as bad as the last.” Oh yes, the beloved B & B Tap. Let’s take a look back and see just what kind of place it was.


The B & B Tap operated from 1963 until 1999, but the advertisement above captures the spirit of the bar during its heyday. This is from April 15, 1976 as it appeared in the UWO student paper, the Oshkosh Advance-Titan. The central image is a good representation of what the bar was all about at that time. According to Jim Grill, who frequented the bar during this period, The B & B Tap was a “No frills scruffy kind of bar. The musicians and hipsters and cab drivers all hung out there. It was that kind of place.” Jim says that “In those days there were two places you went, either the college strip or downtown where the music was more hip.” He says the B & B “was known for it’s cheap beer, loud music, steamed wieners and pickled turkey gizzards. It was a Rock & Roll bar. A peanuts on the floor sort of place.” 

After the B & B went out in 1999 it was replaced by Slammers, which begat the Frat House, which begat O'Brian's. Sadly, the days of steamed wieners and pickled turkey gizzards are no more.

Thanks to fellow Oshkosh Blogger Jim Grill for digging up the 1976 B & B ad. Jim operates the excellent blog OKJIMM'S EGGROLL EMPORIUM. It, too, is “that kind of place.”

16 comments:

  1. a) Thanks for the plug
    b) your blog is some one the best 'local' blogs I have ever stumbled upon.

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  2. A couple days after putting up the post about the B & B I received an email from my brother, Mike. He did some time in Oshkosh during the ripe years of the B & B and here’s his remembrance of the place: “I remember going to the B&B. In fact, I recall seeing a pretty popular band there at the time called "Mason Profit". Two Hangman was one of their hits. It definitely was a place for cheap beer and had this old tavern feel. Of course on the weekends it was just wall to wall people as were most of the bars that catered to that crowd. We would stagger from one place to the other. Good times ..... what I remember of them.”
    Thanks, Mike! Our mother must be so proud of us!

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  3. I remember Mason Profit..... they were a really kick ass band!

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    1. The lead singer John Michael Talbot left Mason Profit, became a Franciscan monk, founded a religious community in Arkansas and is one of the most popular and productive composers of contemporary Christian music today.

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  4. For you that don't know, Wally who owned the B's now owns Robbins Restaurant. Some of the oldtimers still hang out there. Go say '' hi ,and you miss the B's and have some good food.

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  5. What ever happened to the two funky paintings that adorned the front of the Bar before the old B's became the new B's around 1992? They are collectors items.

    I liked the old B's, had a certain 'Jene se quois' quality. Like an old flight jacket or faded levis.

    Jesse

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  6. Loved the B & B. Cheap beer, good friends,... Wally was the best. Still is. Wally is a VietVet, so were lots of the regulars. Our clubhouse.

    Just a real good time; with real good people. All different kinds of real good people. Even the bums were good people. And the girls .... Aaaaah, the girls.

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  7. Dime taps working the graveyard shift at SNC.Ah that was the life.

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  8. Two other good bars back in the day were The Deck on Ceape and Friar Tucks on Parkway. Who can forget Sawdust Daze in '72. Foghat! What a party!

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    1. Old stomping ground...The Deck in the early 70's. Memorable times.

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  9. I got hired for my first job out of college at "the B's". I went to Dallas to build a TV station with UW-O professor John Bredesen, head of engineering for the Radio-TV-Film program. A beer and a burger and "let's go to Dallas". I started south a month later with a map of the US and a compass. That career would eventually land me in Hollywood for another great ride. Great fun, and all thanks to the B's. Thanks for all the great memories! Curt Drumm UW-O class of 1980.

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  10. The B&B was a great after class bar, and very popular in 1964 - 67. Most of the "in crowd" would be there in the afternoon, and it wouldn't be uncool to spend the night there, closing it up. I can't remember any of the bartenders' names offhand, but they were good dudes, and would stand you for a free beer once in a while.

    It was a "peanuts on the floor" kind of place, unpretentious, but loads of fun. It was most always crowded.

    A laundromat was next door, adding to its attraction, since you could have fun while you did your clothes.

    I can't remember any fights there at all, even in those days. The principal friction on those days was townies vs college kids, but that only came out in a few bars in town, especially those that changed clientele at the choice of the owner.

    Bill W.

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  13. Our band, Magician, loved playing there in the mid 80's. It was always a blast. Had some great times there personally as well!

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  14. Loved the B's - bands, beer, and great people. Wally was a great owner and Chris and Denny were great bartenders who taught me how to be a good bartender in 88 and 89!!! Still Love it to this day!! CS

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