This past Friday a good friend of mine enjoyed (I hope) her umpteenth birthday (actual age redacted to protect
me the innocent). She decided to celebrate the occasion at Bobby Mackey’s Night Club.
For those of you not familiar, Bobby Mackey’s is a honky-tonk country club that features live music, line dancing, a mechanical bull, and is allegedly the most haunted night club in the country. Per Wikipedia:
According to urban legends and modern folklore, the location allegedly houses a “gateway to hell” and is haunted by spirits including Pearl Bryan, whose corpse was found in a field several miles from the site in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Unsubstantiated stories include Bryan’s murderers being Satanists who, according to fanciful tales, cursed the location and vowed to haunt everyone involved in prosecuting the case. Also according to urban legend, sometime in the 1930s a pregnant dancer named “Johanna” committed suicide by hanging in a dressing room at the Latin Quarter club, which then operated inside the building currently housing Bobby Mackey’s. Rumor has it that this deed was carried out after her father murdered her lover, a singer at the club, though investigations have failed to find police reports of this event ever having taken place. Furthermore, scholarly research into property music records, newspapers, and court files has failed to substantiate most of the fanciful claims made regarding the sanguine history of the location, and no connection between the site of Bobby Mackey’s and the Pearl Bryan murder has ever been established. Most who have studied the Bryan slaying have concluded any claims to either Bryan’s death or dismemberment at the Wilder, Kentucky structure are unsupported by a foundation of hard fact, and place these popular accounts into the realm of the tall tale.
According to Bobby Mackey, the site was originally used as a slaughterhouse in the early 19th century and later torn down for construction of a roadhouse that took on various names, such as The Brisbane, until he purchased it in 1978.
Sounds fun, yes?
The part of the club that is allegedly haunted is its basement where the ghost of Johanna, the subject of Bobby’s hit record by the same title, allegedly resides. You’ll notice I keep using the word allegedly. That’s because in order to see this “haunted basement” (or Hells Gate as referred to by the locals) you must pay an additional $10 to take the tour on top of the cover charge to get into the place.
Well, fuck that, I thought. I’m using the rest of my money for the alcohol I’ll so desperately need to make it through this night.
So, I passed on the haunted tour. But what I saw instead was far more chilling and terrifying. Rednecks. Everywhere. Folks, I saw more flannel shirts that night than I had ever seen before in my life. Even more than any time I had ever visited a Wal-Mart store. Even more than a state fair. More than a Blue Collar Comedy show. It was an obscene amount of flannel.
Then there were the cowboy hats. They were not as prevalent as the flannel shirts, but they were plentiful. I had never seen anyone wearing a cowboy hat outside of a country music video or the CMA Awards show. It was a bit disconcerting.
The men’s room was the most frightening part of this establishment. The bathroom consists of two urinal troughs and one stall that, even at a meager 5’7″, I can look over the top of the walls. I hate urinal troughs. Even though I fully support gay rights I’m still slightly homophobic. I’m incredibly uncomfortable standing next to another dude while we both have our junk out with nothing in between us. The copious amount of vodka I had consumed that night did nothing to ease that discomfort.
The line dancing was downright horrifying. Imagine, if you can, multiple people in a straight line dressed in jeans and flannel shirts doing the same dance with uncanny precision and timing. It was like a hillbilly flash mob.
Lastly, there was the mechanical bull. A few guys tried it, but it was mostly drunk chicks riding the bull. What I noticed when the girls rode the bull was slightly humorous. To me, anyhow. Every once in a while, while a chick was riding it the bull would stop bucking and vibrate. Intensely. I can’t say for sure, but I have a feeling a lot of women who rode the bull that night got off (get it?) with wet panties.
I felt all kinds of out-of-place there. I was surrounded by denim and flannel while wearing a Michigan Wolverines shirt and khaki pants. I don’t even have any attire in my closet that is appropriate for that place. And even though I spent most of the 90′s listening to country music I may have recognized only one song that was played all night. I’ve still yet to get rid of the stamp they marked me with after I paid the cover charge.
In all honesty, I didn’t have a horrible time. The only thing that really bothered me was that I didn’t know any of the music being played and all the fucking smoke in there. I’m a non-smoker, but I’m not a non-smoker that thinks that just because I don’t smoke that no one else should get to smoke either. If you go to a bar you should expect to be inhaling second-hand smoke all night. That’s just the way it is. It was just horrible there, though. I had a horrible headache by the time I left that night which lasted all the way through Sunday afternoon. Two of the other people that went with me had the same troubles. So at least I know it wasn’t just me.
All things considered, I don’t know that I would go back. It’s just not my kind of place.