Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gone But Not Forgotten: Uncle Woody's

Via an email from a friend earlier this week, I read a rumor (or at least what I was hoping was just a rumor) that Uncle Woody's in Clifton had closed. I drove past the establishment a couple nights ago and can now confirm that Uncle Woody's is no more. The sign on the front has been taken down. In 1999, CityBeat profiled the bar and its owner, Buzzy.

Uncle Woody's is (was, *sigh*) right across the street from the UC College of Law (my alma mater), so on any given night you could find a bunch of procrastinating law students tipping back a few. The bar is so much a part of law school culture that Buzzy and his staff annually picked a list of graduates to be on its "Bar Review." The students got their names engraved on a plaque that hangs permanently inside; the award was more coveted than selection to UC's Law Review (an academic publication) or moot court. When I was a law student, we generally considered the place "our bar."

Uncle Woody's was born the same year I was (1974), and most of us thought it would be there forever. Generations of law students have fond memories of heading over there for drinks after (or sometimes instead of) class. (And after the last final exam of the semester. Always. For many, many drinks.) The Moot Court Board, as an enticement to alums for judging its competitions, hosted an after-event happy hour at Uncle Woody's; on those nights, the bar would be packed with graduates reconnecting and reminiscing.

I've been skeptical of claims that Ohio's smoking ban would hurt Ohio's bar business, but I wonder if Uncle Woody's might be one of the few actual casualties of the ban. Christy's, about a block away and also frequented by UC students, has a large, outdoor courtyard where smoking remains permissible; it's possible patronage shifted there and away from the mostly indoors Uncle Woody's.

Uncle Woody's, ye shall be missed.

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