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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hey Barkeep: Meet Katherine Bowers from R Bar

    Alex Guyton

    Katherine Bowers, bartender at R Bar, strikes a pose as she stands behind the bar.

    Daily Wildcat: It’s just called the R Bar?

    Katherine Bowers: Yeah, we’re part of the Rialto [Theatre] Foundation, so it’s technically a nonprofit. It’s kind of a homage to The Red Room. We share a lot of employees that were working there in the past, and that was an institution downtown everyone really missed. And I think with this bar, not only the aesthetic but also the mentality behind it, we want to bring back that sense of community and sense of specialness.

    What was The Red Room?

    The Red Room and The Grill were side by side. It was like the only 24-hour place aside from Shot in the Dark. The Red Room is where you’d have shows. It was kind of like where everybody would go. You didn’t have to call people ahead of time. You’d just know they’d be there.

    Do you have a favorite drink to make?

    Yeah, it always kind of changes, but I love fortified wine, like vermuths, port, sherries, anything generally with whiskey. Also, there’s a classic cocktail called The Last Word — that’s maraschino, Chartreuse, a little bit of citrus and gin, and that’s kind of my favorite thing to drink, so it’s my favorite thing to make.

    Have you seen anything weird or strange go down at the bar?

    No. I mean, we have a really mellow and loyal crowd. … A few nights ago, it was somebody’s birthday, and we got everyone into this Matchbox 20 sing-along, kind of impromptu. That was pretty special. I enjoyed that. … We just have a lot; everyone’s pretty close here and just a lot of jokes.

    Speaking of clientele, you have such a unique location. Do you get people from the Rialto Theatre who are watching concerts to come?

    Absolutely. It’s really interesting. It’s kind of a different color every night, depending on if there’s going to be a concert or not. Obviously, the color is always actually red. We have country bands, we have hard core, dissonant metal music, we have techno raves across the way. There’s teenybopper music, and so every night here could be totally different, and we always put on different hats to accommodate that, so it’s very transformative.

    Sometimes, we get people coming over from the show. Like, I got to serve the guy from Iron and Wine and that was pretty cool. He’s a really nice dude. … [Insane Clown Posse], too, that was really funny. … It was actually very fortuitous. They put this 15-foot tall chain-link fence in the alleyway between us. Usually, we connect the patio. There was just this hazy, thick purple smog and everyone yelling, “family” and high-fiving each other, and then there was just this calm. We were just sitting, looking out the window, fascinated by what was happening. … It smelled like keyboard cleaner and Swishers.


    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter.

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