Andy's Bar in Red Wing is under new ownership, but patrons of the establishment may have noticed a familiar vibe with the change in management. Matt Odman and Mike Hemphill both have a history with the building — Odman's father, Dave, was owner from 1975-2001 and Hemphill has tended the bar there since 1999.
Odman and Hemphill, who attained ownership Feb. 13, believe that the sense of familiarity has been a boon for them in laying the groundwork for how they envision the bar to be. To get to that point, they knew they'd have to put the work in from day one. The plan was to get the bar cleaned up and have things running smoothly before the busy summer months arrived. However, what neither of them expected was a high customer turnout in the first month of operation.
"Typically this is the slowest time of the year and we just thought, 'If we can just tread water for a couple months, we'll be good,'" Hemphill said. "I haven't seen days (this busy) in 10-plus years."
"I think a major reason why we are getting pretty good turnout at the bar is because we are known around town and people are coming out to support us," Odman added. "We've had a great response from everybody — older customers, going way back, to when my dad had it."
A bar for the people
Odman and Hemphill pointed out that first and foremost, the bar remains sports-oriented. It is set up with the capability of showcasing five different sporting events on at any given time. When the Wild, Timberwolves, Twins or Vikings are playing, at least one TV is going to have the game on. But Odman and Hemphill don't limit themselves to that.
"If people want to come in and watch golf or racing, we are more than happy to flip a TV on for them," Odman said.
"People will call ahead and ask, 'Are you going to have NASCAR on today, golf today?' and we always say, 'We will find a TV for you,'" Hemphill added.
Just as the bar has retained its sports theme, many of its offerings are the same as well. Odman said the menu is much like it always has been. The food still comes locally — bread and buns come from Hanisch Bakery and burgers come from Buchanan.
Prior to attaining ownership, Hemphill and Odman wanted to keep everything local, not just the food and drinks, but repairs and remodels as well. They saw it as a way to give back to the community since its the community that supports them.
And while its a sports bar at heart, Odman and Hemphill see it as much more than that.
"We aren't taking money out for ourselves with the bar, we are putting everything back into it to make improvements," Odman said. "We want this bar to be the customer's bar; it's not really our bar, it's the community's bar."