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Barroom Besties: 1940

Barroom Besties: 1940

June 1940. "Youngsters in a bar at Mogollon, New Mexico." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Barroom Safety Check

During my misspent youth I always looked at the ashtrays when going into a new bar. In a bar with heavy glass ashtrays you were less likely to get into a fight than bars that had those light aluminum trays.

Owners not only know their clientèle's favorite drinks but also know if their customers are prone to picking up an ashtray and whacking someone over the head.

In the lighter tray bars I always found a seat where could keep my back to a wall to avoid incoming in case I happened to disparage some customer's favorite ballplayer.

A no-tray bar, especially one with sawdust on the floor (used to soak up the blood), was usually a no-talk zone until I became familiar with the customers.

PS. To get better service in a busy new bar, leave a tip with each drink, and if the bartender is an man call him Ace or Chief. If a woman, say "Hello darlin'" with a slight Southern accent then go on with "Aren't you a sweet looking lady."

Always worked for me. I seldom had to flag them down since they usually were watching me, and a nod and a raised glass got me a fresh drink.

Old Colonel Quickie-Mart

Love his poster up on the wall.


Apparently the floor.

Right on Time

Mr. Loosetie appears to be wearing an Illinois "Ace" wristwatch. Very popular today among collectors.

Russell Lee migration

Are these snowbirds down from Minnesota?


Good old days.

Young people drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon without a hint of irony.

Just in case —

Can opener: Check
Flashlight: Check
Revolver: Check

Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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