Arts & CultureCover StoryNightlife

New management at Taylor’s means big changes for spring



When Eric Clarke accepted the head manager position at Taylor’s Bar & Grill in January, he brought big ideas with him.

Clarke began as a bartender at Max’s and soon moved to head manager, where he stayed for five years before his recent move.

“In taking this position, I knew I would have more freedom to work with the space and make some new improvements,” Clarke said. “At Max’s I was more hands on, but here I am behind the scenes and I think that suits me better.”

Taylor’s recently rearranged the inside to make more room for the dance floor and eating sections. They will also be giving the outside a face lift and replacing the wall near the patio with a garage-like door to open up the space.

The replacement of the wall and movement of the dance floor will make traffic through the bar less chaotic for servers and customers. Clusters from the entrance make it difficult for patrons to reach the back, thus these changes will make movement over-all more fluid.

“We happen to have the best bar location in Oregon,” Clarke said. “Now we just have to remind people that this is also the best bar.”

In addition to the exterior facelift, Taylor’s will be getting new patio furniture — not to mention a new dining menu and better late-night eats. Clarke is also placing a drink rail against the fence over-looking 13th for customers to watch the hustle and bustle of the streets without turning away. Good weather permitting, Taylor’s will be sporting an outdoor DJ and a bikini bar.

Andrew Cantarero, a senior at the University of Oregon, believes the changes will make Taylor’s a much better environment.

“Taylor’s is great, but I think the new set up will take bar-hopping out of the mix,” Cantarero said. “People are just going to want to stay there all night.”

Clarke knew with the coming improvements he would need a dream team to respond accordingly and take the changes with stride. He brought four of his team members from Max’s as well as recruited from other bars.

Alex Bender, a former co-worker at Max’s, followed Clarke to Taylor’s knowing it would be a good opportunity.

“I like the energy of college bars,” Bender said. “I would advise people to come in during the day or when we are not slammed. We want to get to know our customers, but it is a little more difficult when there are a hundred other people trying to get a drink.”

Clarke believes renovations will work into summer. In order to make some of the changes Taylor’s would need to close down and that would cut into revenue, but it hasn’t been decided when that will be. Clarke doesn’t seem to be worried. In fact, he is incredibly excited about the new projects.

One of many steps he has taken towards connecting more with the community is revamping the Taylor’s social media outlets. The bar is back on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. They’re excited to get the community involved in its new promotions.

Garrett Horning, also a former Max’s employee, handles a good portion of the social media posts and believes the Snapchat account is going to be one of its best outlets.

“People are going to post all of their videos of Taylor’s on Snapchat anyways,” he said. “And this way I get to throw a party every night.”

The new Taylor’s team is excited for the renovations, media outlets and new late night menu.

“I can’t thank the owners of Taylor’s enough for this opportunity,” said Clarke. “I get to see my vision of Taylor’s come true and that is incredible.”

On Wednesday, April 1, Taylor’s experienced a small fire in the back of the bar due to a mishap with the dryer. After the smoke cleared and the fire department left, Taylor’s opened up for dollar beers as usual and the bartenders dawned little fireman hats to commemorate the event.

Taylor’s Bar and Grill is located on 13th Avenue and Kincaid Street. For more information about promotions and events follow Taylor’s on Facebook or Twitter.

MEET THE BARTENDERS:

Alex Bender

Emerald: What is your bartending experience?

Alex Bender: “I used to work at Oregon Electric Station and then moved to Max’s briefly before coming to Taylor’s with Eric in January.”

E: What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to get a drink?

AB: “Don’t be high maintenance. We want to help everyone get their drinks, but ordering an Old Fashioned when there are fifty other people trying to get our attention at the bar makes it a little tough for us to do our job.”

E: How is the best way to get to know the bartender?

AB: “Come in during the day and hang out with us. It is hard to get to know people when I am slammed with customers, but I recognize people who make those connections when I have time. I am more likely to help people I know and see around the bar first.”

E: Favorite Drink?

AB: Manhattan.

Jordan Hodges

Emerald: Why is campus one of the best environments to bartend?

Jordan Hodges: “The volume of students coming in always has this sort of energy that makes it really easy to do my job. Plus, no matter the night there are always gonna be people here.”

E: What are some valuable drinking tips for college students?

JH: “Try not to stick strictly to bottom shelf. If you’re buying a girl a drink, get something like a Sapphire Tonic instead of well gin. Believe me the hang over is a little easier, but I also just ball like that.”

E: Best way to get a drink when it’s packed?

JH: “Honestly, come to me. I’m the talent and I’ll have drinks out the fastest. It’s why I’m good at what I do.”

E: Favorite Drink?

JH: “Straight Whiskey, usually Woodsford.”

Garrett Horning

Emerald: Why did you move from Max’s to Taylor’s?

Garrett Horning: “Well I had been working at Max’s for two and a half years, but Taylor’s seemed like a good opportunity to work in a bigger space and have more freedom. For instance, the alcohol selection at Max’s is pretty limited compared to Taylor’s. I can make whatever I want here.”

E: Was there any tension after leaving?

GH: “No, the owners and I still talk. We are always gonna be friends.”

E: What’s your best advice for ordering a drink when it’s packed?

GH: “Tip well. You might think that in a huge group of people we don’t look at the tip line, but we do. And we remember.”

E: What’s your favorite drink?

GH: “I only drink Whiskey.”

 


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Ally Taylor

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