There may be something about Mary, but there’s also something about Mike and his Blue Collar Bar.
For one, it drew Helene Shapiro from East Hartford to Wallingford for a Monday night drink.
“I just love it. I love decorating, and I just like that type of stuff, so I’m really into that,” said Shapiro.
The town’s newest drinking establishment is meant for a hands-on crowd. The waitresses don tool belts, the bartenders sport hardhats and everyone rocks blue shirts and blue jeans.
“I conceived this whole thing on a bar napkin,” said Neal Kwort, founder of Mike’s Blue Collar Bar. He’s a former auto repair shop owner.
“Because I am a blue collar guy, I wanted to create a place where a blue collar guy and the women who are attracted to the blue collar guy can come in and have an ice cold beer after work, you know, get great food, you know, pretty much feel at home,” said Kwort.
Lifelong Wallingford resident Ruthi Kelman says the bar gives a salute to history.
“It’s what this town was built on. You know, factory workers, veterans,” she said, adding that it fills a void.
“It’s what this town needs, you know? Not a high-priced, hoity-toity place for young kids. It’s something that appeals to everybody,” Kelman said.
Kwort said Mike’s is especially meant to appeal to a more seasoned crowd. Seasoned bartender Ann Marie Kulmac said the clients like to let loose in the entertainment room that’s filled with ’70s and ’80s tribute bands each weekend.
“The 40-plus crowd — there’s not places to go around at all,” Kulmac said. “The feedback is great, and it’s been getting busier and busier every week.”
First-timer Shapiro thinks Mike’s nailed it.
“I’m in the same age category that’s directed towards this bar, so I could see myself coming back,” Shapiro said.
The bar also features a free shuttle meant to prevent drunken driving. It makes pickups and drop-offs.
To find out more about Mike’s Blue Collar Bar, click here to visit its Facebook page.