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The Vortex Blog



Last September we began to notify our customers that we’d be raising the age for entry from 18 to 21, beginning in 2015. We posted signs in the bars, put the information on our website and Facebook pages, and braced ourselves for the deluge of salty teenage tears. Of course, most of the crying came from people who would personally be affected by this change. But oddly enough, some of their weird helicopter parents also seemed very upset. Andrea S. commented, “Just ruined my sons 18 bday for next year!! Good job!!” Then, further down on the same Facebook thread, Andrew S. commented, “There goes my 18th birthday.” We know dude, you’re mom already told us. Dad, if you’re reading this, you don’t have to post a comment. We get it. We ruined precious Andrew’s 18th birthday. We’re really sorry.



The “Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act of 2005” basically forced every bar (and restaurant) owner in the State to choose between admitting minors, or offering their patrons the option to smoke. Doing both would no longer be legal. That’s when The Vortex became an “18-and-over” establishment. Saying “bye-bye” to the kiddies was really a no-brainer for us. The Vortex is a bar. Many of our best customers (and friends) are smokers. But children? Not so much.

Of course, some people cried and whined about it. But our supporters absolutely loved the new policy. And while our fans liked the fact they could still smoke in our bar, they let us know that what they really enjoyed was eating, drinking and socializing in an adult environment. Their happiness was substantiated by a big increase in profits, which in turn spread their happiness directly to me. So, everyone I loved ended up being pretty happy about the change.

In hindsight, we should have gone to a “21-and-over” policy back in 2005. But we didn’t. Instead, we chose to deal with all the difficulties of running a bar that admits people under the legal drinking age for another ten years. Ten really long years. But, on January 1st of this year, we finally wised up. We realized it was time for The Vortex to become a totally 100% genuine, bonafide, certified, “21-and-over” bar. You know, a bar. For adults that like bars. And booze. I mean, that’s what we thought we were opening back in 1992. So it only took us 23 years to finally figure it out. See. Even slow learners can learn. Eventually



Before my siblings and I opened our business, we thought, “what would be better than going to a job everyday?” The answer was obviously, “going to a bar everyday.” We really like bars. And we didn’t want to get jobs. So we opened The Vortex back in 1992, as a secret hangout for ourselves. Perfectly logical, right? The original location was a tiny hidden treasure. My brother, sister and I made up a majority of the staff, and once we opened for business, we immediately began having way too much fun.

Being the freedom-loving folks we are, we didn’t implement any age restriction when we opened. If people wanted to bring their children to our bar, we didn’t see any problem with it. So back in the early days you could often find big plastic baby-carriers, filled with actual live babies, sitting right up on the bar-top of our smoky little corner pub. Being new to Atlanta, we assumed bringing babies to bars was just some quaint ”southern” custom we hadn’t heard about. And maybe it was.

Eventually we realized we were naive about babies. An “all-ages” policy for a bar was a bad idea. Over the years, too many clueless mothers and fathers allowed their demon spawn to terrorize everyone, including us. When parents began chastising us about how inappropriate our bar was for their little angels, our reply was usually something like, “Then maybe you shouldn’t be bringing your kids to a bar.” I mean seriously, not everything is right for everyone. And babies really don’t belong in bars.

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