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The Vortex Blog



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.



I learned from my tech guy that searching the word “vortex” on the interwebs, in any variation, will bring up our website before anything else. I had nothing to do with this fact, but I understand that it’s kind of a big deal. He also let me know The Vortex website gets thousands of unique visitors each month. Thousands. That’s when I realized that maybe I should add some new features in 2015, to engage our awesome fans. So first up, my new blog. You’re welcome, awesome fans.

I’ve never written a blog before, so I contacted my friend Hollis. She’s a published author. In fact, she only became a writer due to my constant, unwavering encouragement back in the early days of The Vortex. If it wasn’t for our inspiring little chats while she was sitting at my bar getting drunk, she’d probably be living under a bridge today. That’s why she’s always happy to help me out. So when I showed her a rough draft of my first blog post, she quickly told me, “It’s too long. People have short attention spans these days, especially for blogs.” She advised me that most blogs run between 250 and 350 words. So that’s the advice I’ve been given so far, and I’m not sure I’ll even follow it. I mean, what can I possibly say in just 300 words? I guess we’ll see.

In the beginning, I plan on writing about what it’s like to run The Vortex. I’ll probably be up for tackling other topics in the long run, but initially I want to give my readers an inside look at the craziness that occurs behind the scenes of our notorious bars. I’ll most likely write about stuff that bugs me too. You know, kind of like blog-therapy. Needless to say, this blog will probably get sloppy and haphazard, and maybe a little crass at times, but I promise it will always be genuine and honest. If you choose to check-in here each week (and I hope you do), you’ll get to witness this ever-evolving mess, first hand. I’d love to tell you more, but I’ve already gone way over my 350 word maximum. Damn. This isn’t going to be easy.

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