by Eric Ginsburg
Despite its name and being the closest bar to my long-time apartment, the only time I seem to bring people to Local House Bar is when a friend is in town.
I first walked into the windowless brick rectangle what feels like ages ago, with the plan of pre-gaming with my hometown friend Danny before going out that Saturday night. But the lit-up skeeball machine at the back of the bar beckoned, and somehow we found ourselves trading dollar after dollar for quarters and knocking back beers out of an ice-filled bucket.
We would later stumble out and attempt to join a Guy Fawkes Day party at the Gecko House, a nerd haven on my street that had the ridiculous idea that year of deputizing a partygoer who turned the annual rollick into an invite-only affair. Boo.
But Danny — one of the more traveled and, as of late, bohemian of my friends who was on his way from Denver back to Boston — thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. It easily went down as the most memorable aspect of his stay.
The same may be true for Claudia, another high school friend who stopped in as she headed to Austin for grad school. It would be hard to go wrong with skeeball, and we also spent a considerable amount of time playing darts.
Claudia has since graduated; in that time I only sporadically returned to Local House Bar. The venue, which sits in a parking lot just over the left-field wall of the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ downtown stadium, is a strange one. It looks out of place there, and did in its previous incarnation as Boston’s House of Jazz too, oriented towards a side street rather than the thoroughfare of Smith Street to its left.
Over time the front patio has evolved and improved. It’s similar to one at Hoots Roller Bar in Winston-Salem — just a carved out section of the adjoining parking lot. But inside lacks the cohesive and inviting décor of the Winston brewery, and is a little overly dominated by the TV screens over its taps.
When my sister Katie visited recently, there were flashier places in walking distance to take her that hadn’t existed when Danny or Claudia came. But after a flight at Preyer Brewing and an incredible dinner of small plates at the new Crafted, we were looking for something more.
The north side of downtown is changing quickly, and will likely look radically different the next time Katie comes to town. But for now the closest nightlife options in walking distance remained deep on South Elm Street, save for my steady Westerwood Tavern or the early closers at Fisher’s Grill. But I already had something else in mind.
We stopped in at Local House on our way home, the allure of skeeball more than enough to entice my sister. They’ve added a second machine since my last visit, allowing for simultaneous rolls.
A skeeball score of 35,000 — up from the original 30,000 because too many regulars hit the threshold — will win you a free beer, and despite the raised bar, I hit my first that night. And my girlfriend, who joined the excursion, brought in two more. Katie didn’t fare as well, but that hardly mattered.
Because despite its drawbacks, Local House Bar is a place that’s turned into a nostalgia generator, enough so that I won’t wait for the next visitor to justify my return.
Visit Local House Bar at 422 N. Edgeworth St. (GSO) or at localhousebar.com.