on the bar; tools on the walls.”
Five years ago, you could have
seen tumbleweeds rolling through the abandoned streets of
downtown Harrisburg. Today the only thing that’s abandoned
is the cars clubbers would drive to Philly or Baltimore for
their nighttime activities. Prominent restaurant, club, and
business owners have joined forces, rapidly renovating forgotten
buildings into swanky, urban hot spots, complete with canopies,
martini menus, and outdoor seating. At the end of Harrisburg’s
Second Street “restaurant row” is a cluster of nightclubs.
Eclipse was one of the first dance venues downtown, providing
clubbers with two floors: The first, the Lunar Lounge for
casual, moody socializing; the second, an all-out dance club
fashioned with cages, DJs, and ample space to move. The new
Coyote Hardware Bar (Remember the movie Coyote Ugly, featuring
Tyra Banks gyrating on top of a bar? Of course you do!) has
rounded out this attractive threesome with an affordable 3-for-1
cover, live music, and a decor that gets just as much attention
as the girls who dance on its bar tops.
Walking into Coyote’s Hardware Bar, I found an incredibly
well-thought-out design concept and the friendliest “Coyotes”
this side of the Mississippi. The bar stretched long and wide,
complete with pool ladders to hoist eager drinkers up to its
top for dancing. At the far right corner sat the famous dentist’s
chair – a throne in which young men were served strong shots
of their favorite liquor by one of the sexy Coyotes working
the joint. This process got a little steamy with arm rest
straddling and teeth-to-teeth cherry passing. Most amazing
was how every bartender and Coyote stayed stapled with a smile.
No attitudes, no trash, just fun (and a little bit flirty)
girls. Synchronized dance routines placed all of the Coyotes
up on the bar in their cowboy hats and jeans. A live band
rocked the stage, talked to the crowd, and kept everyone happy.
The decor, although simple, was intelligent and artistic.
Even the neon beer signs were twisted and sculpted into saws,
hammers and wrenches. Bar shirts, with the slogan “Get hammered,
nailed and screwed” hung next to tools of the trade: paint
buckets, sprockets, and other handyman doodads. The Hardware
Bar definitely had that “everyone knows your name” appeal.
We arrived at the Hardware Bar at 5:30 p.m. to load up our
equipment for our show that night. We gave the owner a copy
of our set list, and he cut back a lot of what we hoped to
play. He wanted to keep an ‘80s theme in the bar, and didn’t
want a bunch of new music. It was rough since we usually mix
things up. The place had its own sound system, a nice, medium-sized
house system that was adequate for the space. The sound guy
gave us a really good sound check; we were happy with him.
They could use a couple more lights, but the stage had plenty
of room. It ended up being packed! One comment I got was that
a lot of times if the band isn’t good, the crowd will drift
and watch the girls on the bar. The crowd stayed with us all
night, which was nice. There was more of a mix in ages than
I expected. You had everything from your rich yuppies to your...well,
not so yuppie crowd. The bartenders and Coyotes were all very
nice. The owners were good guys. They definitely capture a
certain atmosphere with the place. The raw floor, with a sort
of raunchy bar: It’s not your typical black with gold trim.
Coyote definitely sets itself apart.