One day it was open, the next it was closed. Or so it seemed to many people who enjoyed the food and atmosphere of the Green Dragon Public House. Long known as the “Hobbit Bar,” the interior made one think of the beloved hangout of Frodo and the gang.
To regulars, the pub, located in the basement of the old creamery by the railroad tracks on West Main, was a place where everyone knew your name. It was a place that was inviting and accepting.
Scott Kimberly shared that lots of regulars became friends.
“I will miss it dearly, it was a second home to me, and I think it’s terrible that it should just end out of the blue like that,” said Luke Patton, one of the regulars.
For those who are lovers of Lord of the Rings, and loved to dress the part, it was acceptable to steep themselves in the atmosphere.
“When we were there once,” said Chrystal Routon, “… there [was] a guy reading aloud (really loud) the end of Lord of the Rings with gusto, and then [he] started singing the dwarf song…I just thought it was awesome. Never forgot it.”
“My fondest memory is probably the night I reunited with an old friend, Aaron,” said Patton, “and with my good new friend, Gregory. They were having a special event with readings from Tolkien and beer served upon a heated blade… We read the ending of the Lord of the Rings aloud, and sang songs into the night. This happened at a time when I was going through a lot of challenges. It really perked up my spirit.”
Patton remembers the Dragon was a place of companionship and culture. For awhile they participated in the Boro Art Crawl. Initially, the artists were stationed around diners, and then during other crawls, they were moved into a back room. Poetry in the Boro even performed there several times.
My own favorite memory was to go to the Art Crawl on a cold night, and then finish off with a bowl of soup and a beer at the Dragon’s bar. It was always warm and friendly, with lots of jovial laughter.
Appealing to a multi-generational crowd, they offered an assortment of nibbles, soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza, all made with their own special twist. They were known for their soups, with Tomato Basil being the crowd favorite.
Kids could feel right at home because there was a space just for them with books, games, and a comfy chair to climb into.
Of course, what most adults came for was the beer. They offered an assortment of old-world styles, one of the most unique was flown in directly from the Czech Republic in a refrigerated container because it was unpasteurized. The result of keeping it unpasteurized is a richer beer.
Not too long ago, they had started brewing their own beer. It was an unfiltered Withwindle Brown Ale. They used flaked oats instead of wheat, Victory malt, and Golding & Fuggles hops. Owner Joe Minter described it as a true old-world style ale. For those who have spent time in a British pub, and love the old-world taste and texture, their in-house brew was a winner. Minter also made special brews at different times of the year.
“Every batch [was] a little different,” said Minter. “Sometimes it came out smoky and toasted, other times it came out with an earthy chocolate–caramel flavor.”
If you have ever been to a pub in England, Ireland, or Scotland, you know the feeling they emanate – an unpretentious comradery that makes every stranger a friend. The barkeep serves good natured food, offers an accepting environment, and provides an assortment of ales, stouts, ciders, and meads that quench the thirst of the choosiest connoisseur or the heartiest beer-drinking novice. That was the Green Dragon Public House.
Unfortunately, according to a story in the Daily News Journal, the growing number of places to dine in the city made it unprofitable to keep open.
“I will carry … [many] good moments I shared there in my heart forever,” said Patton. “As Tolkien would say, the road goes ever on and on.”