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Tugboat celebrating 30 years

Kelly Silva

— A photo of Hank Edwards and Larry Lamb hangs above a table in the Tugboat Grill & Pub under the heading the “Ignorance of Youth.”

The photo commemorates the pair’s decision to take over ownership of the bar in 1977. “Originally, Tugboat was five hamburgers and a salad,” Lamb said. “Now we’ve got more than 60 items on the menu.”

Edwards and Lamb were not the original owners of the Tugboat. But when they took over six years after the night spot opened its doors, Edwards and Lamb decided they would continue to honor the bar’s New Year’s Eve anniversary. It originally opened Dec. 31, 1972, in its current site across from Torian Plum Plaza in Ski Time Square.

Anniversary No. 30 is Monday and the Tugboat will celebrate with The Fabulous Boogienauts.

Tugboat General Manager Jack Doyle said this will be his 22nd New Year’s Eve with the Tugboat. “My second shift (at the Tugboat) was New Year’s Eve,” Doyle said. “Now no place else will have me.”

Photos around the restaurant mark memories of past Tugboat River Races, celebrities who found comfort in the bar and the famous Ball Hooter contest.

“This seems to have been designated their home away from home. They came here and didn’t go anywhere else,” Lamb said of prominent celebrities.

Edwards said the Tugboat’s favorites probably were Doak and Skeeter Walker, who were longtime friends.

“They were real important to us good friends throughout the years,” Edwards said.

New Year’s Eve at the Tugboat often is a rowdy event, Edwards, Lamb and Doyle said.

“It’s just a wild and chaotic time in here,” Doyle said. “There aren’t too many jerks because everyone’s always in a good mood.”

At the Tugboat’s New Year’s Eve parties in the past, patrons could get out of control. “People used to come in and sit at a table at 3 p.m. and never leave,” Lamb said.

Now, the Tugboat won’t open until 8 p.m. There is a $25 admission fee and people will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The patron number is limited to 200.

New Year’s Eve parties tend to be a little wild because of the “history, the fun, the alcohol and the bands,” Lamb said.

But the Tugboat owners said everyone generally enjoys the night. And they don’t plan to stop the celebrating. In fact, they said, they hope to celebrate 30 more anniversaries at the nightspot.


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