Friday, May 25, 2007

Collin's Tavern

I'm way busy today, so I'm letting the multi-talented Ben Duffy share some of his adventures with you. I'll be back with more of my own madness tomorrow.

Hey Tom,

I stopped into Collin's Tavern today in West Springfield and took some pictures. It's a real neighborhood bar, an old-fashioned Irish drinking hole.

Some of these photographs are a little blurry. There isn't much light inside of this old barroom.

Collin's likes to call itself the "Best Kept Secret in Western Mass". It's such a great secret that they write it on the front of the bar!

Besides the Irish theme, the bar seems to have a sports theme (especially hockey), as well as a military theme (especially the 101st Airborne Division), and firefighter theme.

The place has an impressive array of Irish Republican Army propoganda on the wall:

Not that I endorse the IRA in any way. They may be my distant cousins from the "motherland", but they're still a bunch of terrorists. As it stands now, the majority of those living in Northern Ireland want to remain with the UK, largely because the majority of the people are Protestant. That will probably change in the near future, as the poorer Catholic Republicans are having a lot more children and than the wealthier Protestant Loyalists. This can all be decided democratically--if the people of Northern Ireland ever decide that they would rather break away from Britain, I would hope that Britain would respect those wishes, but that's not the situation today. Instead, we have a bunch of thugs trying to win with guns and bombs what they can't win at the ballot box. The best strategy would be to put down their guns, go home to their wives, and make some babies. In the long run, that will accomplish what years of fighting have not.

Irish Republican terrorism is the same as the terrorism that we have seen coming out of the Middle East as of late. The Irish Republican Army does in fact have ties to Muslims terrorist organizations. They consider themselves to be part of some sort of brotherhood of "national liberation movements". There's a reason why Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran renamed Winston Churchill Avenue into Bobby Sands Street.
In any case, I didn't think that it was wise to express my feelings about the IRA too loudly in that barroom. I don't think I would have made too many friends.

This is a mock wanted poster for the "Iron Lady", Margaret Thatcher. The IRA made an attempt on her life at Brighton, England in 1984. The 1980's was a time of major turmoil in Northern Ireland, and she was not known to take crap from anyone, not even the IRA.

On a lighter note, check out this relic from the past. It's the Springfield Indians! They haven't been seen around these parts since they moved to Worcester in 1994. They later changed their name, because "Indians" was not politically correct anymore.

This September 11th era tribute to firefighters adorns the door to the men's room.

Dozens of these old fire helmets hang from the ceiling. Most of them say SFD ("Springfield Fire Department"?), and many even have names written on them. If only fire helmets could talk, I bet that they would have some amazing stories to tell...

I had to laugh at this picture. I've been to Ireland twice, and I must say that no Irishman would be caught dead drinking Miller Lite. It is most certainly NOT "the choice of the Irish".

There was a lot of military stuff on the walls, but I seemed to notice quite a bit of stuff from the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles", with a few items here and there from the 82nd Airborne and Marine Corps. This large seal of the 101st was painted onto the front door. It made me wonder if the owner of the bar is a former Screaming Eagle himself.

When I was in the Army, the soldiers used to talk a lot about famous people who had been in the military. There were stories going around--some true, some only silly rumors--about celebrities who had once worn the uniform. Elvis Presley, Shaggy, and Axl Rose were all rumored to have had military service. In the case of Elvis and Shaggy, it was in fact true. Elvis was drafted at the height of his fame, and Shaggy was a Marine in Desert Storm. In the case of Axl, it turned out to be false--he just went out and got an army tattoo on his arm to make himself look tough.

One of those rumors about celebrities in the military was about Jimi Hendrix. The usual version of the story was that Jimi had been drafted in the late 1950's. Details varied--some said that he had volunteered to be a Ranger, others said that he was in the 101st Airborne Division. Amazingly, the story seems to check out, even if some of the details aren't accurate.

Private Hendrix was in the Army for about thirteen months, beginning in May 1961. He was a supply clerk in the 101st, so he was indeed a "Screaming Eagle", although he was known to be a terrible soldier, not cut out for military life. He was discharged after he was caught masterbating, and he did not challenge it, because he wasn't really that thrilled about being in the Army in the first place. His sticky discharge (pun intended) must have been hard to explain to his parents, or even the guys back home on the block.

But enough about Jimi Hendrix. I also found a picture of this young soldier on the wall at Collin's. It could have been anyone, perhaps just for decoration. If I had to guess, I would say that this picture was taken sometime in the mid-1960's--the Vietnam Era. If this proud Screaming Eagle were alive today, he would be just about the same age as the owner. Is this the owner of the bar? I may never know.

Incidentally, there were bumperstickers on the beer cooler that read "Proud Vietnam Veteran" and "Boycott Jane Fonda, the traiterous bitch".

Well, it's worth stopping in.



LarryK4 said...

Growing up 5’th generation unadulterated Irish in the People’s Republic of Amherst, as a young teenager I had a fascination with the IRA--that romantic notion of rebels fighting against almost insurmountable odds to take back the motherland.

Then they tried to blow up Maggie Thatcher at the Brighton Hotel. At the time, it was perhaps the most sophisticated bombing in history as they had placed it under her hotel room and set the timer a week or so before she arrived (must have had good Intel).

And they almost got her (five died in the explosion). Something terribly wrong bombing civilians; and even more despicable when it’s a woman.

Their PR person was as good as their bombmaker. They sent one of the more chilling terrorist notes to their intended victim: “You got lucky this time, we only need to get lucky once.” YIKES!

Anonymous said...

any time someone goes there they should get there while the kitchen is open. the food is pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

Owner of the bar is retired Springfield "jake" or fireman, thus the leather fire helmets. Also 101st, A/B Trooper. As for the Protestants in the Ulster Republic running the show. Well all I can say is visit the bar on 3-17 and utter "God Save the Queen" if you survive try out your theorys on the Ulster republics future!

Anonymous said...

I used to go to Collins before Bobby bought the place. It is a place you can go into and have a peace full glass of beer with out having to worry about trouble. They also have one of the best lunches in town. I now live in Florida and I make it a stop when I head back to Mass. The one thing I enjoy is seeing the old photos on the wall of the guys who played sports at west side

Anonymous said...

I was a regular customer at Collins Tavern in West Springfield. All the way back to the mid 1980's when I was working in Springfield, MA and living in Westfield. I used to drive by The Collins every afternoon and stopped for a beer at least three times a week. Always a good place for a beer and a sandwich. I've brought my wife and daughters in a few times. I’ve continued my patronage at The Collins right up until July 2011.

The place seems to have gone down hill over the last couple years or so. Owner Bobby seems to spend too much time at the bottom of a beer glass and then verbally abusing his customers. His tirades seem to be coming more frequently of late. Recently he ripped into a new customer. A guy who'd never been in there before and who was enjoying lunch with a myself and another regular. Bobby had bought a round for the bar, a practice I believe is a mistake, and then ripped this new customer apart for something about the way he was parked out in that tiny back lot. Neither this new customer or myself will be back to the Collins again. There are enough decent, non abusive bars to go to.

Fred Magillicutty said...

Collins Tavern was one of my favorite places to go for a few beers and a bite to eat. That was until Bobby hired his daughter Melissa to run the place. If you want to be bitched out at loudly in front of the whole place, then go there when Melissa's working. Say the wrong thing to her and she'll let loose with both barrels on you even if you didn't do anything wrong. She's a complete F___ing Bitch. The food is very good, but it's not worth being on the receiving end of her unprofessional treatment that she seems to fire off at will on customers who've been going there for years. She has no idea how to treat a loyal customer. She sucks big time....