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A Brief History of Darts, a Timeless Bar Game

Bars are social spaces where people from all walks of life can sit down and enjoy drinks together. This core principle of the bar reaches all the way back to ancient times, where Greeks and Romans established taverns as places for people to congregate, drink alcohol, and socialize. Over the centuries, bars have evolved in appearance and the specific types of amenities they offer, but the idea at the heart of the bar remains the same: a place where people can kick back, socialize, and enjoy themselves.

Along with the usual activities of drinking and socializing, games are another way for people enjoy themselves in a bar. One game that you’ll likely encounter often is the game of darts. It’s a common sight to see a group of tipsy people tossing darts at a board with no semblance of accuracy – though they’re certainly enjoying themselves. With its combination of simplicity and enduring popularity, you may have wondered about the origin of this classic bar game. This blog will give a brief rundown of the evolution of darts, and its implementation in bars worldwide.

Slow and Steady Growth

One appeal of darts lies in its ease of access: anyone can pick a dart up and throw it at a board. Of course, the amount of technique and skill required to throw darts accurately is what separates a novice from a skilled player, but for a group of people looking for a bar game to play, darts are a great way to relax and have a good laugh.

The game of darts is a firmly British one, though its origins are most likely placed during the Dark Ages. As such, there aren’t many solid recordings of the development of the game of darts during this time. Most historians agree that darts originated among British soldiers, as both a pastime and a way to practice their aim. Legends dictate that the earliest darts players, who were soldiers, would throw spearheads at various targets, including alcohol containers and tree trunks. The game would grow steadily in popularity until the 19th century, during which it was played by everyone from English nobles to commoners.

Darts and Bars: a Match Made in Heaven?

In 1896, a standardized ruleset for darts was finally established by Brian Gamlin, a carpenter. Finally, people could agree on the game and darts could be widely enjoyed by bar goers – in theory, at least. In practice, that’s not what happened.

Instead of being embraced with open arms by bars, taverns, and pubs across the United Kingdom, darts were a controversial topic. Forms of gambling were outlawed at the time, and darts, termed a “game of chance” due to its high skill gap and enjoyment in bars, fell under this category.

In 1908, a bar owner was taken to court for hosting darts games in his bar. The case was dismissed, setting a precedent for allowing darts in bars and taverns. By the 1930s, darts were played in bars, taverns, and pubs worldwide, finally earning its place among bar goers from all walks of life.

Conclusion

To this day, darts enjoy widespread popularity at both the amateur and professional levels, played by anyone from bar goers to professional darts players, and being hosted in bars and official darts tournaments. Next time you stop by your local Johnny’s Bar & Grill, play a game of darts and participate in this historic game,which makes beauty out of simplicity!

Read This and Drink with Confidence

Ask anyone who drinks alcohol and you’ll hear something different from everybody. One will attest that tequila makes them euphoric and social, another will attribute their sudden rush of aggressiveness to too much Jack Daniels or Vodka. While there is plenty of scientific study about how alcohol affects the brain, there is still not a lot of information on how different types of alcohol work on the body. If you’ve ever wondered how to drink with more confidence, read on!

 A “Standard” to Live By

Did you know that all alcohol whether you’re talking about wine, beer, whiskey, or tequila is the same? All drinkable alcohols are made from ethanol, and ethanol just so happens to be what gets you drunk. The NIH thus has created the “standard drink” model so people can understand that all drinks regardless of their respective sizes contain the same amount of ethanol. A standard drink refers to 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, or 5 ounces of wine.

The Factor of Environment

The way in which you consume alcohol, as well as the environment where you consume it both play important roles in how it will affect your body and mood. Having a few beers while watching TV will feel different than taking 2 back-to-back shots at a club with your friends. This is because your choice of drinking environment is reinforcing the experience you want to have. For example, if you like to philosophize around the fireplace, sipping on a peaty scotch is probably a better choice than shots of Jägermeister and Red Bull.

The company you keep while drinking is also indicative of your mood while drinking. Studies have shown that when individuals are with others that are drinking heavily, they’re more inclined to feel just as intoxicated as their comrades even if they haven’t drunk as much. Choose your friends wisely when you’re planning on consuming alcohol, it will influence your experience heavily.

In the Mix

Are you feeling uncharacteristically tired or hyper after a few cocktails? If your drink is mixed with highly caffeinated or sugary liquids, it will quench the intoxicated feeling even though you’re taking on the same amount of alcohol. Sugar has been found to actually mitigate the effects of intoxication because it slows down the entry of ethanol into the bloodstream.

Conclusion

The best strategy for a fun night out on the town is to moderate your drinking and keep in mind that your experience with alcohol is hinged on both who you’re with as well as what you’re mixing your alcohol in if anything. When you feel like having a standard drink (or two) in an inviting and fun atmosphere, visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill today.


Winter Cocktails to Celebrate the Holidays

With the winter holidays quickly approaching settle down with your Christmas shopping list and ring in the New Year with a flavor-filled cocktail. Whether you’re looking for a new favorite to carry into the new year with you or are simply looking to play around with drink ideas during any holiday parties, read on to discover some fun winter cocktails to keep in mind this year.

Twentieth Century Cocktail

Don’t let the name fool you into thinking this classic has no place on this list. While it originated in the early 1900s, this little drink improves on your basic gin martini by introducing the flavor profiles found in Lillet Blanc, crème de cacao, and lemon juice to liven up your cocktail. Take the time to appreciate the notes of citrus and chocolate as you’re either opening presents or basking in the feeling of fresh starts this New Years.

Bartender mixing an Irish Coffee cocktail.
Bartender mixing an Irish Coffee cocktail.

Midnight Martini

What about a cocktail which packs both flavor and a punch of caffeine to help you reach midnight? To achieve its namesake of the Midnight Martini, this drink shows how sometimes the simple things work just as well as a more complicated recipe. It’s also fun because you only need two-three ingredients (espresso vodka and coffee liqueur) to get the desired coffee taste and effect. If you want to add some extra flavor to your drink, adding a little cinnamon syrup should do just the trick.

Irish Coffee

If you’d like to guarantee your being awake to welcome the new year, but don’t quite want the full alcohol punch the Midnight Martini provides, consider making an Irish Coffee to meet your needs. Using hot coffee, brown sugar syrup, and Irish whisky, you’ll be sure to relax into the celebrations with this warm, classic cocktail.

Icelandic Hot Chocolate

When it comes to winter drinks, nothing really screams “cold weather drink” quite like a cup of tasty hot chocolate. While of course drinking hot chocolate is for everyone, why not add a grown up flair to your glass this holiday season? By mixing hot chocolate, Reyka vodka, Ancho Reyes, and Angostura bitters you’ll be guaranteed a cozy drink that’ll warm you up from the inside while making you feel nostalgic for childhood.

Bloody Mary cocktail.
Bloody Mary cocktail.

Bloody Mary

This is the drink you prepare when you know someone is going to be experiencing a hangover the next morning. Fun fact: a Bloody Mary is the most popular drink on New Year’s Day, which is the reason many call it “Bloody Mary Day.” While you’re shopping for ingredients for your other drinks, it would be helpful to purchase a Bloody Mary mix on your shopping trip for the morning after.  

Thoughts

No matter if you’re planning to attend parties this holiday season or practice your hosting skills, keep these cocktails in mind for a memorable experience. Whether you want to try an Irish Coffee or the classic Twentieth Century Cocktail, take the time to come and visit our bartenders at Johnny’s Bar & Grill this holiday season for great food and drinks this year.

What To Pair with a Turkey Dinner

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, turkey dinners will be abundant with savory sides and decadent desserts to match. But what about the perfect libation to match? There are so many beers, wines, and spirits to choose from, that making the one perfect pairing can seem impossible. We gathered a few suggestions on what to look for to help you narrow down your search so you can enjoy your meal with friends and family in style!

Beer

A frothy brew pairs well with turkey.

If you are a beer fanatic, you know how well it pairs well with some of our grill options. But what about the perfect brew for your turkey? It is important to find a frothy option that will complement not only the turkey, but the side dish options as well. The perfect beer will have a variety and balance of notes, such as fruity, sour, malty, spicy, and hoppy, just to name a few. Options such as a porter, Belgian ale, or Saison brew will capture the notes you are looking for to help bring out the nuances of the season.

Wine

Imbibe in a delicious wine.

There are options available to help satisfy the desires of both white and red wine lovers alike. If you love to savor a glass of red wine, a pinot noir is best due to its low bitterness, which helps enhance the flavors of your food and not overpower them. For white wine lovers, a classy sauvignon blanc is your best option with its aromatic notes to help bring out the flavors of those tasty side dishes.

Spirits

A small shot of whiskey makes all the difference.

Looking to lift your mood with a flavorful spirit? Whiskey, bourbon, and scotch make the best pairing with a turkey dinner. A small pour with a few ice cubes will be more than enough to complement your dinner while still soberly enjoying family time.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you are seeking the best beverage to truly enjoy the holidays or to try to get through the inevitable family drama the holidays like to bring along, we hope our pairing suggestions will help you savor the holiday season. When the holidays are over or you want to go out to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season, make sure to visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill , where we promise to have your favorite drink waiting for you!

Avoiding Common Billiards Mistakes

Many characters in movies and TV shows make billiards look so easy, but in real life, it can be a struggle. Forming a ‘tripod’ position with your thumb and index finger is hard enough. But maintaining it and applying pressure in just the right angle, while keeping the ball pocket and the cue ball in one’s view? It can almost seem impossible. However, things can change drastically with just a few pointers (listed below).

Keep your cue stick still

When aiming at the ball, beginners commonly focus on the front part of the cue stick without being mindful about the back. This can make the stick thrust outward in a wrong direction, whether horizontally or vertically. To fix this mistake, try mock-hitting a few times before actually hitting the ball. Sliding the front end of the cue stick slowly back and forth on the pool bridge you formed with your fingers is a good way to warm up for the shot. Keep the cue stick from wobbling, and take a few seconds to calculate; it’s okay to take your time!

A woman forms a pool bridge with her fingers.

Hold a loose grip

Keeping one’s grasp on the club stiff can be detrimental when golfing; similarly, keeping your grip on the cue stick loose is crucial to playing billiards well. A loose grip on the stick means a freer rein on the direction of the shot and a more relaxing experience. Also, a flexible stance can contribute to loosening your arms and hands. Therefore, if you’re finding it hard to relax your grip, try and see if the rest of your body is tense. Before you know it, scoring should become easy-breezy.

A man aims at a ball with his cue stick.

Harness the shooting speed

The laws of physics dictate that the greater the distance between the ball and the hand applying pressure on the cue stick (usually one’s dominant hand), the greater the impact of the shot must be. By remembering this rule, one can use it to one’s advantage; by arranging your position in a certain way, you can save your strength better and strategize each shot wisely. This process can be hard to perfect overnight, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Let your body become familiar with the feel of the cue stick and the stances of your body. The muscle memory should pay off in the long run.

Friends surround a man who aims at a billiard ball.

Conclusion

Even veteran pool players can tell you that this is not the simplest game in the world to play. However, when practice and physics meld together perfectly, putting that ball in should become second nature soon enough. Try out these new tips at Johnny’s Bar & Grill. And let others know how they can play better!

The Origins of “Happy Hour”

If you like to drink, you’re not alone. Every day, millions of Americans across the nation seek out their favorite watering hole and whet their whistle during happy hour. While the idea of the happy hour started being used by restaurants and bars starting in the 70s, the term has roots that stretch back many decades earlier. The following is where happy hour came from, and how it’s thought to have entered into the vocabulary of the general public.

Naval Slang

Happy hour these days is clearly linked to getting slightly intoxicated without making too big a dent in your wallet, but the term itself comes from American Naval slang in the 1920s following the First World War. A “Happy Hour” was an allotted period of time on a ship where sailors engaged in various forms of entertainment to relieve the boredom of their everyday life.

Prohibition

At the same time, the U.S. was going through the driest spell in the history of drinking: Prohibition. The failed experiment that got legal standing by the infamous Volstead Act. During Prohibition, the manufacture, transport, and sale of most alcoholic beverages were prohibited. But instead of abiding by the newly enacted laws, Americans became as alcoholic as ever and would gather together in secret speakeasies or at home to consume some wines, spirits, and beer to get a nice buzz going before dinnertime. “Happy Hour” as an expression was soon picked up for these illegal gatherings, either directly or secondhand, from the naval slang that referred to combat the boredom of seafaring.

It Persisted

Though Prohibition was later repealed, the concept stuck around. Some think that a newspaper article from 1959 that mentioned the happy hour in regards to military life introduced the expression to the public. Over time “happy hour” spread into the vernacular of the general population. By the 70s and 80s, the foodservice industry co-opted the term for the food and drink specials we know and appreciate today!

Conclusion

Currently, 23 states have banned restaurants and bars from selling alcoholic drinks at reduced fixed prices, effectively making happy hour illegal. Other states like Pennsylvania encourage a bar’s ability to enact drinking specials whenever they please. Regardless of where you live, happy hour is likely something you will hear about at some point in your life. For the best deals, visit Johnny’s Bar and Grill. We’ll be happy to sell you discounted drinks and food during happy hour!

Tips for Safe Drinking in Warm Weather

When the sun is out and everyone is free to hang out, alcohol is sure to be present! If you’re planning a day of drinking out in the sun, follow along with this month’s blog to ensure you stay safe while having fun. Nothing will ruin your fun under the sun like a trip to the hospital. 

Alcohol’s Effects

Many people enjoy a nice cold drink while spending time with friends and family. What many people don’t think about during this time, is the effects the sun will have on you while enjoying an adult beverage. The sun is going to make the influence of alcohol much stronger. It can become dangerous when you are hot and sweating in the sun and replenishing those fluids with alcohol instead of something hydrating. You will feel the effects of the alcohol sooner and depending on what you’re doing, this could be dangerous. The feeling of being drunkenness can seemingly pop up out of nowhere!

Water Fun

Enjoying your time in the sun is usually accompanied by spending time in the water. When you’re drinking and near large bodies of water, it imperative that you keep your wits about you. Accidental drowning is common when you’re intoxicated and messing around in deep water. Another thing to look out for is operating water vehicles. If you’re drinking, you should never operate a boat, a jet ski, or a sea-doo. Avoid anything that needs to be driven through the water if you’ve been drinking. 

Staying Hydrated

One way to combat the effects of alcohol is by staying hydrated throughout the day. When you’re in the sun, you’re sweating and losing fluids. Drinking alcohol without excessive sweating makes you dehydrated, so imagine how quickly you can become dehydrated while drinking in the sun! A common mistake people make is drinking their cold, alcoholic beverage when they feel thirsty. The first sign of dehydration is thirst, and combating your thirst with more alcohol is just asking for trouble. Instead of this tactic, we suggest having an entire glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage you have. Another tip people find beneficial is to drink water until they aren’t thirsty anymore, then enjoy their alcohol!

Conclusion

Drinking in warm weather, while fun and enjoyable, can be dangerous. We recommend staying away from large bodies of water and consuming equal or more amounts of water with each beverage. Another way to stay out of trouble is by coming on down to Johnny’s Bar & Grill to enjoy to drinks in the safety of our bar! Head on over to our website to learn more about our offers.

The Science of the Chicken Wing

A chicken wing is a magnificent thing. Its flavor? Amazing. Its texture? Mesmerizing. But what exactly makes this finger food work? Below are some of the major elements that wonderfully mesh together. See if you are familiar with them all!

Seasoning

Getting the seasoning right for chicken wings is a crucial step in making them memorable. Today, the variations are numerous; habanero, cheddar, harissa, red pepper flakes, and orange juice concentrate all form the chicken wing scene. Daring experimenters add new ingredients day and night to invent new recipes and surprise our palates!

Crispiness

Chicken wings that acquire the lovely golden brown hue provide impossibly munchable surfaces. Once the chicken wings have been marinated, covered with an egg mixture, and covered with flour, they can take a plunge into the intense oven (or deep-fryer) heat oil, where the wings reach crispy perfection. Cooking the wings twice can make them even crispier. The wings can also be fried “naked,” meaning without any battering or breading.

Vinegar

Along with butter and sauce, vinegar makes up a significant portion of the magic of chicken wings. Not only are many wings covered with vinegar-and-cayenne pepper hot sauce, but they are also blanched in water with some vinegar (for the sake of sending extra fat into the water, and lopping those calories from the snack). Items like the rice wine vinegar can sprinkle some additional kick into fruit-glazed wings. Apple cider vinegar, in combination with melted butter and hot sauce, can create an appetizing emulsion.

Sauces

One can’t talk about this ingenious snack without talking about the sauces. The classic Buffalo sauce cayenne pepper and paprika give the chicken that perfectly sweet and pungent quality; the buttery hot sauce gives the chicken just the right amount of spicy and tangy. For those who don’t want butter, honey is another option; as a natural emulsifier and sweetener, the viscous and healthy substance is an excellent thickening agent. Teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce have also become ways to serve unconventional chicken wings.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Assemble the team, fetch the dipping sauces, and go wash your fingers; prepare for a feast! A mouthwatering meal for your group of friends and kin isn’t going to eat itself. Devise strategies to enjoy the snacks in creative ways. For a nice outing with chicken wings, simply drop by Johnny’s Bar & Grill!

Rules for Enjoying the Game in a Bar

If you’re a sports fan watching the game in a bar with friends, keep in mind some of these unspoken rules to have a truly enjoyable experience.

Sports bar interior.

Sports bar interior.

Don’t Be a Hater

If you enjoy sitting with friends and watching the game in a bar, make sure to support and focus on the fun. If your team didn’t make it into the playoffs or the Super Bowl, don’t sit and complain the night away; instead, choose to cheer for your friend’s team. Remember to enjoy the time watching the game and not spend it sulking.

 

Open a Tab

A kind thing to do when watching the game is to open a tab and take some stress from the bartender’s mind. This is the best way to reassure them that you’ll pay at the end of your evening, while also allowing you to keep track of how much you’re drinking so you don’t overspend or over drink.

 

Don’t Get too Loud

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the game and rooting for your team, but keep in mind your location. Feel free to express the love you have for your team, but remember that not everyone will have the same enthusiasm. When you’re watching the game in a bar, be mindful of the other patrons around you and keep the volume down so the other people can have a nice evening out too.

Watching sports in a bar.

Watching sports in a bar.

Respect Other Fans

Keep in mind that if your team didn’t make it into the final game, or isn’t currently playing on the bar’s televisions, that doesn’t mean the other sports fans in the bar feel the same. Don’t go after someone else’s choice in teams just because yours didn’t make it. Keep the conversation and banter light rather than going for low blows about the other person’s choices.

 

Thoughts

There’s never anything wrong with going out with your friends for a drink at your favorite bar while enjoying the game on the television screens. Keep these ideas in mind when coming into our bar to enjoy the game and we at Johnny’s Bar & Grill will be here to welcome you with a beer and great food.

How Did Burgers Come About?

In a cursory glance, the word “hamburger” may look like a portmanteau of the words “ham” and “burger.” Does this mean that the food originated in English-speaking circles and had ham in its original form? Prepare to be surprised and delighted by the story of how the essential parts of the modern hamburger came together!

The patty

According to food historian George Motz, the beginnings of the patty can be traced to the Mongols of the 13th century, who stuffed raw mutton bits under their saddles as to tenderize them. Motz claims that Russians subsequently enjoyed a similar medley of minced raw beef and spices, and bequeathed the food to the Germans three centuries later. Germans who emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-19th century often had to wait at the Port of Hamburg for ships, and it was there that Motz suspects they enjoyed Hamburg steak, a dish that consisted of chopped, cooked beef, potatoes, and gravy. This dish came to America and was served everywhere from high-end restaurants like Delmonico’s to the food carts of Manhattanites.

 

The buns

One of the stories about the birth of the patty-between-two-buns form of the burger has to do with a 15-year-old Wisconsinite named Charlie Nagreen: In 1885, Nagreen brought his meatball-loaded oxcart to the Seymour County Fair in Hortonville and placed smashed meatballs between two pieces of bread. The item was an immediate hit with the German crowd in the area; their familiarity with the Hamburg steak could only help. Year after year, the item became upgraded—the bread turned into buns and pickles made a debut. A different origin story for the burger involves a Texan named Fletch Davis; Davis brought his sandwich to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where others mocked the copious amount of ground beef as being barbaric.

 

The cheese

The delectable slice of cheese is indispensable for many cheeseburger connoisseurs today. In 1924, the 16-year-old cook Lionel Sternberger (an ironic name), who worked at his father’s sandwich shop, The Rite Spot, reputedly placed cheese onto a cooking hamburger. Both Lionel and his father liked the combination so much that they named it the “cheese hamburger.” Fifteen years later, the earliest known record of the word “burger” became a shorthand for “hamburger.”

 

Conclusion

There are many household names that pop up when one looks into the history of the patty: White Castle; Menches; Louis’ Lunch. Figuring out which original burger claimant is telling the truth may take a while, but one thing is immediately obvious: We must be grateful for the juicy goodness we get to enjoy today. And guess what? Johnny’s Bar & Grill offers burgers of our own! So come enjoy a yummy, hearty meal today!

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