The First First Bars

ith over 100 liquor places in San Pedro, dozens of bars, a few discotheques, restaurant bars, and liquor departments in many stores and gift shops, one would imagine that people would like to know when did it all start (the liquor business) and how far will it go? What are the plans for the future and what is in store for the next generation to come?

We all can guess what's in stock for the future, but we do have some information about our early liquor establishments. We are told that there was "El Casino." Dances were held there and liquor was sold as well. That place was located at present day Central Park. Then there was "La Academia," The village band played there and dances wore held there too and liquor was sold there as well. Perhaps these were the bus of the "1930's: But -were they open full time 15 hour's a day? It is unlikely so. Rather they were in operation only where a special activity was going on. Our grandfathers tell us that it was difficult to buy rum. Beer was unknown and whisky was only contraband stuff. So what did they drink? ' White rum. A few addicted to the habit drank Bay Rum, the rubbing alcohol. They drank it mixed with red or strawberry sodas or lemonade as we called it.

Now in' the early forties and '50's there was a store named "El Comisariato" owned by Papa Blake, one of the original owners of the entire island. At this store there was general merchandise and you could, purchase Guiness Stout and some pints of liquors, not to be consumed in the premises. In the 1950's also Mr. Daddy Paz Sr., owned a store at the foot of the main pier, Daddy's Store. In due time there was an addition and the birth of Daddy's Club. Per- haps this Daddy's Club may belooked at as the very first commercial bar. There you could get the beers and a variety of rums, etc. Daddy's Club ex- panded into the 1960's with pool tables and juke box and a dance hall-of its own. This was the most popular place in its days and it grew into the 80's and 90's and now a full- fledged discotheque and bar.

Also in the 1960's and 70's there was the popular, "Mari nos Bar" with pool tables, juke box, football tables and dance hall. Another notable bar establishment was "'Skin Diver's Club" owned by Ovidio Guerrero at the very corner of Martha's Hotel. After that, bars started popping up here and there at random. Liquor was. placed on the shelves of hotels, restaurants, stores, gift shops, bookstores and saloons. Will we see the liquor on the shelves of fruit markets, drug stores, beauty salons, or at the food vendors at Central Park? This is up to what our representatives will allow. In the 1950's the ratio was 1 bar to 500 persons. Today it is 1 liquor establishment to every 65 persons. Don't jump out of your shoes; just tighten your seatbelt.

In the next articles, I'm sure you will also want hear of "La Academia" and "El Casino" of the 1930's and 1940's. We'll get there. Also about the contraband whisky.

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