By Terry Card
Jack was working behind the bar and it was hot in the lounge. An idea to keep cool hit him. He opened the top of the glass chiller and let the cool air ride up under his vest.
His eyes rested on forty people who had come into the bar lounge area, each holding a wand. He knew they had been to the Ghost Tour Dinner and they were now searching for ghosts using their wands. The wands would signal the presence of ghosts indicated by the chill associated with the dead.
One swept his wand over the bar, through the air cooling Jack, and the wand lit up. Others did the same. Soon all were surrounding the bar as their wands lit up. Jack had his back to the crowd, ignoring them.
A gentleman, wanting to know why their wands were lighting up, tried to attract Jack’s attention. “Excuse me.” Jack ignored him. Louder still, the gentleman repeated, “Excuse me!” Still no reaction!
Frustrated, the man slapped his palm on the bar top and shouted, “Excuse me!” Jack slowly turned, looked him in the eye and said, “Oh, you can see me?” He watched as forty jaws thudded to the floor.
Jack, ever the character with his dry humor, is the perfect bar owner, and he has had a lot of practice at it, having owned three bars in Galveston.
Born in Belton, Texas, a small city of 18,000 between Austin and Waco, Jack attended public high school and college there. In keeping with Jack’s dry, humorous streak, he attended an All Girls school, the College of Mary Hardin-Baylor, part of the Baylor University system. It was while attending this college that he met his wife, Sandra.
Over the course of his life he has had a varied career, flying for the Navy while stationed in Spain among other bases, working for various cable companies in sales and marketing, until he finally started his own company specializing in sales and marketing in the cable industry.
After retiring from that industry, and having worked as a bartender, becoming head bartender at the Tremont, he decided to buy the Market Street Tavern at 23rd St. and Market St. Unfortunately, the success of the Tavern ran headlong into Ike, which destroyed it.
Finally, after searching for a location to open a new bar, Jack found a building with commercial space available on the north side of Postoffice, between 24th and 25 St. Previously, it had been a beauty shop, but as of April 2009, it transformed into Jack’s Pub. Fortunately, he had very loyal customers from his previous Tavern, allowing him to have them as a backstop while he slowly attracted new patrons. Starting over again in a new spot is not easy, but over time, Jack’s Pub downtown has become a success.
Contributing to that success, are his people. Jack maintains that the people who work with him are his most important asset – and it shows. All one has to do is check the reviews praising Jack and his staff. The employee turnover at many bars is very high, but Jack has had people with him for years. He is very particular about each and every employee he hires, looking for honesty, likeability with a caring attitude (which he insists is different from just a good personality), and of course efficiency, along with being a good worker.
Almost as important is the product he serves his customers and Jack has the largest selection of Irish whiskey in Galveston, among which is the whisky from the oldest distillery in Ireland, that was established in 1757: Kilbeggan Distillers in County Westmeath. In addition, he has great Irish draft beer such as George Killians Irish Red.
His downtown location is renowned for the catfish, tasty pizza, and hamburgers they serve as well.
Recently, Jack decided to open another pub in addition to the one at his downtown location. Also called Jack’s Pub, it is in a small plaza on the West End, which has a gas station and variety/liquor store as well as Coastal Creations boutique. Located at Seawall (FM 3005) and Cove View Road, across from the Diamond Beach condominiums, there is a highly visible Jack’s Pub sign on the north side of FM 3005, very near the end of the Seawall.
Jack views this as his retirement bar. It is located very close to his home, making the trek to the bar much easier than to the downtown location. However, he does not appear to be ready to retire any time soon. Both pubs are open seven days a week, 4pm-2am; he prides himself on being a hands-on owner. “You will find me at either one bar or the other most times. Without being hands-on, it is very difficult to monitor costs, ensure staff is properly trained, and maintain the level of cleanliness I require.”
And Jack’s Pub at the Seawall is clean, everywhere. As most people know, one of the best ways to gauge the cleanliness of an establishment is by the restrooms. Not only are they impeccably clean at Jack’s, but he has gone to extra lengths to make them be entertaining, filling the walls with rare pictures of Marilyn Monroe, some donated by customers, and others Jack has collected over time.
Jack’s Pub at the Seawall has the same great service, and liquor selection as the original, and serves delicious pizza, hot dogs, and sliders – making it a great new neighborhood bar.
On those unusual occasions when Jack is not at one of his bars, you might find him chasing the wind, breathing the sea air in through his nostrils, astride his Harley Davidson 1200cc Sportsman, or you might find him starting a new novel, a sequel to his previous two novels.
That’s Jack! Bar owner, author, motorcycle, and Marilyn Monroe enthusiast – an enigma in most places – but of course he fits right in, in Galveston, where being eccentric may be normal, or perhaps, paranormal. You never know!
2406 Postoffice St., downtown, (409)539-5595
3802 Cove View Blvd., West, (409)497-4372