Springfield: Shantytown, Sixth and Main

by Tim Gilmore, 6/26/2012

Most of the bar is its back yard—an outside bar, chairs and tables and umbrellas and elaborate graffiti of gorillas and politicians on the inside privacy fences, a Sex Pistols flag on the ceiling of a backyard lean-to. You might get a whiff of pot back there from time to time, not that anybody knows anything about that.

The barroom inside, with its stage and its bathroom with no door, is much smaller. Rarely now are Marianne and Ian there, the twentysomething founders of the bar who got their start at the now defunct London Bridge Eatery and Pub at Ocean and Adams Streets and most recently opened Lomax Lodge in Five Points. John, the longhaired UNF business major, can still sometimes be found tending bar. You can always find the mop-headed Englishman at the bar, sloshed on Guinness, who once told a longhaired, goateed writer at the bar, in explanation of the number of British Indians in London, “We invited all the colonials, but we never thought they’d come.”

“Unnamed Bartender” was who all the media outlets and even the blogs said shot the man who came into Shantytown and waved around a nailgun at a little past midnight. Rumors quickly spread about who was tending bar that night. He shot him three times. Newspaper commentators and bloggers called him a patriot and a hero and said they saluted him.

When the three high school friends whom he hadn’t seen in at least 15 years met up at Shantytown and had a Yuengling, among the things about which they reminisced was the movie they had shot with a Camcorder back in the early 1990s, before they all drove down to Lollapalooza in Orlando. One of them still had the script, if he could find it, or the screenplay, or whatever it should be called. The actual recording existed on a VHS tape no one had watched in as many years. It consisted of people jumping out from behind pine trees at friends gathered around a campfire. It was supposed to be a horror film. They set up a time to get together and watch it. In between that time and the shooting of the so-called movie, their lives had happened to them.