Regular readers know “06880” often laments the loss of things that make a town a community.
Movie theaters. Mom-and-pop shops.
I’m talking about real bars. Not bars attached to restaurants, like so many places in town: Spotted Horse, Tavern on Main, Arezzo, Little Barn, you name it.
And not restaurants with very active bars, like Viva’s and the Duck.
No. I mean actual, go-and-stay-and-drink-and-maybe-have-peanuts-but-a-place-where-everybody-knows-your-name bar.
The Westport equivalent of Cheers.
Parsell’s Purcell’s was that kind of bar, on the Post Road near Southport. So was the Red Galleon, across from Green’s Farms Elementary School.
Ship’s Lantern was too, downtown on the Post Road (before it become The Ships nearby — which today is Tiffany 🙁 ).
Then there was “The Bridge.”
Formally Ye Olde Bridge Grill — though there was nothing formal about it — The Bridge sat on Post Road West, right over the bridge (aha!), a couple of doors down from National Hall (at the time, Fairfield Furniture), and directly opposite Art’s (now Winfield) Deli.
It was around for years, but hit its stride in the 1970s and ’80s. With generous owner Dave Reynolds, popular manager/bartender Dennis Murphy, a large and loyal bunch of regulars, and a jukebox that played the same songs over and over and over again (“Domino” by Van Morrison, anyone?), The Bridge was the kind of gathering spot we just don’t have any more.
(It was also the sponsor of an Under-23 soccer team of the same name. Stocked with the best Westport players of its time, and their friends from the college and semi-pro ranks, it won all kinds of state and regional championships. After every match, players and fans celebrated you-know-where.)
Things change. Rents rose. The drinking age rose too, from 18 to 21.
The Bridge has been gone for 3 decades or so. Today it’s an antiques shop, or something like that.