I’ve been asked to give the story about the FNC many times. Since this blog is all about stories, it only seems natural that I tell it again, with pictures and naming names.
It all started here
The Friday Night Club was born at a tv commercial pre-production meeting in thr mid 80’s. I don’t remember what we were shooting but the central players were Jameison Fuller, Producer/Director of Jameison/James Productions, Richard Craig/Copywriter, D&E, Jerry Donadio/Jay Gilbert Productions and me, Michel Keidel, AD/Producer, D&E. We met at the now defunked bowling alley, Glenn Schmidt’s Lanes in Newport, KY. Now we could have met in my office or J/Js office, but it was Friday and we usually did happy hour anyway, so we cut out early and went bowling. The pre-pro discussion lasted all but 5 minutes, we bowled and drank and talked about how boring the local watering holes had become. A lot of agency types went to Ogden’s in an alley downtown, it was clicky. I worked at a small up and comer ad agency and the Sive and Northlich crowd wanted no part of me or my peops.
So on that Friday, we decided to find some new places to meet after work. Our quest was to find distinctive dive bars, neighborhood juke joints and local legendary bars, close to downtown. They had to have three distinct qualities; cheap & cold bottled beer, some sort of musical entertainment- a good juke box or band playing later, and finally- something to do, darts, pool, dual flash bar bowling, shuffleboard.
We would call it the Friday Night Club and everyone was invited, everyone. Marketing folks, creatives, long lost friends, family.
We found lots of places.
At first we just called each other, on Friday, decided where to go and went. I’d call you and 5 others, you would call your friends and boom, it’s a party.
So let me back up a skosh, I’m an art director, an artist actually. With the help of my talented coworkers, Ann Small, Steve Weinstein, designer friends, Keith Beckelheimer & Gumby Umbinhour and donated strip tac sticker paper for Libby Remley, we made beautiful stickers so we could identify who was with us. They were stored in an old cardboard 2.25 film can, which I still have. Thousands of stickers were designed and hand cut and stuck in bars across the city. The stickers were the only perk, very collectable and came to be the essence of the FNC spirit.
So we did this every Friday for year or two. D&E had a postage meter, we had just got our first Macs and laserwriters, we assembled a list and started sending out post cards. They were very creative, we took turns doing them. We decided to go to an every-other-Friday schedule, to cut down on odds of DUI trouble. The core group ebbed and flowed, the group started dominating the bars we went to. We widened the circle to the far reaches of the metro area. A few hearty souls went to my hometown of Cleves, twice. We were routinely asked to come back and several bars wanted us every Friday, we resisted. So many good times were had. John Murray and I would play a game of darts for a round every FNC. It was a hell of a ride.
I landed the Hudepohl/Schoenling beer business off of the experience. My Mt Adams apt was stocked with beer for years. So many bars to remember, luckily Steve Weinstein and I went to the top 50 or so and took pictures for full page Enquirer ad to promote Cincinnati. The headline: Cincinnati, a great place for a cold one.
After 10 or so years we slowed down to once a month. It made it more special. As a group, we were only ejected from of two bars, City View for throwing cake and cussing and Mulligans for cussing or something. The FNC record was 98 folks at Frie’s with Cory’s a close second at 96.
So what happened to the FNC? I got remarried & had two kids. My lovely wife, Linda, flies for Delta and leaves on Friday, comes back on Sunday. So I had to stay home on Fridays. I tried to pass it off to the next generation, it takes work and dedication to keep it going.
So we took 15 years off.
Last month I asked Linda if I could have one Friday a month to go out for a beer, she knew why. She will be flying to Paris this Friday but will definitely make the next one.
The future of the FNC is this. We’ll go month to month, starting this Friday, 11/4 at Fries. No more post cards needed because we have Facebook and Tumblr. Join me for a beer or two after work this Friday. Get a sticker or two, bring your friends and ask them to like us on FB. Take pics and post on the Facebook page & Tumblr site. Who knows where this will go but as long as everyone has fun, drives carefully and get’s home safe. we’ll give it a go.