Ridin’ with Big E for Aug. 9, 2012

Leave it to Beaver to open a Daytona location

For Weekly SurgeAugust 7, 2012 

What has buck teeth, a flat tail, and is heading to Florida?

In a recent interview with Leslye “Mama Beaver” Beaver, owner of both Beaver Bar locations in Murrells Inlet, she broke some pretty big news: The Beaver Bar is opening a new location in the Daytona Beach, Fla. area.

I asked her how long this has been in the works and she told me, “About a year ago I was in Florida when a friend told me about a location there that she said, ‘Looks just like a Beaver Bar.’ When we drove up to check it out, I said, ‘Oh my god...This is it!’”

If all goes according to plans, the new location will open in September, Thursdays through Sundays, year-round - and all week, of course, during Biketoberfest and Bike Week in Daytona Beach. When I asked her how things were progressing; and, if she got any more or less public or political resistance there than here, she was cautiously optimistic. “So far most of the groundwork has been done online and in a few short phone calls.” She told me, “Things have been pretty smooth so far, but as you know, things can go from sugar to shit in a second.”

Much like our rally here is called “Myrtle Beach” Bike Week when the action takes place mostly in Murrells Inlet now, the new so-called “Daytona Beach” location for the Beaver Bar is technically in Ormond Beach, Fla. at 1105 North U.S. 1. The 3,000-square-foot building has a wrap-around porch and sits on two acres, and is walking distance between two legendary biker bars: The Iron Horse and Broken Spoke Saloon. I told “Mama Beaver” I remember years ago when she opened the first Beaver Bar right next to the Original Suck Bang Blow location that I thought, “Who in their right mind would open a biker bar right next to SBB?” She chuckled. I’m not sure if it was because she knew exactly what she was doing at the time, or because maybe she isn’t in her right mind after all. In either case, it she pulled it off.

Fans of her local bars should feel right at home at the Florida location. Beaver said the new venture will keep the same menu, including the Sunday breakfast buffets that, like here, will somehow benefit local charitable efforts. The property even has large oak trees reminiscent of the ones here, which Beaver assured me, “Will also have goats and chickens in them.” (There are metal animal sculptures scattered among the trees limbs.) And the lot will of course have plenty of the Beaver’s signature rocking chairs outside.

I asked if there would also be an outdoor pavilion bar for bands, and she said, “That will come in the future. For now we’ll bring in a rolling stage like we do at the little Beaver.” Initially, the staff will look familiar, too, as the plan for the first rally in Florida is to hire the same Murrells Inlet locals that already know the routine here to meet the needs there. “I’ve always tried to hire locals. This will give our people here the chance to make some extra money.” At the same time, she will have the extra manpower needed during the rallies who already know how to do things the Beaver way. In addition to hooking up the staff, several performers who play here will be put to work at the Florida Beaver, as well.

One of the things that makes The Beaver Bars successful, in my opinion, is the eclectic mix of customers. It is not uncommon to see a biker in full leathers downing a longneck Bud sitting next to a golfer in pastel pants and a sweater vest sipping wine, next to a salty old beach comber drinking rum, across from a table full of preppy college pukes shooting Jäger bombs. Somehow Beaver has figured out how to make everyone feel welcome. I asked if that was her plan for Florida, and she is “Shooting for a little bit of everybody, leaning toward the bikers.”

When I asked if this was just the beginning of a world-wide takeover, and if we’d be seeing new locations in Sturgis (South Dakota) or Laconia (New Hampshire) where huge bike rallies take place each year, Beaver said she was taking things one project at a time. “We have just been so busy. I had to get the property and antique shop across the street [from the Beaver Bar’s County Line location] taken care of; then everything that went into getting the pavilion and outdoor bar built; then we had to get through Bike Week [in May]….” She did let on though that she may have done a little scouting for a possible location in Panama City, Fla., which conveniently is the home of the Thunder Beach Bike Rally, which also takes place in October just before Biketoberfest in Daytona each year.

So if you make it to Daytona’s Fall Rally be sure to stop in at the newest Beaver Bar and let me know what you think.

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