‘Ville home to several history-rich bars, legends, locations

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Aggieville is not only a great place to hang out but is also a place of history. Apart from being home to the world’s oldest Pizza Hut, it also houses old bars with rich history and stories behind them, including Kite’s Grille and Bar and O’Malley’s Alley, to name a few.

One bar that has been here for decades is Aggie Lounge on 12th Street. According to the bar’s current owner Brian Giber, it has been around since 1952.

The bar has changed names multiple times over the years. It was first named Athens, when the owner was of Greek origin. It was later called the Hideaway.

It has held its current name of Aggie Lounge since the 1960s according Bob Hennes, Giber’s source and long time Manhattan resident. Hennes has since passed away, according to Giber. Giber said his father, Tony, bought the bar in 1971.

The bar was predominantly a country bar until the 1970s, and later on became a mix of everything because of the variety of crowd that comes in.

“Everybody comes in now,” Giber said.

The bar has survived over the years by maintaining low overhead costs, according to Giber.

“It has had its ups and downs over the years,” he said.

What makes the bar unique and significant is that during its beginning years students used to go to the bar on a regular basis. They would show up years after graduation to hang out, according to Giber. He said it may be because they all have a lot of fond memories at the bar.

Another bar that has lasted the years is Auntie Mae’s Parlor, which has been in Aggieville since 1974, according to owner Jeff Denney, a Manhattan resident and K-State alumnus.

Denney has co-owned the bar since 1998 and became the sole owner in 2008. He said that the bar does not conform to any one theme.

“I think it is just a kind of hang out place,” Denney said.

He also said that the bar is a place for people to lay back and relax, rather than dance or do anything crazy.

Charlie Bush, the original owner of the bar, still lives in Manhattan and said it was his wish to keep the bar a place for the older college crowd to hang out and talk, and that they have tried to hold true to that, according to Denney.

“We have tried not to transform very much,” Denney said.

He added that Auntie Mae’s is a place of rich local history. The building that houses the parlor was built in the 1920’s.

“Legend has it that this was a speakeasy place back in the day,” Denney said.

By speakeasy, Denney said it was a place people met clandestinely to hang out and drink during the time when alcohol prohibition was enforced in the U.S. Denney added that it is an interesting factoid to think about when visiting the place.

Denney said the bar’s secret to its longevity and success is the way they come up with new ideas and things to do in the bar setting. For example, Auntie Mae’s recently added a photo booth function in the bar. The bar also hosts game nights.

“I love the fact that we have trivia nights going on,” Denney said.

The secret is to try and find what people like and would want to do without having to put in a dance floor, according to Denney.

K-State is one of the oldest universities in the country. There is a lot of history associated with the university and the town itself. It’s something to consider when headed to Aggieville this weekend.

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