Craft beers and cocktails, live music, trivia and terrible movies. Visitors of Auntie Mae’s Parlor can either stay upstairs to play pool or travel underground where the basement bar is kept. Auntie Mae’s Parlor offers a variety of entertainment for the Manhattan community.
According to the bar’s Facebook page, Auntie Mae’s Parlor may be considered one of Manhattan’s oldest bars, but Jeff Denney has only owned it since 2008 and works to keep different types of entertainment in the small basement bar in Aggieville.
He receives around a dozen calls and emails a day from artists wanting to perform all types of music, from jazz to punk rock.
“In Aggieville, we’re about it for smaller venues where local bands can play,” Denney said. “I think we have a little bit of an impact on (the local music scene).”
Because of the limited number of spaces in town, Denney said his bar is usually booked for performances about six months in advance. Often times, he ends up having to pay out of pocket for these bands to come in because there is not enough money made through cover charges, but Denney still believes in keeping live music going in the community.
“It’s a really good community,” Denney said. “The people involved in local music at the local level are some of the best people I ever met. They’ll go out of their way to support everything they do…I like to be the meeting place for these people.”
Besides the artsy band members Denney often sees hanging out at Auntie Mae’s, he said there is a wide variety of people who come in. He tries to make the bar a place where many different kinds of people can feel comfortable.
Josh Lynch, assistant manager at Auntie Mae’s Parlor, said it is a “mixed bag” of patrons. Music fans, Manhattan locals, graduate students and Kansas State faculty are just some of the people who make up the clientele of the bar he calls his Disneyland. He said he typically works during shows.
“It gets pretty crowded and is a little like a house show,” Lynch said. “People are dancing and having fun.”
Aside from live music performances, Denney tries to keep Auntie Mae’s busy with other events. These have been monthly open mic comedy shows, trivia game nights, horrible movie nights, which is when the bar plays some of the worst movies Denney can think of, and even a meat raffle every now and then, where people buy a ticket and could walk out with a frozen turkey or something similar.
“It’s a good bar for everybody,” Jeff Kreuser, Auntie Mae’s trivia host, said. “There’s something in it for everybody.”
Kreuser said the variety of events, such as the fundraisers, art shows and live music performances are what make Auntie Mae’s Parlor a unique place in Manhattan. Kreuser hosted the 13th anniversary trivia night, on Wednesday. It also marked his 13th year hosting weekly trivia night in the bar’s basement.
One thing Kreuser notes about Auntie Mae’s is the home atmosphere. He said students might come in during the early evenings when it is quieter to study as well as coming out to party and enjoy the wide variety of events hosted there, which are listed on the Auntie Mae’s Parlor website.
“Jeff (Denney) is really good about using the bar as a venue for the town and for the people and the students,” Kreuser said.