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Pump Bar’s Blast Off New Year's Eve bash encourages revelers to orbit Uptown 23rd District

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Uptown 23rd District watering hole The Pump Bar goes intergalactic as it speeds into the new year with its space-themed, retro-futuristic Blast Off to 2017 bash 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 31.

The party spans the venue’s bar and heated outdoor tent at 2425 N. Walker Ave. and features a champagne toast at midnight.

“It will actually be warmer out there than in here,” co-owner Hailey McDermid said about the toasty-warm tent, which covers the venue’s outdoor patio area.

Vinyl Carte Blanche DJs spin soul, funk and disco hits 9 p.m.-2 a.m. McDermid said dress for the celebration — all the dining, drinking, retail and entertainment district’s New Year’s Eve events are “come as you are.”

Blast Off to 2017 is part of this year’s districtwide holiday celebration.

“I have a great relationship with all the different bars,” she said. “The Savings and Loan Co., Rockford [Cocktail Den], we’re all doing a no-cover thing.”

Though The Pump never charges a cover, many of the district’s establishments are foregoing at-the-door admission on Dec. 31 to encourage guests to stay longer and enjoy the full district.

“You’re not locked into one thing,” McDermid said. “You can barhop — you can go to the other bars, and you are not going to get locked down into one place.”

The Pump’s past is significant to Oklahoma City and venue owners Ian and Hailey McDermid.

Storied past

The location’s history includes rumors of bootlegging that date back to the former Texaco service station’s initial owner, native Oklahoman and pro sports player Chili Mac.

“Chili Mac, he was a ballplayer,” McDermid said. “This was the late 1920s, early ’30s. I don’t know if he was specifically a bootlegger or whether they just used this [location] as an operation, but there was a battery house in the back and you would pull into the back and they would load crates of booze into your car.”

The rumors persisted even after Elmer Gentry bought the venue and renamed it Elmer’s Texaco in 1953.

“He had the most expensive gas in town — that was the story,” McDermid said. “You would come in and he gave you a key to the bathroom liquor cabinet. The guys would come in, get their gas and have a nip.”

It closed in 1976 and sat dormant till 2012, when the McDermids took it over and spent two years making renovations before opening in December 2014.

Two years later, riding the success of The Pump Bar, the McDermids are developing The Bunker Club, which they describe as a dive bar, at 443 NW 23rd St. It’s inspired by 1950s and ’60s Cold War-era public service announcements and propaganda and should open soon.

“I never thought we’d be opening a second location two years after opening this place,” she said.

Print Headline: Party portalThe Pump Bar’s Blast Off bash encourages revelers to orbit Uptown 23rd District venues on New Year’s Eve.

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