Welcome to the New Normal
Owned and named by Tripp Johnson, this college town bar located on the west side of Newhope near Franklin University caters to just about everyone – straight, gay, bisexual, transsexual – you name it, you’re welcome there. There is a feel of activity and excitement about the bar, but despite that, it is a reputable place that has the approval of the university, which provides it with some of its unique qualities.
The bar itself is the size of a small warehouse with two actual bars and a dance floor big enough to hold everyone who comes in. So usually there are 3 people at each bar during peak hours. Tripp generally doesn’t hire college students though he has a few on his staff who have somehow proven their want to be there. Most of the people he hires are professionals at what they do and aren’t just looking for some extra cash. Tripp also hires generally attractive men and women who are able to hold up a conversation. Even his bouncers are required to have some personality. Tripp personally sees to ensuring his bouncers, bartenders, and wait staff are trained to work the way he wants them to and they all have gone through orientations and refresher trainings where he brings in professional trainers (specific to each type of person) to work with them. For example, he’ll bring in someone to train them on signs to look for when someone has had too much to drink and what to do about it.
Tripp is constantly keeping an eye out for need within the community and specifically the university community. A few years back, after a particularly bloody DWI accident, Tripp got volunteers from the university and a bus to serve as escorts to and from campus. The effect was a win-win situation. The students got a safe ride to the bar and a safe ride back and the bar got an influx of patrons. To the present day, the busing system is still working with volunteers coming from the university’s service fraternity. After a rash of muggings the year before, Tripp organized some safety events at the bar during daylight hours led by a safety instructor whom he managed to convince to volunteer her time. At the end of the seminar, all participants got a pamphlet of helpline and emergency phone numbers and a coupon for free entrance into the bar. Tripp also likes to have fun and he’s held events such as designated women/men night where the women or men are encouraged to come and dance and stay sober. He’s also tried things like hosting an annual Battle of the bands as well as an unexpectedly successful Chef night where he got in some performing chefs to amaze the crowd and eat while they drink.
Despite all of these neat sounding things and good intentions, it is still a bar that caters to college students and people get drunk, they get stupid. They get into fights, get sick, or just mumble incoherently in the corner. Those things are there. Just covered up as much as Tripp can manage. One final thing is that when working, each person has a small earpiece to keep in contact with the rest of the staff. So the bartender could signal a few bouncers in a matter of seconds if necessary, hence keeping more of a kibosh on the more volatile disruptions.