Located in downtown Lock Haven, the Riverside Saloon is a bar where, previously, not many college students would consider spending a night out.
However, the bar recently came under new ownership by two youthful, enthusiastic, local businessmen: Kevin Hanna and Chris Darwin. For nearly 20 years, it was a bar where mostly townsfolk spent their evenings playing pool or darts. Now they have a dance floor where local DJs play music on the weekends.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, these DJs play music, mostly hip hop and electronic renditions of Top 40 music, starting at 10 p.m. and lasting until close, at 2 a.m. At first, customers seemed skeptical; they would peek their heads in from the other side and see the DJ would be playing music, but that no one would be dancing, so they would retreat back to the other side.
However, as word of mouth spreads in Lock Haven, people are becoming more aware that there is a place other than the Fallon to dance at.
On Saturday night the dance floor at the Saloon was nearly full.
As business gets better, they also plan on having bands as well as DJs.
“It is different than a lot of bars around here now; before it was more for townspeople than students. I especially enjoy their selection of beers,” Travis Norton, LHU senior in criminal justice, said.
Hanna and Darwin support Pennsylvania by offering a selection of PA microbrews.
“Pennsylvania has some of the best microbrews. There is such a large variety and we’re so close, but a lot of people can’t travel to visit them all. So by offering them here, we give people the ability to taste PA’s best,” Darwin said.
Slowly but surely, they are transforming the bar to fit their vision, but not so much that it is no longer the Riverside Saloon, because they’ve decided to stick with the name.
They’re keeping the overall look and style of the Saloon; especially because they both agree that it just has that “Saloon feel” to it, but just cleaning it up a bit.
Their ultimate goal is to be a sort of hybrid of a sports bar and nightclub, and so far business has been on the “constant upward trend,” as Darwin said.
Another major focus of the two owners is food. Before, the Saloon only offered small snacks behind the bar. The goal now is to eventually evolve to a restaurant status. They are currently trying to get the long out-of-commission kitchen back together.
Their goal is to start serving food by the beginning of next semester.
“Our down-the-road plan is to offer something different than this area has seen. We will always have the regular pub food, but we’ll also have a much bigger variety. We’ll start out doing burgers, fries, gourmet grilled cheese, and locally produced hot dogs and sausages,” said Kevin, who will be in charge of the kitchen.
Currently the Saloon is offering a variety of drink specials, which are always posted on their Facebook page.
“We want to give people a place to come together and have a good time, in a good atmosphere,” he said.