ON & OFF THE BEATEN PATH :: Special Edition From Orlando

by David Daugherty on March 23, 2011


Widely known as Orlando’s premier English pub (though we don’t really know how many there are), Cricketers Arms is one of those atmospheric establishments with a great theme and feel.

Pam Haines, a follower of an earlier blog I started and charter YBN friend, had been waiting a long time for me to come to Florida and check out this favorite pub of hers.

Our son, Anthony flew down to help us celebrate our anniversary, so Judy took off to play with him as Pam picked me up and we headed out for Cricketers on St. Patrick’s Day evening. I figured it would be a crazy night and it was. I briefly met Phil Coppon, owner of Cricketers, but given the occasion, I barely had a chance to throw him a compliment, though we pledged to stay in touch and off he went.

Beams at Cricketers

This is the second location for Cricketers. Pam, a long time patron, had explained that the original pub had that strong stale beer smell when you walked through the door, much like a lot of the older bars and saloons we’ve all visited. The twist here, though, is in Phil’s solution: he moved a major part of the old bar to what APPEARS to be the modern new location—wooden beams and posts, basically the whole skeletal remains of an old barn built in the 1860s and brought over here from England. I was totally in awe of the thought of such a project as I took in the feel of this old wooden structure. I was thrilled that Pam had brought me here.

Dave & Jeff Howell

The other treat Pam had in store for me was meeting her friends, one of which was the talented one-man band of the evening, Jeff Howell, a guitar playing, singer/songwriter recording artist and radio personality with a singular way of twisting some old standards—injecting his own style, which encompasses blues, rock and even a little jazz; adding a lot of humor makes his act one-of-a-kind.

Talking with Jeff led us to something for all you NE Ohio fans—either older, fixated, or both—as long time followers of the Hoolihan & Big Chuck Show (which started in the ‘70s) on Channel 8 in “Beautiful downtown Cleveland”! This came on the heels of the legendary Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson) hosting a weekly Friday “Fright Night,” Big Chuck actually starting as Ernie’s cameraman! Much great silliness!

Upon learning I currently hail from NE Ohio, Jeff told me that Mariano “Mushmouth” Pacetti, a regular on Hoolihan & Big Chuck, played sax with him! For those of you who don’t know, Mushmouth was ruler of the weekly “pizza fights,” in which he consistently won the pizza eating contests…until being defeated by “Chris the Fairview Fireball.” Chris, a 65-pound German shepherd ended up eating more fully loaded pizza in the one minute allotted, only to have the crown given back to Mushmouth because the rules clearly stated that the contestant must be a human being. Winner by default, Mushmouth took it! These were classics, and yes, gentle reader, a historical event meriting the gravitas it clearly deserves!

Amy & Pam

It’s a small world folks (and yeah, I know there’s an Orlando pun in there). Thanks to Pam, a great host. I had the pleasure of meeting her kids, Becky and Patrick, and her friend Amy, an original Cricketers Arms Pub vet…from East Liverpool OH, not far from where I grew up. Once again (cue the trumpeters), the legend of the Ubiquitous Armies of Ohio grows!

If you would like us at YBN to visit and feature your favorite bar, tavern, brew pub or microbrewery, do not hesitate to contact us here at www.yourbeernetwork,com. Alternately, until we can come visit, SEND US your own stories and pics with your favorite places. We’d love to hear from you!

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