As I began this blog journey of recalling the various bars I've visited in Boise and the experiences I've had, there is one bar that, unfortunately, will never be visited again. A friendly bar where everyone in fact did know your name. A bar you and your friends could hang out all day and have no real care for time and space. That place was the Iron Gate.
The Iron Gate was located above the restaurant at the University Inn on the Boise State campus. The bar was an ideal place for students to meet after a difficult test, a long semester, or even just for fun on a Friday night. On many nights, going to the Iron Gate simply involved unlimited popcorn, cheap pitchers of domestic beer, a sports game on the giant television, and good friends. If sitting around and watching sports wasn't for you, then you could walk a few feet and play shuffleboard, throw some darts, or shoot a game of pool.
The Iron Gate holds many memories, a few of which aren't even mine. The staff was great, acquiescing to our constant beer needs and putting up with our drunken stupidity. It could range from my friend Adam and I asking the staff to change the tv channel to the Olympics just so we could watch swimming simply because Amanda Beard was hot. Or the time that Aaron and Carrie decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool on a hot day, even though the pool was for guests only. Instead of kicking them out, the bartender simply placed their pitcher of beer in the fridge while the two of them cooled off. Or even Adam and Aaron playing "Whiskey River" by Willie Nelson on the jukebox repeatedly to a point that they almost were kicked out of the bar. The various times we returned after that, the song was played at least once to bring everyone a laugh.
The memories are numerous and most are traced back to the friendships that were built there. Alas, the Iron Gate has now been closed for three years now. Every time I drive by, I yearn for one last drink in the great bar that was the Iron Gate. I'd be a liar if I didn't say that a piece of my college years didn't die when the Iron Gate shut down. For those of you that didn't get the opportunity to drink there, I'm truly sorry. For those of you that did, next time you're out drinking, have a drink for the little bar that could. And sing a soulful verse of "Whiskey River".
"The mind is its own place, and in itself, Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."- John Milton