Down in the valley, near Merriman and Portage, is The Getaway Pub.
Host to a pool lounge, an island bar, and live music almost every night, The Getaway caters to a mostly older crowd of Akronites, but there are some youngsters here too. There’s a deep sense of community in this pub, whose regulars (of which there are many) seem more like family than patrons.
Every Friday evening and Sunday day, Autumn bartends at The Getaway. She’s been bartending here since at least 11 years ago, when she was a student at UA. “I needed a job, I lived nearby, and I had friends working here. They told me to come down, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Autumn’s favorite part of bartending is the fact that she get to hear some pretty wacky stories. “I feel like I could write a book,” she says. “It would be called ‘The Life of a Bartender,” and include several tales I’ve heard over the years.”
She isn’t willing to tell one that would go in print, but you might be able to coax one out if you order a drink at the bar. These are stories told after the audience has had a drink or two.
Being a bartender means you’ve got to listen, says Autumn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an instigator as well, someone willing to throw in their own two cents.
And that dynamic, the jocular interaction between this bartender and her regulars, is only possible because of the sense of family they’ve cultivated over the years.
“People here are very close,” says Autumn. “Someone will leave and say ‘Bye Family! See you tomorrow!’”
And the bar promotes that sense of community by hosting celebrations and even more personal celebrations:
“We’re about to have a celebration of life for a regular who just passed away,” says Autumn, “and we’ll host birthdays and other celebrations. We’re almost like the bar in ‘Cheers.’”
Bartending isn’t always so easy or familar. You’ve got to have a thick skin to bartend, says Autumn; “People are not always so nice.”
Still, unhappy or belligerent customers seem few and far inbetween at The Getaway. There’s a respect and certain amount of admiration for Autumn from those who sit at her bar, regulars with whom Autumn quips as she seamlessly pours drinks and takes orders.
Autumn’s own life continues to be closely connected to The Getaway, 11 years after she started working. She met her fiance through the pub’s pool league. “I’m decent at pool,” she says.
“Don’t play against her,” cautions a regular. “She was the team captain.”
And with two kids of her own, Autumn’s life is pretty busy, inside and out of the bar. “I’m hardworking, if I had to pick an adjective to describe myself,” she says.
But she also seems content. This bar is her home.
For a list of shows and events, or for more information, visit The Getaway’s website at thegetawaypub.com