MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Glasses clinked together as laughter echoed from the Officers’ Club when the Officers’ Pub opened Aug. 14 after three months of construction to improve the bar.
The new pub was flooded with officers wanting to be the first to order a drink and play on the new pool table.
“You normally don’t expect much when you come into a military bar,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathaniel Baker, the assistant maintenance officer for Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3, and a Walnut Creek, Calif., native. “The bar was okay before, but now the atmosphere is livelier; it’s lit up and looks nice and clean. It is a dramatic improvement from what it used to be.”
During the grand opening, Col. John Holden, the Combat Center’s chief of staff, spoke to all the officers present telling them this pub was one of the last officer-only bars in the Marine Corps, and the rest were slowly fading out because of the lack of use. He urged the officers to be proud of their bar, and to use it instead of going out in town.
The attendees had a wide range of food to choose from, and Charles Harris III, the executive chef for the club, said he was proud of the food he served, which included colossal shrimp wrapped in applewood bacon, wonton Napoleons, black forest ham wrapped asparagus, a seafood ceviche, and Jamaican jerk chicken skewers.
“It is not every day I get to do something like that,” Harris said. “It was nice to take the handcuffs off my cooks. Instead of having a set plan, we just got together and asked, ‘what would you like to do,’ and that is what we came up with.”
The pub, nicknamed ‘The Man Cave,’ received a complete facelift with new walls, floor and ceiling. The bar area received a new granite top and a buffet table was added to the room. The pool table received a new motivational ‘Semper Fi’ covering with camouflaged balls. A bigger sound system was also implemented in the pub along with the other dining rooms.
Five televisions were installed and spaced perfectly throughout the room so patrons can see the television wherever they are standing. New glass shelves and lighting fixtures were built behind the bar area to provide extra light throughout the pub while giving more storage space for the bartenders.
Although the pub has reopened, Tracy Hatch, the O’Club’s general manager, said there are still things that need to be done to fully complete the new bar. Messages have been sent to every unit asking to set up a time to have a ceremony to place their unit plaque back onto the pub wall.
“The new pub is amazing but I can’t wait until the plaques are on the walls,” said Hatch, a resident of Twentynine Palms.
Hatch is also hoping to put a History and Traditions list behind the bar. Officers must abide by the rules on the list. If they don’t, their penalty is to buy a round of drinks for the house.