Welcome out at Old Fogey’s
December 14, 2004
Walk into Old Fogy’s Club and walk into a microcosm of Dayton. A variety of ages, both old-timers and new-comers, hang out together for an evening of companionship.
Anyone is welcome to stop by for a round of drinks, darts or pool at Old Fogy’s but the regulars belong to the club. They’re either card-carrying Old Fogies, those 60 and older, or FOFs, future old fogies between 21 and 59.
“Our oldest is over 90,” said club owner Lee Sommers, who has lived in Dayton for 31 years. “We have 506 signed-up members.”
One wall is filled with photos of the members to help newcomers get acquainted. And if the photos don’t do the trick, the staff will make sure everyone feels like one of the crowd.
“I always introduce everybody to everybody,” said bartender Kathy Skalsky, who lives in Silver City and has a day-job at Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic.
Chatting with Skalsky at the bar Tuesday evening was Old Fogy member number 305, Mark Patty.
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“When I first came in (a couple years ago), there were more of the old rancher guys and I really loved hearing their old stories,” said Patty, a FOF at age 44. The four-year resident of Dayton is also a frequent contestant – and usual winner- in beard-growing contests around the region.
“(Old Fogy’s) is a good place to get to meet some locals,” Patty said. “It’s a good place to get to know what’s going on.”
At the other end of the bar, Jan and Neal Parsons chatted with Al Roth, all two-year residents of Dayton, following a board meeting for Do-Mor for Dayton held at Old Fogy’s earlier in the evening.
Newcomers to Dayton, the Parsons qualify as “Old Fogies” or, as Jan Parsons said, “Old enough to know better.”
Roth is Old Fogy’s member number 212. At 60, he recently graduated from FOF to Old Fogy.
“I love the outdoors, I love the weather, and the people here are nice,” he said of why he chose to return to Nevada to retire, live in Dayton and hang out at Old Fogy’s.
“It’s almost like ‘Cheers.’ You come in here and everybody’s got their spot,” he said. “It’s not a place you have to worry about anyone. Just because it’s Old Fogy’s doesn’t mean it’s just old people here. There are all generations of people, all kinds of people to chit chat with.”
Old Fogy’s, located on Highway 50 at the corner of Dayton’s Main Street, is open from 1 p.m. “’til the last customer decides to stop talking,” Sommers said. “We have a lot of conversations here.”
Sommers and her late husband originally opened Old Fogy’s in 1983. The 1960s building stands on land where a blacksmith’s shop once stood.
“We closed in 1990 because my husband became very ill and was dying of cancer,” she said. “I opened a flower shop. We used to serve flowers over the old bar.”
When she remarried, she and Lewis Sommers reopened the club. Both are certified Old Fogies.
“We cater to mature audiences,” Lee Sommers said. “People who behave.”
Besides the common selection of bar drinks, Old Fogy’s carries old fashioned soft drinks like sarsaparilla, old-style root beer, and barrel-brewed black cherry.
“The juke box has nothing but oldies-but-goodies,” Sommers said. “It starts with Hank Williams, Comstock Cowboys, the Doris Day era, ’50s and ’60s and ends up with James Taylor. But that’s as far as we go, we don’t have any of the ’90s music.”
The juke box and dance floor get a lot of use, she said.
And so do the pool table and dart boards.
Tuesday night was dart tournament night. The Old Fogy’s team of Andy Ochoa, his brother Martin Ochoa, Karlos Briones and Dave Garner, were tossing darts to cheers and moans from a gallery of mostly unofficial FOFs.
At 31, Andy Ochoa is a Future Old Fogy. But as a 25-year resident of Dayton, he was one of the old-timers in the bar that night.
The gallery included Kathy Aguirre, who falls short of being an Old Fogy by four years. She owns Kathy’s Some Place Else bar in Carson City, but enjoys visits to Old Fogy’s where she’s one of the club. She and Old Fogy Les Jones, 60, watched the dart players and chatted with other patrons.
“(Old Fogy’s) has a gracious host,” Aguirre said of Sommers. “It’s a nice bar to come to.”