Long live New Albany’s Irish Exit

Long live New Albany's Irish Exit

Taylor Ferguson, General Assignments Editor

It’s Feb. 21, 2012 at midnight. I’m officially 21. It’s a Tuesday and I have class tomorrow, but that’s alright because it’s just the Horizon.

Two of my best friends, Hannah and Erin meet me in our local high school’s parking lot. From there we decide to embark on the Irish Exit for my first legal drink.

I had actually been snuck into the bar once before for a brief period and it seemed alright, plus I knew my cousin Kyle frequented the bar and hoped he’d be there. The Irish Exit, or Exit as many regualrs called it, was also only a short drive into town and I wasn’t about to commence my new legality at the Corydon bowling alley.

Little did I know, that dingy bar would forever hold such a notable place in my heart.

I loved the Exit because it didn’t pretend to be something it wasn’t. The lack of pretentiousness was something I could rely on.”

— Caroline Turcotte, psychology junior

After you stepped up into the dark, green-lit, smoky room it was hard not to take in the hole-in-the-wall atmosphere that was the Exit. Usually, a girl covered in tattoos behind the bar would ask you what you’d have. If it’s Monday you might have opted for a 75 cent PBR. If it was a Tuesday, you’d be wise to get a $2 domestic. However, you could never go wrong with a Fireball whiskey shot. After all, the Exit was featured in Fireball Whiskey’s Calendar for being the #1 in Fireball sales for Indiana.

If you were a smoker or one of those “I only smoke when I drink” types—better yet, “I’m going to bum from you for the rest of the night”—there was no need to step outside, which was one of the Exit’s biggest selling points. Who wouldn’t want to smoke in the air conditioning, or in winter’s case heat? Other than the non-smokers, of course.

The Exit had many amenities. For instance, their tables and seating. Here you had two options: a wooden chair on one side of the table that leaned due to being unleveled, or the green upholstered, cigarette-burned, stain-covered church pew benches that sagged ever so slightly in the middle. I always preferred a little sag in my seat.

Aside from all of this, I must say the game room was where it was at. Leaving the tiled floor of the main room for a creaky, old, wooden one instead, the game room housed two pool tables with mismatching balls. By mismatching, I mean there was never a set of 1-15. Instead, your rack may have contained two 10’s and no eight ball. It was never a big deal though, because one of those 10 balls was already scribbled out in marker and replaced with an eight. The employees were ever the problem solvers.

Finding a decent cue to use was like trying to find hidden treasure. Half of them had been dropped through the cracks in the floor to the creepy basement in an act of drunken amusement. Hey guy, you’re not performing a magic trick that’s literally just gravity.

I like the Irish Exit just because it gave young people more of a variety for bars to go to in New Albany. ”

— Coby Mckinley, English sophomore

The unisex bathroom might have been the most interesting thing about the Exit. Inside you’d find tons of sloppily written messages done with colored chalk, provided by the bar staff. At one point, one of the walls read real big, “Tip your bartenders, they have nice butts.” There was almost always never toilet paper, so girls got to practice their camping skills, and if the overhead light ever went out they improvised with a floor lamp.

Despite me explaining how shitty this place was, it was my favorite place to go. Not only my favorite place but many people’s. It was our version of Cheers, where everyone knew your name. It was a secondary home to some, a place for cheap drinks and chill atmosphere for most. However, the Exit wasn’t just a place to me. It was a period in time in my life, one that I’ll never forget. I met my boyfriend of two plus years that same night I turned 21, and it was in that game room that we shared our first kiss a month later.

Thursday, Aug. 28 was the last night the Exit was open. There was never an official announcement, but after a few people found out it was all over Facebook with statuses urging friends to come say goodbye to “our” bar.

An Irish Exit is defined as the act of leaving an event or place without telling anyone that you’re leaving, usually the result of being very intoxicated.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to experience the Exit at least once then I feel sorry for you. And for those of you, like me, who never got to say goodbye, I hope you are able to take solace in the fact that the Exit went out true to its name, in Irish

The Exit was a place many came to see long time friends and refer to each other as family. The building itself was rundown but the spirit of the place is what we’re all going to miss. ”

— Amelia Wise, fine arts senior

Exit form.

The new owner, Cyle Mullikin, is turning the bar into “Don Vito’s Italian Bistro”. Mullikin was quoted in an article by Louisville Business First saying, “The Irish Exit has exited the building and exited the universe, hopefully.”

So here’s to the memories, may they not soon be forgotten. As for you Mullikin, I’m glad you decided on an Italian restaurant, lord knows we don’t already have enough glorified pasta and meat sauce joints.