Klondike Kate's, September 2006Klondike Kate’s buries the needle on the boner meter. Sorry to kickoff this chapter with such a crass statement, but it’s a statement of fact. Between the clientele and the waitresses (and their shorts), it’s often torture to simply walk into Kate’s. One time I brought my friend down to UD from NYC (he didn't go to Delaware)…we walked into Kate’s, and his balls exploded.
Now, the building itself has a very interesting history; it’s over 250 years old, and has served many functions in Newark. My favorite being its use as a courtroom and jail in the early 1900s…the jail cells apparently still exist in the basement.
I really like Klondike Kate's, but here's the thing: during my UD senior "Drinking Year," I don't seem to remember it being in standard rotation for my crew. Don't get me wrong, I was in Kate’s quite a bit, but the "Big Three" at the time were the Balloon, Deer Park, and the Down Under. Kate's kinda filled in the blanks...but hey, it was right there, around the corner from our friends’ house on Choate! Talk about “stumbling distance.”
Klondike Kate's has really come on strong over the last fifteen years, and I go in there a lot when I'm in Newark. Hey, it's now possibly the strongest UD bar, overall. One thing is for sure, the scenery in there never disappoints. And the view from that porch during the spring? “The Greatest Show on Earth,” as so well articulated by Geno Bisconte. (See next chapter for more from Geno…probably too much from Geno, actually.)
The Fire. If you’ve hung out at Kate’s anytime since the mid '90s, you probably can’t wrap your head around not going upstairs. But up until that time, it was just used as a banquet room. June of 1993 was the Kate’s electrical fire; most of the damage was to the second and third floors. They took the opportunity to renovate the upstairs, and it reopened that November…the “new” second floor drastically increased business.
The Food. UD kids love the place for cheesesteaks, chicken cheesesteaks, wings, and of course, the nachos. I coincidentally happened to be in Newark during Freshman Parents Weekend '06, and the line was down the block; Kate’s is safe for Mom and Dad. During the day, that is.
Our senior year (so either Fall '94, or more likely it was Spring '95) our quasi-behemoth ex-football player friend -- we’ll call him “Futon” -- was out with us at Kate's. Futon was a friend from our Sypherd days.
Kate’s was shutting down for the night, we were on the second floor, and Futon was appalled at all the wasted beer still around the room; lots of those tall glasses they had, left still partially filled with Killian's, or whatever. At the time, leftover beer in glasses like that were termed “floaters.” So, Futon made his way around the room, and pounded down a ton of floaters before we left. There was all kinds of cigarette butts and crap in some of them, but he put 'em down anyway, no problem.
Then we left Kate's, and made it out onto Main Street. Futon proceeds to unzip his jeans, whip out his meat loaf, and starts to urinate...as he's walking! "Look ma', no hands!" I swear he walked like two hundred feet up Main Street, at a slow pace, simultaneously relieving himself. Several people stopped and watched the whole event, and literally cheered. The amount of pee could’ve floated a canoe.
I remember my friend Ron barely able to stand, he was laughing so hard (and drunk). It was freakin’ hilarious. Nobody was going to stop Futon. As my roommate AB recalls, “He was literally a mountain of a man. I once tried to wrestle him (drunk), and I think he broke my neck, back, nose, ear, and foot.”
“Where do I begin? Kate's was my favorite bar at UD, especially on Saturday nights. '80s Night…I think I was there practically every week! On the night of graduation in 2004, my friends and I waited on line to celebrate there, and by the end of the night I was taking a picture with Tom Travers and telling him how he made my Saturday nights at UD. He gave me a CD with the songs he always played on '80s Night, and I played it in my apartment (8117 University Courtyard) as I was packing up the last of my belongings the next morning.”
- Aliza I, UD '04
“So many good memories! I had my 21st birthday at Kate's. My birthday is in January, and it was snowy / icy outside. I got pretty drunk (imagine that) and fell on the dance floor. When I took my pants to the cleaners, I had to point out the stain from the bar floor sludge. The dry cleaning lady asked what happened, so I lied and said I fell on the ice…sounded much better than 'My drunk ass fell at Kate's!'”
- Jennifer L, UD '02
“Here's one for you: I remember when my bandmates used to work at Kate’s, and I went there to eat ribs. I got so drunk I puked all over the bathroom, and then took off out the kitchen door! That was a really fun place to get drunk.”
- Wolf Navarro, Guitarist and Vocalist for Grinch
“I worked at Kate's from 2001-2004 and can confirm that there are two old jail cells in the basement. There are a few rooms down there, but you go down the stairs, down a narrow hallway and turn right and you'll find another smaller hallway with two cells. One of them still had bars on it when I worked there. I remember that they were so old that the doorways were unusually short. We used to keep the Christmas decorations in the cells.
Another reason Kate's was awesome was that it was the only bar that would NEVER close in the event of a snow storm. I remember trudging through a foot and a half of snow from Harrington for my shift. But snow shifts were always the best shifts! Now I'm craving crab bisque in a bad way.”
- Ashley P, UD '06
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