By BRENNA GRITEMAN
It’s always summer at Dave’s Hideaway.
Here, in the spacious backyard of this laid-back lounge, bikers, music lovers and anyone preferring to enjoy their libations in a come-as-you-are, open-air setting, gather around the concrete bar or any number of umbrella-shaded tables. Some grab a beer and head for the pontoon boat reconstructed into a makeshift table and chairs, while others place their order from a wooden rope swing in the corner labeled “Big Daddy’s Sand Bar.”
“Big Daddy. That’s what they call me,” says proprietor Dave Turner, amid a flock of pink flamingos and a tiki shack wall adorned with flip-flops. New this year are six palm trees made from steel and leather, reinforcing the patio’s tropical theme.
But it’s not all pina coladas and miniature umbrellas out here. Dave’s Hideaway attracts bikers from throughout the area looking to meet up with friends, throw around a few horseshoes and face off on the double burn-out pit. Bike night kicks off at 6 p.m. every Wednesday with live music, drink specials, and steaks and burgers on the grill.
Bob Steve was hanging out on the patio on a recent Wednesday afternoon and said he and a small group of friends ride over from Carey sometimes for the occasion.
“Bike night’s fun,” he said. “Good time, good music, good crowd, good people.”
Andrew Solt of Findlay, demonstrating the double burn-out pit, agreed with the assessment: “It’s just a nice place to come. Good drinks, good people.”
It might look like a rough and tumble crowd on Wednesdays, but Turner insists there are no club colors allowed on the premises, and fights are few and far between. Noise complaints, common to most bars featuring live music, are virtually nonexistent because Turner cuts the music at 10 p.m.
And it’s not just bikers throwing back a few cold ones at this urban oasis, curiously hidden along one of the city’s most high-trafficked thoroughfares at 1730 Lima Ave. (“It’s Findlay’s unknown, secret bar,” Turner says.) The hideaway is welcoming to anyone looking to escape the confines of air conditioning — especially if they’ve come hungry.
“I guarantee you we have the best pizza and subs in town,” Turner says confidently. “They don’t like it, I’ll double their money back.”
The lounge is working to expand its food offerings and currently features $1 tacos on Tuesdays, $1 coney dogs on Thursdays, along with specialty pizzas (“It’s all in the sauce,” Turner says), wings, bread sticks, nachos, salads and more. The kitchen opens daily at 11 a.m., and the patio opens at 4 p.m.
The 78-year-old Turner has been in the bar business for over 45 years, so he’s learned a few things along the way.
One of the most valuable is how to spot a patron who’s indulged a little too enthusiastically and might be looking to pick a fight. Those customers are calmly walked out and asked to leave, a cab called on their behalf if necessary.
“You can always tell when a ruckus is starting,” says Duane Turner, Dave’s nephew who helps with, among other things, booking live music.
Ensuring a safe ride home is no problem when the owner of the bar also owns Accurate Cab. Dave started the company in 2006 and says anyone who drinks too much at his establishment will be driven home for free.
Starting companies is actually something Dave excels at.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life, going out and starting things,” he says.
The Monroe, Michigan, native moved to Findlay in 1972 and purchased Dave’s Hideaway in 2002. He bought the once-defunct Southside Family Restaurant and ran that until 2006, and currently owns Cherokee Construction and Findlay Siding-Building Supplies. He also owns 23 rental properties throughout the city, with an eye on a few more.
Dave recently had the historical barn standing behind the property torn down. In it, crews found a sign from the old Bellaire Motel, on whose grounds the bar now stands, along with a sign advertising a “refreshment center.” Left over from a convenience store once located on the property, the sign promises 8-track tapes for $3.99 apiece, along with a mechanic on duty, candy, chops, popcorn and peanuts. Dave plans to hang both signs on the patio, perhaps next to the stage which reads “I Love This Bar.”
The bar features live music on Friday and Saturday nights and weeknight power hours, and regularly hosts benefits for community members. Follow along on Facebook at Dave’s Hideaway Lounge to stay up-to-date on everything that’s happening.