Jinx's staff says goodbye

Updated July 15, 2020 at 11:23 a.m.

MORE THAN a family, the Jinx has been a gathering place for many people for many years. Facilitating that family have been the bartenders.

For years, Scotty, Tony, James and Richie have been slinging drinks and lending a listening ear. We talked to them, as well as owner Susanne Guest Warnekros, about their memories of the Jinx and what they'll miss most.
Scott Johansen

I’ve been working at the Jinx for 14 years. I’ve known [Susanne] for quite some time, mostly because she and my brother have known each other since right out of high school. The Jinx has been my second home for many years, before it was even the Jinx.

I’ve been seeing shows there since I was 18, back before “the law” was put in. I’ve met and seen so many bands and have seen so many different walks of life walk through those doors. It’s irreplaceable to me.

When you first start working there, you have in your mind what your favorite bands are, and then over time it drastically changes to this wide range of shows that make up that particular weekend. I was very fortunate to see some of my favorites and some that became my favorites. I love when all of the friends and guys I work with played in their projects. Hell, the list is about a mile long but top three… The Supersuckers were fun to hang with. Riverboat Gambler I booked on the tornado St. Pat’s weekend. The Bronx/Big Business/High on Fire show.

It’s a really bizarre alternate reality we are in right now. I never thought it would not be the Jinx. You take so much for granted, and regardless of how many pictures you took, there are millions of other memories that are from that place.

Walking in that building, I still have a faint recollection of the first time I set foot in there. A lot of ups and downs. Memorials of loved ones, wedding receptions, benefits for homies… it was all in there! New owners of the building got big ole smelly boots to fill.

We wish [the new owners] well. Hopefully, they wise up and have an understanding of what the city is lacking and try to accommodate that.

Also, will everyone just do themselves a favor and put on the damn mask so eventually we can get the next Jinx open? This COVID shit is the norm if we don’t nip it now.

Thank you to each and every last person who has stepped into the Jinx—even the assholes—who’ve kept those doors open this long. Thank you! We love you!

Rich Krauss

I started as a door guy. It was a much wilder time back then, back in 2011, at least as far as fights and crazies on Congress Street. I had never worked in a bar before and remember having nights where I would say to myself, “My mom would be so disappointed in me if she could see where I am right now.” But eventually it calmed down and the Jinx because a second dysfunctional home.

For me, it has always been a place where myself and coworkers could totally just be ourselves. That was huge for me personally. It led to a self awareness that I don’t know I would have otherwise realized.

I honestly just feel bad for Savannah. To see what’s happening to small businesses. I guess it’s just the way it is right now.
But if there is any silver lining in all this, it’s that we’ve been able to be reminded how important the Jinx is to so many people. The stories from customers have been overwhelming. People I’ve never met, crying while telling me about how they met their wife or saw this band or how we made them feel at home right away after moving to Savannah. I honestly didn’t realize what a positive outlet we’ve been for so many people. But as I’ve told Susanne and my coworkers through this whole emotional process, things change, nothing is permanent, but the Jinx is forever.

Maybe a huge thank you to all of my happy hour regulars. I have had some of the most important, informative conversations of my life with people who came to my happy hours for almost a decade. I’ll miss that the most. And I am so grateful. You know who you are. Dagger loves you.

James May

The Jinx, first and foremost, is a family to me. It meant a place for people you know that were kind of the outcasts to go and hang out and have a good time with good friends. A place to see amazing shows and for me a place of work as well. I had a lot of good times in that place.

I first started going to the Jinx even before it was the Jinx. It was a place called Velvet Elvis before. I was among the first bands to ever play opening night for Jinx and I have pride in saying that.

People should always know that the Jinx was put there to have a place to go for shows that didn’t happen anywhere else and make it accessible to Savannah. I knew half the staff at least half my life.

Susanne is a great person and has something up her sleeve at all times to make Savannah a place that people talk about all over.

Most of my memories of that place will be a family, a place to work, real friends and a hangover! I take the good memories and the bad with that place. I grew up there basically.

I don’t like [that it’s closing]. It’s memories there, a lot of memories. It has to happen, so I say just roll with the punches. What can you do? But put the same love in the new space and watch what happens.

Tony Beasley

It was the Velvet Elvis 19 years ago when I started on the door. I was 22, and loved going in the bar to drink with my friends, and hear live music. I’m 6’3” and was close to 300 lbs at the time, so I was a good fit to work the door.

I got hired because I broke some guy’s arm at a party in a sumo wrestling contest there (great story). Eoin, the manager at the time, told me in his Irish accent, “Ya broke tha fucker’s arm last night, I want ta hire ya, but do nae break any fucker’s arms again unless I tell ya to!” I agreed.

Every night around closing time, I would always ask all the bartenders any question that I could about what it took to do their job. I would come in on my nights off, hang out, and just watch them work. I really wanted to be behind that bar: this is the job for me!

It took about a year to get there, but 18 years later, and in our small bar, I have sold more Wild Turkey 101 than any bar in Georgia at least a few years running. Now we have to close the doors. I’ll miss this place that I’ve spent more time in than any other home, but I keep telling myself it’s just four walls.

I’ll say the city, and bar industry are changing so much with downtown property values being too high to run anything weird, or eclectic. I’ll say there’s too many tourists, but I really will miss this place.

Now don’t get me wrong, I ate tourists for breakfast. I tried to take in all they would talk about, and gave them something to remember about this town from my varied experiences. It seems most tourists don’t know how to skin or trap anything.

One time, probably ’07, when Barnard St. was blocked off, Cousin Chase and I smoked a 90 pound sow in a propane tank smoker my dad made for about seven hours right there on the street right in front of Sorry Charlie’s. We had put up chicken wire from stage to ceiling earlier that morning. Then Whiskey Dick played a show, I don’t remember what other band we played with that night, but they do.

I knew I was having a good time at a show if I left from behind the bar and got up on stage an just started singing with the band.

I’ll miss the energy of all the memories made with friends that have moved on, and away. I still have those memories somewhere in my head, but a poster, photo, or even a brick from the walls can spark something that I hadn’t thought about in years... I’ll miss that.

I pretty much met my wife there. I proposed pinning up six dozen roses to the red velvet curtains on stage. I danced with her and my daughter on that stage in front of our families at the wedding reception.

I was Vince Neal in a Mötley Crüe cover band, with James, Corey, and Laura, and after we played “Starry Eyes,” Brian Warnekros had me call him up on the same stage that I had built up three different times in top of the first Velvet Elvis stage to propose to Susanne.

I could fill a book with memories like that.

Susanne Warnekros

I can tell you that the band connections my staff and myself have built over the last 17 years, including the foundation that Velvet laid for us before, no other venue in town will ever have those. We’re that one venue, and it mostly comes out of the majority of my staff being musicians. So there’s a special connection there, and I don’t want anyone to worry.

We still have merch for sale online, if anyone wants to buy that. I keep selling out and I keep saying, “Okay, this is the last run,” but I keep selling out, so I’ll keep reprinting them.

A lot of people are asking me about buying some of the artwork, so I’d like to address that. For now, we’re just going to move everything into storage. When we find our new home, I’ll know what we’ll be able to keep or not, and that would be the time. If we auction anything, that would be when we do it. And I’m never going to sell those pants, so everyone can stop asking me that.

Other than that, I just really want everyone to use this pandemic to dig deep down, find some kindness for one another, find some more patience. I know this pandemic has changed me as a person so much, and I think the whole world can take a minute to slow the fuck down for a second and remember what the most important things are.

Just be kind to your neighbor, support each other, and we’ll all get through this together. Everything’s going to be fine, I promise.

I guess the last thing I would say is that I’m so appreciative of all the support we’ve had for 17 years.

Published July 8, 2020 at 4:00 a.m.

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