Ask Joan: Following up on the 2+9
Today’s Ask Joan is a special follow-up edition on, actually, a previous follow-up. Today we’re going to talk about the 2+9, a bar that used to be in West Manchester Township’s Delco Plaza. This bar was mentioned in an answer to a question about the Rogue’s Den, which used to operate where the Shiloh Family Restaurant is today.
One reader had recalled the 2+9 as the name of an establishment in that area, but others were quick to recall that it was actually slightly up the road. And that’s where we’re going to go on today’s trip down memory lane!
My brother-in-law Mike Smith was the first to let me know that the 2+9 was actually in Delco Plaza. He recalled it in the early ’70s, and another reader, Carl Young, noted that his band, Sky, often played there during the ’70s. At that time, he noted, Delco was still an indoor mini-mall, not the strip mall it is today.
Carl added, “Just for the record, this was the time when there were a number of popular York-area bars which were venues for live music. We were able to work almost full-time, playing as many as five nights a week depending on the particular location, whether in York or surrounding cities. Some other places we worked regularly in York were Steak and Ale (aka Beefsteak Charlie’s), Squire’s Pub, and The Pump Room. I know there were others in addition.”
Several other readers also shared their 2+9 memories. Joyce Hertz recalled that the establishment was owned by the Brunner family, and Jean Frigm added that she met her husband there in 1976! Ron Malehorn of Manchester noted that he used to go to the 2+9 every Friday night with his cousin during the 1970s. I also heard from Larry Reiber about the location and from family friend Michele Wiley with confirmation of many of these details of location and ownership.
Ronald Brodbeck was one of several readers to specify even the part of the mall where 2+9 was; he noted it was next to the movie theater, and Bruce A. Geesey added that in addition to the movie theater, there was also a state store (liquor/wines) next to the 2+9, while Andrew Crone said that Slimtime Spa was next door. (I assume all of these were nearby at different times; I recall Slimtime being next to the movies when I was a member in the ’90s, but I believe it had expanded at some point.)
Then, the stories got really interesting. I heard from my former English teacher, Sheila Webb, now retired to Florida, who, with her husband, P. Billy Webb, owned the other bar we talked about, the Rogue’s Den in Shiloh. “The 2+9 was open at the same time as we had our Rogue’s Den,” she wrote.
P. Billy had originally operated the bar in partnership with Greg VanPelt, and Dona Crouse of Shiloh noted of the Rogue’s Den that VanPelt eventually sold his interest to P. Billy and, at some time near that point, it was renamed “The Shiloh Inn.” Dona also noted that the 2+9 was up the road in Delco, and then said, “I agree that all these responses does say something about the drinking population in York County and maybe even me, but I have to say though, some of these old establishments provided a lot of fun and was a way to meet some great local people on a regular basis. Many would become good friends. Thanks for bringing these old legends alive.”
Thank you, Dona, for helping contribute to those memories!
Finally, I heard straight from the source about the 2+9. Bill Brunner sent me a letter as well as the matchbook pictured at the top of today’s post, and he confirmed a story an earlier commenter had mentioned, that the 2+9 name came from a pair of parents and their nine children.
Bill wrote, “I was co-owner of the 2+9 in the Delco Plaza beside the movie theaters. The couple (2) were Dutch and Betty Brunner, and the (9) were Barb, Sue, Jane, Jean, Holly, Lori, Dave, Bob and me (Bill), which made up the name Brunner’s 2+9 Lounge.”
He added, “We had it from 1973 to 1977 and sold it to Wib Schiding, who called it Wib’s 2+9, and later to John Negley and Dave Shultz, and they called it J.D.’s Distillery… finally sold the license to Diane Shearer, who has the Westgate Restaurant and Lounge.”
Then comes the fun tie-in to our other establishment. Bill wrote, “After we opened the 2+9, Bill Webb and Craig VanPelt approached me about setting up their bar, which I did. It was the Rogue’s Den which is now the Shiloh Family Restaurant. And now you have the rest of the story.” Indeed I do, Bill, and I’m so glad you wrote!
Have questions or memories to share? Ask (or Tell) Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer or share them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!