Thursday, October 18, 2007

Attorneys barred from this bar: tavern owners say 'No Lawyers'

So, you want a back-yard swimming pool to come home to after a hot, busy day of running a tavern but your neighbor, an attorney, spoils your fun with a lawsuit.

One year and $10,000 later, you've got your pool. Now you want revenge.

You decide you'll use your business to let the whole world know just how you feel about meddlesome members of the legal profession.

The result is Butch and Jody Morrison's Crescent "No Lawyers" Bar & Grill in Boise, Idaho.

"They can't be serious," I thought, but an on-line search gave me some doubts. "No lawyers, no kids, no kiddin'," popped up on one result. "If you practice law ... keep your mouth shut," another warned.

Okay, I had to know more. I called the Crescent and said, "Hi! I'm an attorney and I write for a legal newspaper in Michigan. I have a few questions. Is someone there who could me help out?"

As I sat on hold, I began to think that maybe I hadn't said the right thing.

Pollsters say lawyers and reporters are among the most despised people on the planet. Two strikes against me. I took little comfort while scanning the Crescent's Lawyer Jokes page and ran across this one:

A group of headhunters sets up a small stand near a well-traveled road. The bill of fare is as follows:
Sauteed Tourist $10
Braised Reporter $12
Fried Diplomat $15
Barbecued Lawyer $110
A customer, noticing the great price differential, asked why lawyers cost so much.
The headhunter replied, "If you had ever tried to clean one of those devils, you would understand."

I checked the Crescent's bill of fare, entitled "Legal Brief." Appetizers included a "So-Su-Me Platter" and "Prosecution Prawns." Other choices: "Witness Stand Soups & Salads," "Jailhouse Sandwiches," "Law Firm Specials" and "Courthouse Burgers." There were only a couple of suspicious items. "Lawyer Limbs" are the Crescent's version of chicken wings with hot sauce. And there are "Lawyer Fries," but you'll need to look at the menu yourself for the lowdown on that one.

A bit more browsing on the website started to produce other evidence (an on-line store and a light-hearted history of the Crescent) that this whole "No Lawyers" thing might just be a big tongue-in-cheek joke. That's when the phone line clicked back to life.

The person on the other end apologized for the wait, explained I had called during the lunch hour rush and someone could be available later. A faux pas on my part, I insisted. I forgot about the two-hour time difference between Michigan and Idaho.

But I had to ask the pay-off question.

"So what happens if you actually find out someone is an attorney?"

"We charge 'em a lawyers fee," she deadpanned.

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