Sports Bar Hopes To Win In Downtown Westminster

December 19, 1990|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER - They quit their jobs and spent a chunk of savings to create a business where skis and fishing poles hang on the wall and "left field" means four pieces of French toast.

Rheta Cullison and Lynda Abbott abandoned the 9-to-5 office routine earlier this month for life at the Turn Around Sports Pub, a bright yellow and blue bar and restaurant at the corner of East Main Street and Route 97.

They converted "The Pit," the former Os & Ginny's, into a locker room.

The new owners cleaned floors, scrubbed the kitchen, laid carpet and smoothed new tableclothes. They made a dance floor, got a friend to paint a California wave on one wall and collected sports memorabilia from yard sales and auctions.

Os & Ginny's, a bar and crab carry-out restaurant, became a sports fan's hangout.

Or so Cullison and Abbott hope.

The pub opened Dec. 13, and served about 300 people that day, Cullison said.

In the customers came, walking past the mug with four men spilling out of it painted on the foyer wall, past "The Redskin Room," through "The Clubhouse Restaurant" and into "The Dugout Lounge."

When the business gets rolling, customers will find live entertainment -- DJs, stand-up comedians and bands -- Wednesday through Saturday and drink specials many week nights, the two Westminster women said.

The pub will serve three meals a day, seven days a week. The "Starting Line Up" is breakfast, "Challengers" is lunch, and the "Main Event" is dinner. The place seats 150 people.

But the bar won't have a game room where couch-potato jocks can try their hand at electronic baseball or bowling. The county liquor board has forbidden the pub to have pool tables or game machines for at least the first six months of operation.

Board Chairman Earle H. Brewer said the board wants the Turn Around "to avoid the pitfalls of the previous place."

The owner of Os & Ginny's, which closed Nov. 3, was cited in the spring by the liquor board for failing to meet required food sales. County law says food sales must be 41 percent of gross sales if an establishment is to keep its restaurant liquor license.

Norman Hoy, the previous owner, concentrated more on alcohol sales than food sales, Brewer said.

Brewer said he visited the pub while it was being renovated and was impressed.

"They're two people who seem ambitious and will do what has to be done," he said.

Cullison and Abbott, both of Westminster, will become family some time next year. Cullison, 26, is engaged to Abbott's brother, Bunky Cubbage.

Cullison, a former bookkeeper and waitress, said she and Cubbage had talked about opening a bar and restaurant and convinced Abbott to join in when they got serious about the idea. Abbott, 30, was working as a supervisor at a collection agency.

Both women wanted to work on their own.

"We're not afraid to take challenges. We're two level-headed women who know what we're doing," Cullison said.

Neither professes to be a big sports fan -- "I like the Olympics," Cullison said -- but they say they'll learn as they go. The sports motif was Cubbage's idea, his fiancee said.

Cubbage is helping with the business while working full-time for Haden Trash Removal Inc.

Abbott said they hope to collect memorabilia from county teams. They already have photos of Baltimore Colts players at Western Maryland College that they bought at an antique shop.

"We're trying to do all aspects of sports," she said.

While the heart of sports is competition, Cullison and Abbott said they're not worried about theirs. As the only sports bar in the county, they hope to carve their own niche in the market.

Brewer said he expects the Turn Around to attract a "blue-collar" crowd for breakfast, possibly drawing people who ate at B's Coffee Shoppe on Liberty Street before it closed in March.

B's owner Holly Bollinger said the Turn Around will have to shake off the image of "The Pit."

"The corner has a bad reputation," she said, adding that the place was "dark" and "dirty" and attracted a "rough" crowd.

"There definitely is a market for breakfast," Bollinger said. "They have something in their favor by opening at 5 a.m. The earlier the better."

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