In 1954, Jim and Margaret Eastburn opened Jim’s Bar (often referred to by locals as the “south” bar) on Highway 92 in downtown Arnold. It was a place where friends gathered for Saturday football games, to celebrate birthdays, to challenge someone to a game of cribbage, or just to unwind after a hard day at work. It was always full; everybody was always laughing and having a good time. It was a place everybody felt they could be.
The Eastburn family, with the help of son Lee in later years, ran this beloved business for nearly 60 years. At the center of it all was “the red table.” At any given time, you would find a variety of people sharing stories and drinks across a certain red-topped table. It would start with one or two people, soon they’d be joined by another, and another, until the table was full and additional chairs were angled in haphazardly around the corners. And as one person left, their seat was soon filled by another. It’s often been said that if that table could talk, it could write a novel about Arnold’s residents and visitors.
Eventually, it was time for the Eastburn family to pass the torch to a new owner. During this transition, Jim’s Bar suffered a devastating fire, destroying the interior and crushing a long-standing and much-loved business in the community. The building sat vacant, in a state of disrepair, for a period of time.
In 2018, a local Arnold couple, Jesse Halstead and Annie Vettel, purchased what remained of Jim’s Bar. The building underwent extensive remodeling for several months and was stripped all the way down to the bones. Two additions were added and the building was completely refigured, and a modern kitchen and amenities were added. The result is a brand-new restaurant and bar that rivals that of one typically found in a much larger city.
Grazers Bar & Grill opened May 24, 2019, to an excited Arnold alumni crowd. It sports a clean, modern environment but still emanates that welcoming, down-home feel that customers loved about Jim’s Bar.
And what about the red table? Surprisingly, it survived the fire and continues to have a home at Grazers Bar & Grill. The base has been repainted, but the top is original, showing signs of wear from decades of hands and elbows upon it. It’s a tribute to Jim’s Bar and represents people’s memories from the past, those in the making, and ones yet to come.