Call To The Bar : Johnson's Drive In Bar, where all are welcome

September 07, 2017

Just a short drive from the Lydford toll plaza on the North-South Highway sits the cosy Johnson's Drive In Bar in Golden Grove, St Ann.

But to just call it a bar would be doing it a disservice.

The establishment is a wholesale, retail, and community hangout spot all in one. And it's very much a landmark in the town, operating for 35 years.

Alfred Johnson, the owner, started out in the garage business in Kingston before moving back to his native St Ann (he's from Alexandria, to be exact).

He remembered he had property in Golden Grove and decided to operate a business for himself.

 

LONGEVITY

 

He noted that the establishment started out first as a wholesale before he took on the bar side of it. He admits he's surprised at the bar's longevity.

"I never thought it would be going for 35 years," he said. "It's had its ups and downs but I have to continue. The toughest time is when crime is upon you. But you just have to pray to God that your life will be saved."

Johnson prides himself on providing good customer service, one of the main aspects of his business that people love.

They also rave about the beauty of the place (the lawn is immaculate) and the spacious parking area the yard provides.

He caters for everyone, even constructing a lounge area outside for those who like to light up a cigarette or two.

While most of his customers are from the community and its adjoining areas, he gets more than his fair share of passers-by.

"We get tourists too, when the season is on, like the holiday season, they do pass through," he said. "But we need some more promotions because since the highway was built, we haven't had as many customers passing through. Every day we're finding new customers."

 

RELIABLE CUSTOMERS

 

But once those customers come in, they stay. And he can 'put his pot on fire' that they will clear up their debts with him when the time comes.

Among his loyal customers is Andrew Williams, who was enjoying (another) cool Saturday at the bar.

"I'm here every day but especially Saturdays because of the recreation. You just hang out, play likkle domino. I've been coming here for quite a while. Not quite from the beginning though. I only look that old," he joked.

Williams said he loves the good customer service, to which Johnson chimes in, "Don't tell nuh lie enuh."

The laughter this banter elicits from both men is reminiscent more of two old friends joking on the veranda rather than 'just' business owner and customer.

And that's just how it is at Johnson's Drive In Bar, a place for ordinary guys to feel like home.

Other Features Stories