Ryan Cormier, The News Journal
If Bobby Pancake had been at the University of Delaware when he was college-aged, you wouldn’t have found him crushing beer cans with his head or shotgunning cheap Budweiser at the old Stone Balloon Tavern and Concert Hall in Newark.
It’s just not his style.
Even though he never stepped foot in the legendary watering hole, he’s the one who has brought the Balloon back to Main Street, re-filling the hearts of those who spent perhaps a little too much time in the notorious bar.
When Bill Stevenson, the original owner of the Balloon drove down Main Street and saw the sign for the first time, he was overtaken with emotion.
Everything was right again in the heart of Newark.
And even better, it was back to being a Balloon-branded beer bar and not a somewhat haughty wine bar filled with light jazz, artisanal sheep milk cheeses and Argentine Malbecs.
“I couldn’t believe it was back. I’m delighted. This ale house brings it full circle,” says Stevenson, who is not involved in the project. “Why they didn’t take more advantage of the Stone Balloon name in the past surprised me, but this makes it all right.”
After closing for a short time last month for remodeling, the 100-seat Stone Balloon opened its doors a few weeks ago, showcasing the Balloon legend with plenty of nods to the old rock club without the sometimes cheesy feel of a Hard Rock Cafe. (And fear not, the custom-made archway made of brick and stone from the façade of the old original Balloon remains.)
The back wall is adorned with the names of many of the major acts that played the hallowed hall and guitars line the stairway not to heaven, but rather the upstairs dining area available for private events. READ MORE…