If you’ve never been to Shannon’s, chances are you may get a little lost trying to find the place.
“It’s really hard to find unless someone tells you about it,” says Manager Barbara Robinson. “It’s not like we’re right on Washington Road. You kind of have to look for it.”
Located in an office complex right past Red Wing Rollerway on Washington Road, Shannon’s is worth seeking out. It’s been in existence since the 1980s, but has only changed ownership a handful of times. Robinson, who manages Shannon’s for Billy Brewer, who has owned it since the beginning of April, says the new team has hardly changed a thing.
That’s good news to regulars at Shannon’s, who have come to rely on cook John Wheeler’s food to get them through a busy work week. Wheeler, who has been with the bar for nearly five years, says almost as many people come to Shannon’s for the food as they do for the drinks.
Wheeler takes a lot of pride in his cooking, and menu favorites include the BLT hoagie, the 12-ounce ribeye and a gargantuan hamburger that, on Monday, is offered with chips or fries and a beer for $5.
“The key is cooking things fresh. and everything is all nice and clean back there,” he says, pointing to the kitchen located behind the U-shaped bar. “It’s all mine so there’s nobody else to blame but me if people don’t like the food, but I don’t have any complaints. I’ve been here almost five years and I’ve only had three steaks come back.”
“You need to come back and have our hamburger,” he continued. “I promise you you’ll love it. It’s the seasoning. I have a special seasoning for hamburgers, I have a special seasoning for fries and one for pork chops, too.”
The ribeye, Tuesday’s special at $11.95, is served with a salad and what Robinson likes to call a “mystery potato.” That’s because no one ever knows what Wheeler is going to whip up.
“I’ll sometimes do a baked potato, a scalloped potato or an au gratin potato,” he shrugs. “Really, it’s whatever I feel like making.”
Great food isn’t the only reason to visit Shannon’s however. A fully stocked bar that charges a fraction of what other places in town do is another reason this lounge has such a loyal clientele.
“Our bar brands are $3 a drink and our premium brands like Crown are $5,” Robinson says. “And our most expensive drink is $7. If it’s a Long Island Iced Tea I think they charge $10 for that, but you can’t get a Crown and whatever for $5 anywhere.”
Draft beer is inexpensive, Fireball shots are $3 (about half what other bars charge), and weekend specials include martinis on Friday nights and shots on Saturdays.
“We’ve got the best drink prices in town,” Robinson says. “I don’t know anybody who has them any cheaper than that.”
Because of those great prices, Robinson says that cuts out the need to do what almost every other bar in town does: Happy hour.
“We don’t do happy hour because we’re always happy,” she laughs.
It’s worth mentioning that those drinks are served by a great staff headed up by Aaron and Regina.
“Our main staff has been doing this for a long time… and everybody loves Aaron,” Robinson said.
Customers also love Shannon’s entertainment, which includes live music by local bands like Perfect Picture, Atomic Road and Sassy Brass, as well as several nights of karaoke. Fortunately, because of the way the bar is laid out with the dance floor and stage on one side of the bar and the majority of the seating on the other, customers find that they can always carry on a conversation.
Shannon’s formula — delicious food, well-priced drinks, nightly live entertainment with no cover charge and a friendly staff — has earned them a coveted top spot in Augusta’s bar scene. And if you’ve never been, Robinson says there’s one simple reason why you should.
“We’re the best bar in town,” she says. “We have entertainment every night, we have great food, great bartenders, great prices on our drinks. It’s just a neighborhood bar: lots of fun, lots of nice folks. There’s no other place like it in town.”
300 Shartom Drive, Augusta
Open daily at 4 p.m.; Saturdays during football season open at noon