Jack’s Lookout: Waterfront bar survives by inviting storm to come in
Businesses as well as homes on Marco Island were battered by Hurricane Irma. Different businesses used various strategies to prepare for the storm. One that is perhaps counter-intuitive and outside the mainstream is that adopted by Jack’s Lookout: let ’er rip.
The dockside bar at Rose Marina pulled out sensitive items such as their widescreen televisions, then opened up all their windows and let the storm blow through.
“We’ve been through three hurricanes – Andrew, Wilma, and now Irma, and this has worked for us,” said Jack’s Lookout owner Jack Creedon. He was told decades ago by someone he referred to as a “forensic engineer,” which Wikipedia defines as an expert in “the investigation of materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property,” that trying to board up the windows of the structure would just act as a sail and increase the chance of major damage.
Sitting barely above the waterline in the middle of the charter boat docks at Rose Marina, it seems like a good strategy, and at this point, Jack has had the business, intact, for 33 years at its current location.
There was damage from Irma; the compressors for three coolers plus the wine cooler and icemaker were inundated with two and a half feet of salt water and had to be replaced, and the antenna for the satellite television blew away. But as of last Friday – or maybe Thursday, Jack wasn’t quite sure, Jack’s Lookout was open for business and welcoming customers, including those who showed up to watch the New England Patriots lose – again!
Terrible about the Pats, the team that every right-thinking football fan not from the Boston area loves to hate, but Creedon, originally from Onset, MA, is a diehard fan, and Jack’s Lookout is an oasis for fans of the Patriots, and their quarterback and coach who might, okay, be the best ever to play the game.
Jack’s caters to a wide range of clientele, from visiting celebrities and wealthy investment bankers to casual locals such as Fred Laingren, who said a big attraction for him is that he can walk there from home – and presumably, back again.
“Jack’s Lookout is the friendliest bar I’ve ever run into,” said Laingren. “You can definitely pick up a few words of wisdom here.” Along those lines, he offered up the following: “Southwest Florida is the place to be – hurricanes and all.”
Glenn Walton, another regular, said he and his wife come in “at least a couple of times each week. To me, it’s kind of a throwback to old Florida. You don’t find a lot of places that have that old Florida feel.”
With the casual, open architecture – even before the wind blows through, Jack’s looks like what in the Boston area would be called a seafood dive, except they don’t serve seafood, except for some “chowdah” – New England of course.
“Yeah, we have a limited menu,” said Jack Creedon. “Hotdogs, chili, and chowder. People come here more for the liquid refreshment.”
There is a dry sense of humor evident at Jack’s, where the hot dogs are listed on the menu at “market price,” as though they were lobster tails, and a sign out front warns this is a Snow Route.
While he has attained the ripe old age of 83, and suffers from COPD, Creedon said he has no plans to retire, although his son, local real estate agent Dennis Creedon does help out with the lookout.