Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
Disney Springs, Walt Disney World, Florida
26 June 2017
"C'mon! Show a little backbone, will ya?"
to Indiana Jones, after escaping a Peruvian tribe
and being unpleasantly surprised by Jock's pet snake, Reggie
I don't geek out much. Seriously. In terms of pop culture, there are only a couple things I hold sacred. There's U2 and there's Indiana Jones.
As it happens, during this particular trip, I got to indulge in both. U2 in Miami and Tampa on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 and Indy at Walt Disney World.
So, of course, I went to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! when I visited the Hollywood Studios park. It was very cool. The stunts were truly spectacular (as were the flames), plus the leads for Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood were top notch and very friendly, hanging out to meet fans after the show. It was all framed within the conceit they were actually "filming" a movie. Cameras rolled across the stage, stagehands did their thing — lots of details to give the show the feel of a film set.
But the really cool part was how one thing led to another, as so often happens during my trips.
Naturally, I visited the Indy gift shop. Gift shops are everywhere in Disney World; they're even the butt of a joke during the African safari ride. I have fond memories of this one, though.
I browsed around, decide to partake in a 2-for-$40 T-shirt deal and was rather perplexed by one T-shirt design hanging on a rack. It said, "Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar." It was one of the pricier T's, a sort of designer line. It was next to another seemingly fictional cantina-themed T-shirt or some such thing. I was thinking, surely this reference to "Jock Lindsey" couldn't be to the Jock of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the guy with the plane (and the pet snake, Reggie) who rescues Indy after his misadventure in the Peruvian temple, chasing after the golden fertility idol. That would be too obscure and clever — even for Disney.
That was Saturday afternoon and I went about my business, including a trip over to Epcot for a couple pints of Guinness at a British pub. I won't go into the little incident involving my camera, the back side of the Epcot "ball" (Spaceship Earth) and a "cast member" who seemed primed to send Interpol after me for daring to take a picture from that vantage point.
Anyway, Monday rolled around and it was time to wrap up the trip, a 2-week odyssey that included a detour over to Cuba. A grand adventure in its own right. So, how to end it on a high note? That's always the challenge and the past several trips have managed to hit it out of the park. This time, maybe it'd be a matter of touring around the Port Orleans resort. Sure, I spent 4 nights there, but saw little more than my room and the cafeteria (and the gift shop, of course). Maybe I should go to Disney Springs. Nah. It sounds too busy, need to make a reservation for lunch. But... Well... The bus runs every 20 minutes, so why not hit the Irish pub, take my chances at getting a spot at the bar, then head back to the resort for photos.
Well, space was aplenty at the Raglan Road pub. I'm not sure how the parks app handles reservations; it said the next available was at 1:30, but the place was pretty quiet around noon.
Anyway, I tip a couple pints, down some ribs and consider lunch a success. It poured rain for a little while as I ate, so it looked like the balloon ride I was thinking of taking was temporarily closed. Oh well. Maybe next time.
So I stroll outside, turn the corner, look across the way and there it is: Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar!
It takes a certain kind of bar to make me as giddy as a schoolboy, and Jock's did it.
It was real.
And it was all about the world of Indiana Jones!
I did a terrible job of containing my enthusiasm. I put it right out there for the bartender and explained to her I was totally geeking out. I was highly entertained as I took it all in.
I read the menu from cover to cover. It's no simple menu of drinks and food stuff. It's a beautiful piece of work, thoroughly thought out. It's styled after Jock's flight log; it's a hardcover book designed so bits of the log appear behind menu items "paper clipped" into the book. Read it closely; there are references to adventures and misadventures aplenty. I actually took pictures of each page of the menu; only a few of them are presented here.
How about the coasters? One side promotes Jock's bar (established in 1955 while he was on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth; when he stumbled on this particular spot in Florida, he thought it was the perfect place to retire, give Reggie some space to play &mdah; and to open a bar). The flip side of the coasters make reference to a bar from one of the movies — or even from an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The bartender explained she's seen something like 15 different coasters during the 18 months the place has been open; there's a coaster with the Raven, one with Club Obi-Wan, one with the Lapine Agile (a real place in Paris featured in one of young Indy's adventures — I've been there). At the bar were coasters with The South Seas Club and Cafe Noir; the bartender was so nice, she tracked down one with the Atomic Cafe for me.
I enjoyed my drinks. Reggie's Revenge (laced with a little somethin' special from Reggie, whose cage sits up in the bar's loft). I also had the Cool-headed Monkey (a reference to chilled monkey brains from Temple of Doom).
By the time all was said and done, I purchased a few gems — the Cool-headed Monkey mug, a Hovito Mojito glass and — yes! — one of those Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar T-shirts. Plus, the bartender sent my giddiness into the stratosphere with a couple extra-special treasures.
The details put into the place are astonishing. Here are some of the items on view, some more obvious than others:
- The fertility idol from the Peruvian temple
- Elsa's lighter
- The headpiece to the Staff of Ra
- Indy's jacket
- Reggie's cage
- Voodoo dolls from the Temple of Doom
- The maharaja's feathered dagger
- A painted portrait of Jock
- Travel posters for certain special destinations
- News articles from the local paper documenting Jock's exploits and move to the Springs
And maybe a chap in a Panama hat and a really bad English accent will point out some things to you, as well. I was so into the surroundings, I totally brushed off his weirdness. I'm not sure if he was a "cast member" or a fan. The bartender told me the previous week a guy came in carrying his own Cross of Coronado and Holy Grail.
Honestly, I've been in all sorts of gin joints. For Pete's sake, I had just returned from Cuba, where I visited Hemingway's favorite spots for mojitos and daquiris; every place there was jumpin' with live music and cigars. There's also the goofy creepiness of the original Jekyll & Hyde's in New York City. But, even so, nothing — for me — could top ending my trip with this visit to Jock's.
By the time I left, all I had time for was to get back to the resort, collect my carry-on bag, then get on the shuttle for the airport.
It was Disney's shuttle, and there was a rotation of video clips, cartoons and trivia. As we approached the airport, a segment about Jocks' started. It went into fantastic detail about the effort put into designing the bar — and the consideration given to the storytelling aspects of the bar. It is indeed a perfect fit for a place like Disney Springs.
I will be back!
This article is part of the Mattopia Jones and the Cuban Quandary travel journal.