Carrie Rengers

One of Wichita’s oldest bars to reopen

Candle Club manager Judah Craig is part of a group that’s reopening Snug Harbor, one of Wichita’s oldest bars.
Candle Club manager Judah Craig is part of a group that’s reopening Snug Harbor, one of Wichita’s oldest bars. The Wichita Eagle

A new group is going to reopen Snug Harbor, a Wichita bar at Lincoln and Edgemoor that dates to 1954, and it’s just about the same group of people who own another longtime Wichita club.

Candle Club owners Judah Craig, Steve Ruud, Brian Thornton, Ryan Reed and Gary Austerman are joining friends Steve Anderson and Troy Moellinger to reopen Snug Harbor.

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“It was one of those things, it was just kind of a fun conversation,” says Craig, who also is general manager of the Candle Club.

“Those who do have more time than me pursued it a little, and then they said, ‘Well, this could actually happen. What do you think? Could you help us get it done?’ I was like ‘Aw, geez.’ ”

Craig, though, like the others, has some fond memories of Snug Harbor and couldn’t refuse.

“It had some sort of significant time for all of us, so when we heard it was available, we wanted to be a part of it,” Craig says.

The bar will reopen on Jan. 24.

“It was too great of a place to kind of let it just disappear,” Craig says.

As when the members took over the Candle, they’re making only minimal changes at first.

“Nothing too dramatic yet,” Craig says. “Mostly just reorganization, cleaning, tidying. … I wanted to keep that identity.”

The bar is as small and snug as its name suggests, with room for a long bar with stools, a pool table, a few games and a few seating areas.

Craig says part of the appeal is that Snug Harbor is even older than the Candle.

“That added kind of to it for us, too, that there’s a lot of history,” he says. “The place has some neat nostalgic-type things.”

In cleaning it, Craig says he found some interesting things, such as quarters that look like some of the first ever made.

“I think somebody got them fresh out of the mint and then dropped them. … They were buried really, really deep.”

Initially, the business will be open 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily except for Mondays, when it will be closed. Craig says that could change according to what customers want.

“This is going to be a lot of fun,” he says.

“That’s what’s awesome. We’ve all had so much fun working together that it’s grown,” Craig says of the group’s business interests.

“Maybe this is a little bit smaller, but there will be bigger opportunities, too.”

He’s not sure what those are yet.

“I get that feeling because they’re all very excited. I imagine there will be more and more things.”

He says he also has no doubt that members of the group will frequent Snug Harbor.

“It will definitely be a place for us to hang out.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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