No, there’s no food, unless you count trail mix or bags of Zapp’s potato chips, or takeout from O.T.’s next door, but Lou’s Pub & Package Store in the Lakeview area was for years a big part of our evenings out — and now it will never be the same, with the death of owner and founder Lou Zaden this week.
Zaden, who was 59, greeted customers with “Hey, Baby!” and was known for giving customer a hard time — all in fun. The bar was named by Esquire magazine last year as one of the Best Bars in America, and celebrated its 21st anniversary this month.
Lou’s Pub has often been compared to bar in the TV show “Cheers,” where “everybody knows your name.”
We haven’t been to Lou’s as often in recent years, as having a preschooler does put a damper on alcoholic binges. Last time I was there, with my sister, Lou put on a big act of acting hurt, putting his nose up in the air and ignoring me before giving me a big smile.
As the Birmingham Business Journal noted in a 2003 article, Lou’s had a major role in the Lakeview renaissance, which began in the mid-1980s and has expanded in recent years.