The only reason we know where Jeannie’s Bottle is located is because we know where House of Bricks used to be. With little in the way of signage from the street, it would be easy for one to miss the bar tucked behind a strip of businesses on Merle Hay Road. On a Friday night, we park near three Harleys and walk past a sign that reads “Full Throttle at the Bottle.”
8:32 p.m. We take seats at the bar, giving us a view of a beer cooler with an impressive variety of beer. We order bottles of Stella Artois and Strongbow for $4.25 each from a bartender wearing a shirt from J&S Midwest Customs, a nearby motorcycle garage.
8:34 p.m. Someone has requested a rock block of screamo tunes, an offshoot of hardcore punk with vocals that are primarily screamed. We take a gander at the clientele in an effort to find the culprit: A gray-haired couple is playing Buck Hunter; an older gent with an impressive Santa-like beard is customizing a pair of shoes on a netbook; and two younger couples have commandeered the pool tables. Buying into the stereotype, we pinpoint a young guy with exposed tattoos, a bleached Mohawk and an unbleached goatee that skims the neck of his T-shirt.
8:47 p.m. The music ends. Not just the screamo music, but all music.
8:55 p.m. We can no longer stand the silence. We peruse the jukebox and end up with choices by Mutemath, Fitz & the Tantrums and R.E.M. It feels like we’ve transformed Jeannie’s Bottle into an entirely different bar.
9:11 p.m. A DJ donning a leather vest with a motorcycle club affiliation, a beard down to his sternum and black-frame glasses commandeers the small corner stage and starts playing tunes before launching into the night’s karaoke lineup. First up is “I Wanna Get Free” by The Vines, a song we haven’t thought about in 10 years. He follows it with an Irish-punk tune by the Dropkick Murphys.
9:24 p.m. Now he’s playing a song by seminal punk group Dead Kennedys. Then lesser-known punk group Pennywise, then back to Dropkick Murphys. Between the bar’s biker affiliation and the alternative soundtrack, it’s starting to feel like we’ve found ourselves on an episode of “Sons of Anarchy” — but, you know, without the sex and violence.
9:37 p.m. Karaoke finally starts. Called to the stage is Isa, a middle-aged woman clutching a glass of wine, though we peg Jeannie’s as the type of place that likely carries one red and one white wine. We’re expecting a cringe-worthy karaoke staple like Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but instead she sings a respectable version of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.”
9:43 p.m. A 20-something guy drops off a slip of paper with his karaoke request. As he walks from the stage, we can’t help but stare. His blue dress shirt is unbuttoned, and his thick, black chest hair looks like he’s smuggling a toupee.
9:53 p.m. Chest Hair is called to the stage in the middle of his turn on the “Family Guy” pinball machine. He releases a few guttural grunts into the mic as if revving up a motor before launching into Pearl Jam’s version of “Last Kiss.” We’re still staring at the forest and wondering why his friends haven’t coaxed a few more of those buttons closed.
10:21 p.m. There are no open tables at Jeannie’s.
10:23 p.m. The DJ takes the stage and sings “Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash, a song that maintains his cred while pleasing the diverse clientele.
10:30 p.m. A new couple has bellied up next to us to play touch screen games. He turns to her and admits he needs to fart and disappears into the men’s bathroom. A true gentleman, he is.
10:37 p.m. Isa returns to the stage. Last time, Rush. This time, Pink. We figure this swing in taste pretty much sums up Jeannie’s Bottle. It’s as though the stakeholders would like Jeannie’s to be a bit more punk rock, but understand the clientele demands middle ground, a line they walk with ease.
Find it: 3839 Merle Hay Road, Suite 108
Hours: 3 p.m.-2 a.m. daily