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The Origin of Hayley’s Bar

15 Aug 2018

written by Croma

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The Origin of Hayley’s Bar

Text & Photos by T. Ryan Borland

The genesis of the pink dive bar at 278 Dauphin St. began with the working experience of business namesake Hayley Maulsby. The founder and Alabama native came up with her original bar concept while working at various hip dive bars in New York City such as The Village Idiot. This style of no frills bar is similar to businesses such as Coyote Ugly, which also started in NYC.

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Many bars make the mistake of overthinking their concept by changing for the times and worrying about what is currently trending. Instead, Hayley had a vision for a local bar in downtown Mobile, Ala. very similar to what she experienced in NYC’s lower east side. By combining low prices with good quality, Hayley was able to return to the Gulf Coast an establish a bar business model in 1991 that has worked for over a quarter century in the Azalea City.

“There’s no place like Mobile Bay. It has a different character that is shown in so many different ways,” Hayley insisted.

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One example of their attention to detail is that they always used canned colas instead of a soda gun, so that mixed drinks are not served flat or watered down. When Hayley’s Bar opened in LoDa, the location was also one of the first to serve beer in bottles. Most downtown establishments at the time only served canned beers.

“Everybody told me I was crazy. They said, ‘Your never gonna make it downtown, no way!’ Everybody. Even people who said that to me ended up asking me for a job months later. That was pretty funny,” Hayley retorted.

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By setting their drink standards high, the surrounding bars in the Mobile area of the time had to follow suit in order to attract the same bar goers that Hayley’s was now attracting. The owner herself became so busy over time that she had to stop bartending in order to manage and focus on the business side of things.

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This eventually led to co-owner Delane Bond partnering with Hayley to ensure the bar’s continued success. Having met just over a decade ago while working together, Delane and Hayley decided to form a business partnership for the bar due to their like mindedness and ability to work together successfully.

“Delane also means the world to me. She is possibly the best partner I could have ever dreamed of,” Hayley shared.

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The vision of downtown Dauphin as a mini bourbon street seemed far fetched over 25 years ago, but has come closer to that reality with multiple successful bar businesses lining the streets alongside restaurants, The Saenger Theater, and the CLA. Despite the growth of downtown around the dive bar over the years, Hayley’s Bar has maintained a consistent quality and everyone is welcome attitude that has continued the location’s popularity.

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The employees of the bar are extremely loyal because the owners care about their bartenders and security making a living wage. The result is an independent business with hard working employees and even more devoted customers. Many guests enjoy the fact that they can eschew common trashcan etiquette and discard their plastic shot glasses harmlessly on the black and white checkered floor.

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“I worked really really hard and it paid off. What my dad taught me is that if you work really really hard you can do anything you want. Its true. I did, I accomplished it, and it makes me so proud. I’ve seen so many people come through. I’ve seen people graduate college, get masters degrees, have children, or maybe even pass away. I live so much through that bar, its just like my child sorta and it means the world to me. It is so great … I never thought this could happen. It makes me feel like the dream that I had totally came true. If you don’t like your job, you are not going to like your life, and I love my job,” Hayley expressed.

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Hayley’s Facebook Page

 


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