By Mary Arden Guyton and Allie Willis
The location of former local bar Frank & Marlee’s is now home to Oxford’s newest bar, Harrison’s. The current owners of Harrison’s Bar, Griffin Tanner and Bubba Gross, also own two local well-known bars: Round Table and The Levee.
Aaron Dawson, a 22-year-old from Vermilion, Ohio, currently serves as the bar’s new manager. He is a chemical engineering student at the University of Mississippi.
“I didn’t have previous bartending experience before accepting this job,” Dawson said. “I was one of the many employees that the previous manager, Jackson May, recruited before starting a full-time job elsewhere. Jackson asked me to take over his position before he left, and I was very happy to accept the position.”
The bar opened mid-September, but the owners said there is more work to do in the future. The bar currently consists of a brand new staff.
As a whole, the bar’s appearance remains similar to before, but there are some major physical changes being made. The outside deck is currently under construction with plans for expansion, Dawson said.
“As of right now, the progress with the deck is coming pretty slowly,” Dawson said. “We ran into a few legal complications with the city of Oxford regarding the quality of the wood and the spacing of the deck. A lot of people have been waiting for the deck to reopen, so we are trying to take care of these details as soon as possible. When it opens, the deck will be the largest patio on the Oxford Square.”
Dawson said the well-known swings on former Frank and Marlee’s outside deck will be back once the new deck is fully renovated. Even though the new bar has its own personality, the staff at Harrison’s plans to continue hosting live music events that resemble those previously held in the venue.
“The owner of Square Pizza, Tate Moore, comes and plays in the basement every Wednesday,” Dawson said. “On football game days, we have had DJs and local bands come and play at the bar. We also plan to schedule The Busty Petites to come and play very soon. When the deck opens, we hope the music scene will really take off.”
The bar was previously known for its food, including ‘Taco Tuesdays.’ Only a few changes have been made to the previous menu, Dawson said.
Bubba Gross, head chef at Southern Craft Stove + Tap and chef in charge at Harrison’s, will create the menu based off the one at Southern Craft, Dawson said. The menu will include burgers, wings and a special crawfish dip that has proven very popular with customers.
Harrison’s bar officially opened Sept. 12 to the LOU community. So far, the bar has had success attracting both recurring and brand new customers, according to Dawson.
“Things have been going very well,” Dawson said. “As a whole, there is still a lot of work to be done. Our entire staff has done very well with working together as an efficient team. I have faith that this bar will be very successful.”