Welcome back to “Almost Oxford”, where I review stuff that’s, well, almost in Oxford. The last few installments have been about places I love, to the point they probably read like sponsored advertisements, but this week I have something new for you. I really don’t know what to make of JohnKellyVille Beach Bar and Grill so I’m breaking format and walking you through my night in Batesville’s most notorious hangout.
Accompanied by Friday Rollin’s Will Bedwell, I pull up to a wooden building connected to what used to be a gas station. A promising start. It’s roughly 10 pm we step inside and immediately feel like we may have made a mistake. It’s a dark mostly empty bar with TVs set to Fox News.
We stroll up to the counter, the bartender is nice, hands us a remote and some menus. Locals start easing in to play shuffle board and pool. True Grit is playing behind the bar, the beers arrive in koozies, and I’m starting to enjoy it all.
Bedwell decides its time to test out the repeated claim to have the best burgers in the whole state of Mississippi. I’m intrigued by all the late night food options, ranging from a full steak dinner to a slice of cheese on a single piece of toast.
The burger shows up and it’s good. Not “best burger in the state” good, but it’s solid and absolutely covered in cheese. The onion rings are... strange. There are multiple layers in each ring. Actually, one of them is just half a damn onion.
So the food’s pretty good, we’re watching some ESPN2 boxing, on our second round of beers, all around having a good time. I start planning my glowing review.
But wait, what’s this?
The bro patrol rolls in. Dozens of frat pledge lookin’ guys in the exact same shirt with exactly every other bro sporting a black vest. Yeti hat optional. It’s getting crowded now. Too crowded for a bar this size. Time to go out back and check out the notorious JohnKellyVille swimming pool.
The pool patio part is blocked off with a ladder. I’m not about to finish the night in here though. The drunk bro next to me is trying to introduce us to his roommate to whom he keeps referring to as “Dirty Trev”. I do not want to share a few rounds with “Dirty Trev”. Bedwell suggests we step out and see if the patio is accessible from outside.
This back alley under the highway place is probably not where you want to take a cig break or whatever.
It’s late and I’m old. Time to head out.
So what did we learn? Would I recommend it? Will I come back? Hell if I know. JohnKellyVille Beach Bar and Grill: It’s something.