Back in the early 1990’s, when I was bartending and waiting tables with my brother and sister at the original Vortex location, I always enjoyed the diversity of our clientele. I loved interacting with all the different personalities who chose to party with us at our little bar. They made every shift fun to work. Attorneys and investment bankers would sit elbow to elbow with bikers, musicians and artists, and their conversations were always priceless. Once, I overheard a bevy of drag queens discussing make-up tips with a party of strippers sitting next to them. The two groups eventually pulled their tables together and morphed into a single, loud, hilarious posse. I’m proud that we created a gathering place, and a culture, that makes this type of camaraderie possible.
Politicians like to keep people fighting amongst themselves because that’s how they maintain their power. And if you follow the mainstream media these days, you’d be convinced that the world is filled with nothing but hate and division. In my experience, this is simply not true. At least not in the environments that I choose to be a part of, and The Vortex is one of them. I believe that the success of our business is proof that mutual respect, common courtesy, a positive attitude and a good sense of humor will always allow people to enjoy each other’s company despite whatever their personal differences may be.
I have often wondered what things would be like if I had never moved to Atlanta and opened The Vortex. Obviously, the lives of me and my family would be very different, but the lives of so many other people would also have been impacted, in one way or another. When I think about the interconnectedness of our actions, it’s awe-inspiring. The unique fellowship that blossomed in our bar has fostered countless life-long friendships. People have met and married. Children have been born. Birthdays, anniversaries, good times and bad times have all become part of the fabric of this eccentric little endeavor that we began so long ago on a shoestring budget. And that’s a big part of what has made our efforts so rewarding.
We consider it a privilege to have shared in the lives of our patrons, our employees and so many other unique individuals over the years. And thanks to the continuous support of these beautiful people, The Vortex has become an authentic Atlanta institution. And I offer my personal pledge that we will remain true to our non-conformist roots. We will always revel in being the crazy, independent bar that treats everyone like family (even when it means verbally spanking folks if they get out of line). We will always be a place where good people can come for a good time, and can even become part of our quirky little family if they’d like.
Heading into yet another New Year, I want to offer my heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has provided encouragement to me and my family over the years. Every single one of you is appreciated much more than I can express with these simple words, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I’d like to encourage everyone to recognize that life is
Merry Christmas to you all
– from your good friends at The Vortex.