Story by NICOLE COOKE , Copy Editor—
The Warrensburg community said goodbye in typical Pine Street fashion to a popular downtown business Saturday night. Molly’s Bar and Grille closed its doors on Saturday after a year of business.
Diane Whitworth, mother of the late owner Blaine Whitworth, said that it was a difficult decision to make, but it had become too difficult to run both Molly’s and Bodie’s since she and her husband don’t live in Warrensburg.
“We kept it open as long as we could,” Diane said. “There is a tremendous amount of work that has to be done, like scheduling people to work, stocking products, and meeting vendors. Running one (location) is a lot different than two. We didn’t close because we wanted to, but because we had to.”
Blaine considered the bar, which he named after his grandmother, his home, Diane said.
“He practically lived there, and I can’t even count the number of times he told me that,” Diane said. “He worked on expanding the patio, and created a wonderful place people loved. He acquired Molly’s because he loved Bodie’s so much; one bar wasn’t enough.”
Word quickly spread that Molly’s was closing, which lead to a large turnout for what was dubbed the “final fling.” Souvenir cups featuring the Molly’s logo and “Final Fling” were sold for $5, which came with cheaper refills. A DJ was also on hand to add to the atmosphere, which hadn’t happened since Homecoming.
While the night started off slow, it didn’t take long for the bar to fill with people drinking, dancing, playing pool and having a good time. As the night went on, dancing turned to dancing on tables with drinks in hand, and bartenders climbed up on the bar to celebrate along with their customers. Conversations could only be heard by shouting, and watching the TVs took a back seat to fist pumping and dancing.
Many loyal customers made sure they were in attendance for the last night, whether it was to enjoy a game of pool, or to make the most of their last time at Molly’s. Some employees and customers even wore their Molly’s T-shirts with Blaine’s signature phrase, “Go big or go home.”
Senior public relations major Kellyn Baysinger stopped by the festivities and said the place felt “alive.”
“Everyone seemed to be having fun and reacting to the last night as though it really was the last time they would be in the building,” Baysinger said.
Diane said that while she was at Molly’s on Saturday she was thinking about Blaine.
“I was sad,” Diane said. “I thought about what he (Blaine) would be thinking and how much he loved it. He was so proud of how it was going and that people liked coming there.
“I was very sad, but grateful and glad that we had reopened it so people got to have some closure. It was abrupt, but it wasn’t like it was never open again after Sept. 1. People got the opportunity to be a part of it and to get some closure.”
For some, it wasn’t just their last night coming to Molly’s; for many it was their last night working there.
“The last night there was a lot of fun,” said Derrick Gill, a cook at Molly’s. “It was truly a bittersweet goodbye. We all had a good time celebrating the bar that Blaine built and all of the good times we had, but hated to see it go. After the bar closed me and couple friends spent the night telling stories and remembering Blaine.”
Although they will no longer work at Molly’s, employees, like Gill, will continue working at Bodie’s, since they are trained to work at both establishments.
“Saturday, for me, felt like another day,” Gill said. “I will miss the bar and got to say my goodbye, but Bodie’s will still be open where I can see my favorite co-workers and we can all remember Blaine.”
Now that Molly’s is closed, the Whitworths can now focus their efforts on improving Bodie’s. Renovations have already started, and Diane said the changes will hopefully be completed some time next week. Until they are complete, Bodie’s 2.0 will remain closed, while Bodie’s will be open for business.
The renovations include what Diane called a “major facelift.”
“So far it looks fabulous,” Diane said. “We’re making several exciting changes to upgrade and improve it. It’s going to be exciting for people to see it.”
The section next to the original Bodie’s will be turned into a restaurant, focused on BBQ, which will include a sports bar. The new section will be renamed Blaine’s Pine Street.
Fans of the menu from Molly’s can continue to enjoy Taco Tuesday at Bodie’s, as well as Molly’s homemade fried chicken on Thursdays.
Bodie’s will also be getting a new patio, named Molly’s Patio, with new fencing and a full bar.
“A lot of people are saddened by the idea of Molly’s coming to a close, but are excited for the renovations Bodie’s has in store for everyone,” said Sadie Hicks, who was at Molly’s on Saturday. “I think they had to make a difficult decision, but after hearing the big plans for Bodie’s, I think it will be a good one.”
The Whitworths will also work to continue the work Blaine was doing in the Warrensburg community. He had worked with Warrensburg Main Street, UCM, Whiteman Air Force Base and local law enforcement as part of the Warrensburg Partners in Prevention.
The group’s goal was to work on curbing underage drinking and responsible action. They worked to find alternative forms of entertainment for minors that didn’t involve alcohol.
“This was one of the things he was very proud of,” Diane said. “We want to focus on the good things he was doing to make a difference in the community and continue to work to make things better for Warrensburg businesses.”
As the final fling came to an end, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show played loudly over the speakers, a favorite of many Molly’s patrons. Tucker Whitworth, Blaine’s brother, stood on the bar as he announced the new plans for Blaine’s Pine Street, which was met with cheers and applause from everyone in the bar.
Molly’s customers slowly filtered out onto Pine Street for the final time. Some employees stuck around to clean up and reminisce about the memories they had made, especially those memories that involved Blaine.
“Molly’s was a fun place to work, eat, and party, but what made it truly special was Blaine,” Gill said. “I look forward to still going to Bodie’s though, and enjoying the improvements made by the Whitworth family in Blaine’s honor and memory.”
Bodie’s will be hosting a birthday party in Blaine’s honor on his birthday, Feb. 21. There will also be a 5K to raise money for the Blaine Whitworth, Go Big or Go Home Fund April 6 at 8:30 a.m. Details about the race can be found at gobigorgohomerace.com.