Wednesday, 16 August 2017
The Grand History of The BIG I Pub and Lounge
sign from the original Nevada bar in Fairbanks, AkTHE BIG I is actually a third incarnation of what started as the notorious and legendary Nevada Bar. The Nevada had opened its doors on April 15th, 1958 and was very popular with an eclectic crowd of true Alaskan pioneers, miners, trappers, sourdoughs and businessmen--many of the iconic shakers and movers of the Interior in what was still the Territory of Alaska. But alas on July 1, 1971 they served their last shot of red eye and closed their doors having had a pretty good run of 13 years.

The Big International Bar Fbks,AlaskaYet by August 13th of the same summer it reincarnated into The Big International Bar, or as it was always called, "The Big I" which had closed after the Great Flood of 1967. The Bar was owned by John J. "Jack" Sexton and from 1974 managed and Hap Rydereventually jointly owned by the lovable and locally famous character, Bert J. "Hap" Ryder until John Jackovich bought it in 2006. Hap was known not only as the bar's gracious host, but for his thespian and culinary talents as well. He sure put on some great Saint Patrick's Day Celebrations and was a man with a big smile and even bigger heart, although in stature was just a leprechaun of a gent.

The Big I pub and lounge as it is todayOn the south wall of the establishment is a place of pictures and memorabilia honoring patrons and local celebrities who have passed on, of which Hap joined on March 14th, 2007. During the years Hap ran the place you could drop by on Sunday morning after Service to join in for an "après mass" libation at what was touted as Fairbanks' only Catholic bar, and as the bar is directly across Cushman street from the Immaculate Conception Church it was rather convenient.

In 2006 John Jackovich bought the place, and I have to say "THE I" is better than ever, if you've never stopped in you're missing out. It still has all the charm, breathes the history of the oldest bar now in Fairbanks and attracts, if possible, an even more eclectic mix of patrons than ever. Still the best place in hundreds of miles for Saint Paddy's Day or for just kicking back and relaxing with an after work beer. Free Wi-Fi, scantily clad Bartenders, great Monday Night Football bashes with three 42" flat screen T.V.'s, Food and Prize giveaways and the nicest people you'd want to hang with--

Or as John says, "EVERYBODY!!! Come one, Come all, Everyone is always welcome at the Big I Pub & Lounge. Because it's not the bar that make the people, it's the people, That Makes The Bar!!"

Read more about John Jackovich