Earlier today, OKC Talk reported that the assholes at Braum’s – Oklahoma’s once-beloved chain of ice cream and dairy stores – are in the process of acquiring and demolishing that dirty and filthy, yet quirky and charming, historic building on Classen Circle that houses hipsterish metro dives like the Hi-Lo, Drunken Fry, and Classen Grill.
Here are the details via OKC Talk:
Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores has filed plans that show the demolition of several historic structures near the old Classen Circle.
The company acquired a small house next to the HiLo Club, Drunken Fry and Classen Grill in 2015.
They have filed to rezone .48 acres which is all the properties bound by Classen, NW 50th and Military Avenue and documents show plans to raze all existing buildings and construct a new Braum’s.
WTF?!? And I thought Braum’s giving me the wrong order in the drive thru made my blood boil! Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to tear down a beloved, historic structure that houses millions of drunken OKC memories? This would be like tearing down the old Split T to build a Sonic!
Seriously, though, this is an awful idea even by Braum’s standards.
First of all, Classen Circle is filthy and dirty enough as it. It’s part of the area’s charm. We don’t need Braum’s to move in and make it worse. Flies have enough opportunity in that area.
Plus, Classen Circle is notoriously difficult to navigate. The city planner who designed the area is a damn psychopath. I’ve seen people drive the wrong way into turn lanes, run red lights, and stop in the middle of Classen not knowing where to go. The last thing we need is a bunch of old people driving around in circles trying to locate the entrance to the Braum’s drive-thru.
Here’s more about the history of the structure via OKC Talk:
The structure housing the HiLo Club and the Drunken Fry was built in 1948 as the Donnay Building and was once home to the old Sidecar Lounge and The Patio restaurant which operated from the mid 50’s to the early 1990’s. HiLo’s website indicates they have been in operation from 1956. Charlie’s Jazz-Rhythm & Blues Records is also a tenant in the building.
Along with nearby Edna’s and the 51st Street Speakeasy, the Drunken Fry and HiLo comprise a popular bar district with patrons often moving freely between the popular watering holes.
The Classen Grill building was constructed in 1929 and the restaurant has operated there since 1980.
If that doesn’t help you appreciate the structure, watch this video by acclaimed indie musician Harper Simon. It was shot in and around the building in 2013:
Can you see a musician coming to OKC to shoot a music video at a boring generica Braum’s? No way. The only people with video cameras inside Braum’s are either pedophiles or undercover health department investigators.
Anyway, I guess we’ll follow this infuriating story and provide updates. In the name of our 2008 and 2009 Snuggie Pub Crawls, we’ll do whatever’s possible to keep this from happening. Save Classen Circle. Save the drunk memories!