Stan Fletcher and Joe McGovern say the keys to their success with Stan and Joe’s Saloon is a positive energy, good food and a local crowd.
Fletcher and McGovern opened Stan and Joe’s on West Street in Annapolis six years ago on Jan. 30 and expanded to Edgewater two years ago April 1. In honor of the saloon’s recent anniversary the pair is hosting a celebration on Sunday. However, McGovern said they would not be celebrating their milestone if it weren’t for promises made very early on in the business venture.
“We made a promise to each other years ago,” McGovern said. “We knew it was going to be hectic—anyone can pour beer, but to be successful in this business you have to put your heart and soul in it and I am lucky to have a business partner that does that.”
Along with working hard to provide quality service and good food, both Fletcher and McGovern agree that it’s the local clientele that keeps the business thriving.
Both men said that when they started six years ago their goal was to keep it local and they feel they have done that.
“We both wanted a very local oriented, old fashion, saloon that you don’t see much of anymore,” McGovern said. “Everything has gone corporate. We pride ourselves on being local and helping local charities and local people.”
The walls of Stan and Joe’s in both Edgewater and Annapolis reflect their passion for a hometown feel. McGovern points to a picture of the wall of a solider outside his camp in Afghanistan. He said the solider and his mom frequented Stan and Joe’s so they sent him food and honor him on the wall.
Fletcher said another local woman, who is a regular at the Edgewater bar, has a son in the Air Force. The woman saw a Budweiser Air Force sign at Stan and Joe’s and told Fletcher that her son would love it. Fletcher took the sign off the wall on the spot and gave it to the woman for her son.
“Our regulars here aren’t our customers they are our guests,” McGovern said. “We are both Annapolis home-town guys. We know our guests, we know their kids. That’s what you get here.”
Before opening Stan and Joe’s both Fletcher and McGovern worked at other bars in Annapolis. Fletcher said they had been bartending for what felt like 600 years each—in a good way—and decided they were ready to open their own place.
“We knew we weren’t kidding about it—we wanted to open a place,” Fletcher said. “A lot of people talk in dreams and we were talking in goals. And we had pretty similar views in how a place should be run, which I think is why we are successful.”
In a world where the economy is harsh and times are often tough, it’s no secret that businesses around town come and go. But not only has Stan and Joe’s stayed for six years—they’ve expanded.
Fletcher said neither of them takes their success for granted. They have seen other businesses around town close and they don’t revel in other establishments’ failure or dread other bars’ success. McGovern added that they learn from each experience.
“We only have time to worry about one place,” McGovern said. “The restaurant business needs all the winners they can get—seeing places close, it hurts to see it. And on the other hand if someone is doing better than us then kudos to them and we need to pick our game up.”
Whether it’s Stan and Joe’s fantastic happy hour, live music, or positive energy that keeps them in business one thing is clear—locals loves them and they are here to stay.
"We love being down here in Edgewater," Fletcher said. "We are really, really happy that we made the decision to come down here. It’s a great bunch of people. They have warmed up to us and opened up their arms and for that we are very grateful.
Added McGovern, “And the best is yet to come.”
The anniversary celebration will be held at Stan and Joe's Annapolis location on Sunday at 4 p.m. The night will feature live music from the Michael McHenry Tribe and Peter James.