Vintage bike club auction keeps Time Warp rolling

Betty BeanUncategorized

At first glance, the sign on the front door is alarming.

An auction? At the Time Warp? What the heck does this mean? Is Happy Holler’s landmark business closing?

Don’t worry: The Time Warp Tea Room is getting a boost, not the boot, with a Feb. 26 auction.

But turns out it’s the Time Warp Vintage Motorcycle Club’s annual fundraiser for the Time Warp Tea Room, which has hosted the club since 2003 and has evolved from the weekly Tuesday night Bike Night that started soon after Dan Moriarty opened the doors in 2002.

Moriarty has spent a lifetime in the holler – he was born at St. Mary’s, grew up just across Broadway on Deery Street, attended elementary school at Holy Ghost and graduated from Fulton. He made the first modern-era investment in the district before it was reborn as the thriving entertainment/commercial hub that it is today, and he did so without benefit of government-funded incentives.

“I was the pioneer,” he said. “And you know what they say – pioneers catch all the arrows.”

The building he bought in the 1200 block of North Central had been vacant since 1972, when Southern Household Supply, which had been in business since 1914, closed its doors.

Moriarty had been in the jukebox business most of his working life, so he was familiar with all the dives and honkytonks in town and was able to buy up furnishings over the years as they went out of business. He and his nephew, the late Jack Hutchins, incorporated them into the interior of the building and created a homey, appealing space full of local memorabilia. (Hutchins was murdered on the sidewalk in front of his Parkridge home by gangbangers in 2013. Moriarty has a difficult time speaking of it.)

While they worked on the building, Hutchins and Moriarty talked about what the place was going to be – a bar or an alcohol-free coffee shop. The decision got made for them when a church took up residence next door (in the building that now houses the XYZ Club), foreclosing the option of serving booze.

But Moriarty, who said he got pretty sick of drunks while servicing his jukebox business, is OK with that. He and his wife, Peggy, decided that liquor brings more headaches than it’s worth.

But it also brings in money, something that’s hard to come by running an alcohol-free bar.

Hence the fundraiser.

It’s called the H&H auction for the late Hudson Henderson, a loyal club member who started the tradition. They’ll sell motorcycle-related items – clothing, parts and the like – and other stuff the club members decide to bring in.

The proceeds will go to supplement club dues and will be donated to the Time Warp, to help Moriarty get over what he calls the winter hump.

“These old buildings – you just can’t heat them,” he said.

The auction will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 (a Tuesday, of course). Anyone with items to donate can drop them off at the Time Warp, which is, of course, the auction’s location.

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