“Milkman.” “Troll.” “Shirl.” These were just a few of the nicknames, provided by Larry Woodman and his sidekicks, J. B. Amero and Dana Muise, of those who frequented the Trap, which is how locals referred to the once-legendary drinking establishment beneath The Essex Room. As Doug Woodman observed, after the Bunghole Lounge was closed, the space sat idle for a few years in the late 1970s. Eventually it was refurbished as a sports bar that included a game room, and with eldest brother Larry serving as manager, it was reopened as the Lobster Trap Pub.
Popular throughout the area, the Trap gained somewhat of a raucous reputation. “Hey, I met my future husband there hustling pool,” laughs one patron, who fondly remembers Christmastimes when the place would be decked out in blue, including blue lighting, while Elvis’ version of Blue Christmas was constantly played over the sound system.
It was a change in public smoking regulations that ultimately spelled the end of the Lobster Trap Pub as a local watering hole, when all workplaces (including restaurants and bars) within the Town of Essex became 100 percent smoke-free. “After that, business died and it became a money loser,” says Doug Woodman. “We had to close it down. But first we held a final “last hurrah” and it really seemed like the town was in mourning. Some patrons even wore ‘God Save the Trap’ T-shirts!”
Although the Lobster Trap is no longer a public tavern, it remains one of Woodman’s most popular venues, especially among former patrons returning to celebrate such milestone events as birthdays, anniversaries, bachelor parties, and informal weddings. And a holiday season has yet to slide by without the unmistakable strands of Blue Christmas being crooned from the familiar old stage … as a karaoke request.
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