NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Better Here Than Across The Street

by Michelle

NOTE: As many of you know, Paynes closed in October of 2000. It reopened under the name Downtown Saloon on 19 Jan, 2001.

Strategically located directly across from the Loudoun County Court House just north of the intersection of S. King St. and W. Market St. lies Payne’s Biker Cafe. It’s an unassuming little pub nestled in the heart of historic downtown Leesburg and tucked among the antique shops and the new age stores (If you are into that kind of thing you must visit Yesterday’s Memories about a half block away). A small neon sign proclaims "Better Here Than Across The Street" (indicating the courthouse). Even the building is historical as it was once known as "Old Courthouse Saloon"; something educational to hang onto as you are getting blitzed. Just in case you don't know that you are too schnockered to drive, a psychic reader is conveniently located next door ­ too close next door as I almost went into the wrong building. Wonder how many cross eyed bikers ended up with a future rather than a pitcher?

Let’s talk turkey: The bathroom is clean, at least it was when we were there. The place smelled of bleach. Hey, that’s important, when you consider what can go on when the beer is flowing and the bodies are moving. Even the selection in the bathroom vending machine is carefully designed to meet all of any biker’s needs. For mere pocket change you can have Advil, condoms, Tampons, Tylenol or Tattoos.

As for the grub: The traditional bar fare is offered ­ pizza, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, Italian subs, meatball subs, and bar­b­que.(Reaffirming the need for bleaching the next day, and the necessity of clean and well functioning bathrooms). The owner, however, is keeping in mind the bar's somewhat trendy location and has advantageously placed baked chicken and non­fat frozen yogurt on the menu board. I am not sure you can actually get these here as I have never tried, but at least it sounds good.

Get to the action: DJ of the joint is Mr. Doc, hence the looney toon characters painted on the side of the DJ booth touting "What’s Up Doc". Music is from 50's ­ 90's with live music on Saturday nights. If you are out and about during the week, you might want to drop by for free pool on Wednesday night. Even if you are a hard core partier they got you covered: Payne’s has rooms for rent so you never have to wander far from the action.

Mood: The place has a small town homey feel. It appears to cater to a pretty informal tightly knit group of folks as indicated by collage of photos underneath the laminated bar counter ­ a sort of photo album of all the regulars doing their thing. Besides giving you a pretty neat place to spill your beer, It gives you something interesting to gaze upon to determine how well you can focus. Opposite the bar on the right side of the room, are several old style wooden booths illuminated with tiffany lamps decorated with the Harley Davidson logo. Mirrored walls to ad to the illusion of depth and probably cause more than one not so sober customer to reach into it sort of like birds flying into really clear windows.

Basic requirements: There are the necessary pool tables in the back. You can catch your favorite game on the large screen TV or get a more personal and cozy view from the color tv perched over the bar. You can also ogle the standard poster of the partially clad woman on the fridge behind the bar, and, of course, dangling from the ceiling were the required inflatable cars, beer cans, etc, each proclaiming the beer of choice. My personal favorite was the giant plastic lobster holding two bottles of beer. (I wonder what they do with those when they are finished with them ­ one of the many mysteries of bar life).

All in all, Payne’s Biker Cafe is a worthwhile stop if you are in the area of Leesburg. It is an oasis for bikers in the somewhat upscale historical area of Leesburg as long as you can overlook the fact that the Bar is called a Cafe.

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