CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
M& A BAR AND GRILLE
The building had been occupied during the 1930s and 1940s by the H. Nurock Company, jewelers and opticians. As a liquor erstablishment, the M&A Bar & Grille was in fact in business in 1959. It may have even been prior to that as Michael & Antoinette Spiduro took it over in 1955 at 833 Broadway. They later took over the other side where there was a bar. There was an apartment on top of the grille part occupied by my cousins. The place was split into two parts. Half was a grille and luncheonette and the other half a bar. I thought the years they owned it were from 1955 to 1968?
M&A stands for my aunt and uncle's names: Michael & Antoinette Spiduro. I heard the name Stackhouse when I was little but never knew the relationship or whether they rented or owned the bar part? Not sure. They had a little enclosed hallway that separated the two places. They were long but small areas so this was possible.
I do know that my uncle in an effort to save the business during the riots took in strays and homeless to watch over the bar at night when it was closed. Needless to say they drank for their pay. It became a go-go bar in the late 60's. lol. He was a good man and was respected by all. There was a gift/card store nearby and I think they were the only two structures left standing on the block in 1967. He past away in his 70's in 1978. My aunt past away in her 90's in 2005.
My Uncle Mike & Aunt Antoinette Spiduro bought the grill first in the 50's then added the bar in 1959ish. Mrs. Stackhouse was fully aware of the fact her name was still present on the paperwork. That's how things got done back in the day. Don't ask don't tell I guess? My uncle ran both businesses through the riot period into the early 70's when the bar became a Go-Go joint. He was a character. Peg leg pants, dress shirt and fedora with a pinky ring, always cigarette in hand. He had arcade games and jukeboxes that made the place lively. It was home to vagrants and such during those horrible times. He kept Dobermans dogs very vicious and vagrants to watch the place and anyone that needed a place to stay for the night as the top floor was an apartment. It along with the gift shop were the only two buildings standing on that block after the riots. Long after that period of time I believe there was some sort of fire that took out the two shelled buildings. I think those lots are still vacant today. He and Pat Giambrone were soul brothers. They loved playing cards and sending messages to each other with the booze and meat orders. Sad an era gone. I loved those times even though there was danger all around, there was also fun times.
Mary Lefer, June 2017
The Bars, Taverns, and Clubs of Camden
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