Local bar marks victory with new plaque on ‘walk of champions’

Patty Vaughan

When The Gray Lady, a local bar, opened last June, the owners could never have imagined that they would be adding another national championship plaque to its “walk of champions.”

Owners Mike Musgrove and Dan Brislin opened the bar and added a plaque in the floor for each national championship that Alabama had won. Last Saturday, they unveiled the new 2009 plaque.

The idea came to Musgrove and Brislin to add the plaques after seeing what the old floors looked like beforehand.

“We rented out the building,” Musgrove said. “It was an older building before us, and the floors were just terrible. We had to redo the floors, but we actually just decided to lay floors over the really bad floors.”

The new floors that were laid in were cedar and maple, which created a unique pattern.

“We decided to put a new floor in that had a mixed pattern with the old wood of the floor of the cedar and maple that gave it a red and white pattern that symbolized Alabama,” Brislin said.

Each plaque that is laid into the floor has a uniform look, and the 2009 plaque is no different.

“They’re like brass numbers that you would find on the side of a house, and we actually rooted out the floors for those brass numbers so they will lay down flat onto the floor,” Musgrove said. “We put polyurethane over that, and the brass actually has a little bit of red tint to it, and it comes out a crimson color. It’s about 2-and-a-half feet wide by about 2 feet tall, and the championship years just go all the way down in a pattern.”

A question that is asked frequently of both owners is, “What happens if Alabama wins more championships?” By the time Alabama won in California, Musgrove and Brislin had already created a plan.

“We left three blank boxes after we put all the dates in,” Brislin said. “Not really realizing that we would be filling one this year. I hope we’re here long enough to fill them all in.”

Along with the three boxes on the main floor, they have even more spaces up on the second floor for more plaques.

“We can hold another 15 to 20 years up there,” Musgrove said. “Hopefully, we’ll have 2010 and 2011 in the years to come, and hopefully we’re open that long because we definitely have to have more than just those three.”

The Gray Lady was named for the nickname of Legion Field, the name of the old Alabama football field. The bar has memorabilia ranging from an etched glass and the original 50-yard line from the field.

“Our slogan is, ‘Lay it on the line,’” Musgrove said. “You’re laying your beer on the goal line where they had all the memorable games from where Legion Field was.”

The bar’s walk of champions is just a continuation of the tradition around Alabama football.

“That’s what we have done with the establishment,” Brislin said. “Bringing the old tradition to the new students.”