• a bar with counter and alcohol on shelf

      The Buccaneer lounge in Sierra Madre (Photo – Jean Sudbury)

      Sierra Madre’s 4th of July Parade began in 1965, and it will resume its usual route on Sierra Madre Blvd. on Monday, July 5, 2021.

      By Jean Sudbury

      The Grand Marshall of Sierra Madre’s 2021 Fourth of July parade will be The Buccaneer. The Fraser family has owned The Buccaneer for 30 years. Gerri Fraser and her daughters, Jennifer Higdon and Robyn Tapert, work together to maintain The Buccaneer’s standing as a vibrant community asset. Known as ‘’Sierra Madre’s Original Watering Hole,’’ The Buccaneer is one of the longest thriving businesses in Sierra Madre.

      The original business owner, Roger Miller, opened the bar in the 1940’s when he returned from WWII. He named it Club 60; 60 West Sierra Madre Blvd was the original address of the bar.  In exchange for free drinks, Frank Bowers (1905-1964), a professional artist, donated several of his works of pirate-themed art to decorate the walls. Mr. Bowers was a story board artist for several motion pictures in the 1940s, including ‘’Gone with the Wind.’’ In 1960, inspired by the artwork, Mr. Miller changed the name to The Buccaneer.

      In 1984, Mr. Miller moved the location of the bar two doors away to 70 West Sierra Madre Blvd. He took the paintings with him and rehung them to decorate the new place. The pirate themed art still adorns the walls, giving the bar a Tiki Torch ambience. Visitors who follow the Tiki Torch bar theme drop into The Buc to have pictures taken of themselves with the artwork behind them. The movie, Halloween 3, includes scenes filmed inside The Buccaneer. Sometimes, devotees of this movie drop into The Buccaneer for a drink or two.

      Brian and Gerri Fraser, who raised their children in the Sierra Madre Canyon, purchased the business from Miller in April 1990. The husband-and-wife business enterprise became successful, largely because of the work Gerri put into maintaining and running the business. When Brian Fraser passed in 1998, Gerri made it her mission to keep the enterprise strong for the family and for the neighborhood.  Her daughters, Jennifer Higdon and Robyn Tapert, have joined Gerri as business partners, and they work together as a strong team of women. The Buccaneer is a friendly gathering place for neighbors and community organizations, and it is a safe and comfortable place for women.

      inside a bar with people drinking and artwork on the wall

      Inside The Buccaneer lounge (Photo – Jean Sudbury)

      The trio remained strong and steadfast during the COVID lockdown and have managed to keep it all together. They applied for several grants to stay afloat during the crisis, but they did not receive any positive response from their countless applications. Then Jennifer was informed of the Barstool Sports Fund, run by a digital media investment company founded in 2003 by David Portnoy. They filled out the application and made the video required as part of the application. They sent it in. Two days later, Jennifer received a Facetime call from David Portnoy; he offered The Buccaneer a substantial grant to keep the small family-owned business alive and kicking through the hardest times.

      The Buccaneer is open to the public again. They plan to allow access to the pool tables and the new dart board on June 15, with live music on weekends and Wednesday Night Karaoke, if things go as anticipated by the powers that be. They will keep the patio open as well. Sports aficionados who frequent The Buc love the new wide screens where they can watch their favorite teams win (or lose).

      Gerri Fraser, Jennifer Higdon and Robyn Tapert of The Buccaneer are honored to be Grand Marshalls of the Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade 2021. They will be cruising, smiling and waving from a red 1970 Buick Electra convertible. They are grateful for the City of Sierra Madre, and they are appreciative of neighbors for support through this trying year. Their business model has always been to give back to the community. They have paid it forward in many ways and are extremely thankful for the generosity of friends and neighbors. The Buccaneer will continue to give back to the community.

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      1. This Article was mentioned on brid.gy

      2. Sierra Madre’s local 70+ year old pirate-themed dive bar (and occasional star of the Halloween movies) is in charge of the 4th of July parade. Nature is healing, etc.

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