I walked into The Station on a Saturday night. The room was well lit with soft lighting. About twenty people were gathered around the large, “U” shaped bar. The employees gracefully dodged each other while simultaneously taking orders and pouring drinks. Popular songs spanning multiple decades and genres filled the room. Country music easily transitioned into hip-hop, and people sang along to their favorite songs throughout the night.
I learned that Mike and Kim Britner were the new owners of The Station, and Mike was also the DJ. I sat down with them to talk about the reasons they decided to open a bar and their goals for the future.
Mike talked about what drew them to invest in a business in their community.
“What I wanted to do is have a bar downtown because I think it’s a great area. My wife and I were talking about this for at least the last 10 years, and then the opportunity came up. I love this building, and I love this bar. When you walk in the door, the bar just pops. I want to be that cornerstone of the community where you come in here for drinks on the weekends. And on Tuesday nights you can bring your kids in here to watch games.”
Both Mike and Kim discussed their fond memories of growing up in the area. Mike remembers living right down the street from where we were sitting.
“I’ve lived here my whole life for the most part. I grew up a few blocks from here on Liberty Street. So this is my old ‘stomping ground,’ this whole neighborhood. I used to skateboard right out here in this parking lot.”
Kim recalled her time in the area and in particular, the Station Grill
“I have lived here since I was ten, and it’s always been home. This particular bar is where I pretty much grew up. I celebrated my 21st birthday here. It was called Ronny’s at the time. Over the years it has changed hands. Once it became The Station, this is where all of our friends came during our college years.”
They both discussed the new changes to the Station.
“The back room is going to be turned into a game room with more pool tables and foosball. Maybe add some video games. In terms of food, we are always creating new things so we will have a lot of different specials. We are going to be changing the menu a little bit.”
There were a number of specials up on a chalkboard during my visit to The Station. Next to them was a great drawing of their logo as well as a listing of monthly events. I asked one of the bartenders for a menu and reviewed the many options. I opted for the patty melt special and was happy with my selection. The sandwich was larger than I expected, crisp, and it reminded me of a Reuben. Their use of Russian dressing complemented the sautéed onions, cheese and hamburger on rye bread. The fries were fresh, and the bartender noted that they were hand cut.
Mike emphasized the importance of The Stations’ history and family traditions:
“We are very family friendly here. When we took it over, we changed the name to The Station because if you have been here the last 10 years, you know it’s always been called The Station no matter who owned it. We have the Roundhouse and train station two blocks away. The railroad is a huge part of Martinsburg’s history. I wanted to pay homage to that. We are 100% community and involved with Main Street Martinsburg. We want to be that place where you have a son or daughter who is 21 and you bring them here for that first legal beer. And when that person grows up, they will bring their kids here as well. I don’t want to go anywhere.”
Kim was excited during the conversation when she talked about the community activities available at The Station.
“We want this to be a place where people can come to bring their kids, eat food, and have family friendly activities like trivia and open mike night. The open mike night we had last week had a lot of college students. We want people to come and have a good time. We are sports and community focused. We will have bands on Fridays and DJs on Saturdays. I don’t think that Martinsburg has enough of that – the focus on live music. We are going to do it every week. We are going to try a number of different things. We are going to try a comedy night next month. To see what fits and what doesn’t fit. [We are looking to do fundraisers and have proceeds go back to the organizations.]”
Both Kim and Mike have received a great deal of support with their new venture. Kim pointed out many people sitting at the bar during the interview.
“Almost everyone in this bar right now are all people we went to school with, and they have been really supportive. Last night was huge. We had a great crowd. We are trying to get the word out to get more people in here.” Come out, bring the kids. We have good food, a friendly environment and great prices. As long as we have the support, we will keep doing it.”
The Station is located on the corner of King and Spring Street. Parking is accessible from Burke Street through the HUB parking lot.