Originally Published: December 23, 2010 2:41 a.m.
While DJ Brian Walker blasted the B52s' song "Love Shack" Saturday night at the Windsock Lounge in Prescott, customers seemed to be in a love-fest mood.
"I like to have a good time, have lots of fun, and do things for other people," said Jen Nobles. This time, Nobles, whose friends call her "the Jenerator" for her non-stop energy, was the subject of the love-fest. Friends arrived from near and far to celebrate her 30th birthday with a 1980s-theme party.
"I love the '80s; I want to relive the '80s because I was born in 1980," said Nobles, who dressed the part, complete with a wildly colorful bandana wrapped around her head and cut-off sweatshirt falling off her shoulders.
"She's the toughest chick in town, but she'll give you the shirt off her back," said her friend Anngela Wheeler, 30.
While the bar's airplane motif and artifacts may seem at odds with Madonna singing "Like A Virgin" and smoke flowing over the packed dance floor, owner Connie Kendall - who says "the 'Jenerator's' just the best person in the entire world" - wouldn't have it any other way.
"I've always loved aviation, and I started collecting aviation stuff years before I bought the bar," said Kendall, who was also celebrating her 18 years of successful ownership.
The Windsock is not Kendall's first experience in the bar business. Her parents owned The Inn in Ponderosa Plaza, which is now The Boulders shopping center, and Kendall started working for them before she graduated from high school.
Although the Windsock is not the most well-known bar in town, Kendall's customers are devoutly loyal to her. Patrons say the Windsock is like the "Cheers" bar depicted in the popular 1980s television show.
Most customers greet Kendall by name along with a hug and kiss.
"We've got everyone from architects to regular working men," she said nodding to a group of cowboys. "Those guys work on a ranch in Williamson Valley and come in every time they get their paychecks."
Cowboys seem to favor the Windsock.
"In the early years of business, one of our local cowboys, Buster Hynes, was dared to ride his horse in the bar. Well, you guessed it - he did it," Kendall recalls.
"It is like a 'Cheers' kind of place," said George Stailey, who moved to Prescott in 2009 and discovered the bar from his father, who adopted the lounge as his home-away-from-home for 17 years. "The people are really friendly, the drinks are great, and the TVs are fabulous. They're everywhere."
Kendall invested in numerous large-screen plasma televisions and placed them strategically throughout the barroom.
"During football season, every screen has a different game on so everyone gets to watch what they want," said Kendall, who is a 1979 Prescott High School graduate.
And in what could perhaps be one of the highest compliments a bar owner could receive, other bar owners, such as Bob Soto of Bob's Barefoot Billiards in Prescott Valley, are some of her regular customers.
But on this particular night, it wasn't about the airplane memorabilia that dates to World War I, including a bomb, or televised sports - it was about friends, dancing, birthdays and goofy clothes.
"Jen always makes me laugh and smile," said Kayla Stazenski, who traveled from San Francisco to celebrate Nobles' birthday. "You just can't be in a bad mood when she's around."
"It's great to be out of my 20s - now people will take me more seriously," Nobles said. "For the next 30 years, by the time I'm 60, I'm conquering the world."
The Windsock Lounge is located at 1385 Iron Springs Road. Just look for the orange airport windsock flapping on its roof.