Airport Inn

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This article is about the "world famous" bar. For the motel see Airport Inn Motel.

The Airport Inn (abbreviated API) is a bar located at 7502 5th Avenue North near the Birmingham International Airport. It first opened in 1938 as The Baseball. It was renamed The Merry-Go-Round before becoming the Airport Inn. The business originally sold hamburgers as well as serving beer. Clarence Satterwhite bought the business during World War II and began featuring barbecue with his home-made sauce. He was also known for using a .32 pistol to bulls-eye any rats that came sniffing around.

During the 1960s, the Airport Inn was frequented by pilots from the 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Members of that outfit were recruited in 1961 to the Bay of Pigs operation against Cuba. A small shrine to Riley Shamburger, a pilot killed in the operation, was created behind the bar. Another pilot, Roy Wilson was a part-time bartender.

Later owners of the Airport Inn have included A. G. Lett, Ace Hines and Earlene Farmer. Former postal worker Ken Owens bought the business from her in 2003.

References

  • Trest, Warren and Don Dodd (April 2001) Wings of Denial Montgomery: NewSouth Books ISBN 1588380211
  • Chambers, Jesse (January 30, 2015) "Airport Inn in Birmingham is a 'family-type' bar with Air Guard pride and a link to the Bay of Pigs." The Birmingham News