CORNELIUS – Jay Mozeley has owned Jay’s at the Lake for a quarter-century, and even in the age of craft beer and specialty cocktails, keeping his menu simple has stood the test of time.
The membership-based bar on Statesville road has skee ball, a pinball machine and two pool tables. And Mozeley, whose family has been in the bar business for more than 70 years, relishes having a friendly, local bar – “It’s kinda like Cheers,” he said.
Herald Citizen: How do you become a member here?
Jay Mozeley: We’re a private club, and there’s a three-day waiting period for memberships. You can come in and have a member to sign you in and be a guest, too.
HC: What attracts people to come here?
JM: We’re just a local bar. Have some of the best people over here. We’re just a drinking establishment. We’ve got ‘tater chips, crackers and peanuts. It’s just a place to come hang out a while, watch the ball games, watch a race. You don’t know who you’re going to be sitting beside one minute to the next. Been here 25 years and been having a ball.
HC: What are some of the popular drinks you serve?
JM: We don’t do a lot of fancy drinks, just mostly straight vodka, Jack and Coke, Beam and Coke, Tito’s and Fireball. Have some domestics and imports. Have some ales now. Just a friendly, local bar that everybody has a ball at.
HC: Tell me about your other bars.
JM: There’s Jay’s at Little River in South Carolina. My grandfather opened J&J Tavern on the Mecklenburg-Cabarrus county line. That started in 1948 – just celebrated its 70th anniversary last September. I’ve been in the bar business all my life.
HC: You’ve been in this community a long time. What are some of the things you do to support it?
JM: We’re very strong supporting veterans, firefighters and police. We had a fire three years ago and had a support party for firemen who helped put the fire out and save the building. We collect toys for Toys for Tots at Christmas to contribute to the Marine Corps League. We’re planning benefits in the spring for CAMP KEMO, a cancer camp in South Carolina. Provides one week of camp for kids.
HC: When are the busiest times?
JM: Usually Saturday afternoon for NCAA ball games, those are the most popular times. We have big rivalries with all the ACC teams. We have people from all walks of life. Might be sitting beside a NASCAR team, or a guy who takes out the trash for the team.
HC: Since you have two pool tables, are there tournaments?
JM: No. It’s nothing fancy, just friendly!