In 2008, Anthony “Tony” Verhey sold two old VW bugs and a motorcycle and used every dime he had to open Tony V’s Garage, a beer-booze-bands-broads-&-burgers bar with the mission statement “Good Friends, Good Fun, and Good Music.”
Earlier this year, he moved into a bigger space next door at 1716 Hewitt Ave. in downtown Everett. It’s a happening place, with live music, comedy, karaoke and, yes, even midget wrestling. He also hosts shows for Everett Music Initiative.
SLAM, short for Support Local Art and Music, a special event where numerous musicians will perform and local artists will showcase their work, is slated to start at 2 p.m. April 16. All ages are welcome until 11 p.m. Cost is $10, with 50 percent donated to Strong Against Cancer.
The venue will turn into a wrestling ring on May 18 for Extreme Midget Wrestling.
Verhey does a year-round $1 bill charity drive. He supplies patrons with Sharpies to draw on dollar bills, which they provide, to decorate the bar. People draw cartoons, icons, sayings and words that you’d expect to see at bars. In December, he cashes in the loot at the bank, which accepts the defaced currency, and writes a big check to Boys &Girls Club.
Tony V’s is open seven days a week, beginning with breakfasts that start at $4.
Verhey, 52, lives in Everett with his wife, Robin, and a dog named Oliver.
What are you wearing?
It’s 8:30 a.m. A pair of sweats and my glasses.
Talk about your new place:
It’s a revitalized music venue from Everett’s past. It’s a place I hope young and old will be able to enjoy. It’s a place for artists to express themselves and audiences to have an opinion. We also make a great burger and serve a cold beer.
If you could serve a beer to anyone alive or in history who would it be?
I had to whittle it down. Howard Hughes is the answer. He was open-minded and eccentric, a true visionary in his time. I have a lot of questions I could ask that guy why he did the things he did. The females he was friends with in Hollywood and the biggest plane that never really flew to a motion picture that flopped completely. He had lots going on. I felt that way a few times.
What are three things in your fridge at home?
Black cherry Kool-Aid, Totino’s frozen pizza, milk.
People would be shocked to know:
I am afraid of heights.
What’s the best thing that ever happened in your bar?
My wife said yes to marrying me.
What’s your most proud moment?
My business actually being open over seven years, and the expansion and move. This has been a dream come true.
What is your biggest worry as a bar owner?
The economy. They say the bar business is economy-proof but I run an entertainment venue. People may always find money for a beer but not always for a concert.
What is your dream band to book?
So many to list. The Dead Kennedys with Jello Biafra is on the top of the list. A Roger Daltrey solo show would be fantastic.
What did you do before opening a bar?
I’ve had over 20 jobs — plumber, mechanic, HVAC. I tried to retire at 27 (that didn’t work). Mostly I’ve worked in the service industry.
How did you get started collecting $1 bills for charities?
I put the first dollar bill spent in the bar on the wall. It had the initials of the gentleman who spent it written on it. Other people didn’t think it was fair for him to have the only dollar on the wall so they added to it. I didn’t want the whole bar to fill with bills so I decided to donate them. The Boys &Girls Club got the call.
What’s the weirdest thing drawn on a $1 bill?
Someone beheaded George Washington.
What do you want people to know about bars?
Bars are great gathering places. There is always some form of entertainment (people watching is one of my favorite things), conversations are always informative in a bar. Respect these places. You can learn a lot.
How has legal recreational pot affected your business?
It really hasn’t affected it, other than listening to people think they know what is legal or not.
What is your pet peeve?
People who leave the house in their pajamas. If they don’t have pockets they’re not pants.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Singing talent shows on TV.