Have you visited the American Legion Post #86 in Pratt lately?
Pratt American Legion Post 86 has now opened its doors to the public with COVID-19 social distancing protocols in place, a ramp to the front door and updates inside and out.
Located at 601 East Third Street, the Legion has long been a home-away-from home for local veterans of military service and their families. It now has a ramp for handicap accessibility and even smells good.
“We’re the fifth Legion Post in Kansas to go public,” said Vice Commander Rick Wittig, who serves under Commander Mark Richards.
Wittig said the downstairs club area has been remodeled with new flooring and lights and features two large-screen wall-mounted televisions, plus two pool tables.
“The downstairs club area is also accessible from the ground-level back door,” Wittig said.
In addition, Post 86 headquarters, which was relocated to Pratt in 1939 after serving as the Coats schoolhouse, has been updated with a fresh coat of paint.
Opening to the public required getting a new liquor license, according to Wittig.
A full bar is offered and Bud Light and Miller Light are both on tap.
“We might be the only local establishment that serves alcohol on Sundays,” Wittig said.
Dwindling membership numbers spurred the decision to offer more choices, Wittig said.
“Five years ago we had 120 members,” Wittig said. “Our membership now stands at 42.”
Wittig said Pratt Legionnaires feel the decision to open to the public was a good one.
“We’ve had good response,” Wittig said. “Friday night karaoke events are especially popular.”
Featured are Cameo Entertainment and KaRoke Therapy.
There’s no cover charge for Friday Night Karaoke, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Wittig said.
There’s also no charge for playing pool on Saturdays, when open hours are 7 p.m. to midnight.
“We’re a non-smoking facility, but there is a covered outside area for smokers and they can take their drinks out, too,” Wittig said. “It’s been well received.”
The American Legion Post bar is open Tuesday, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., Friday 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Profits from the bar help support the Post’s community activities which include an annual Fourth of July fireworks display at Pratt County Lake.
American Legion Post 86 also started the Toys for Tots area campaign about a decade ago and continues its sponsorship jointly with other local groups.
An annual Easter Egg Hunt is another popular activity of Pratt American Legion Post 86.
Special to the hearts of Pratt American Legion members are memorial services for past veterans.
American Legion members are supported in their community activities by the Women’s Auxiliary with Barb Blankenship as president and Barb Schmidt as vice president.