The Corner Club has been a Moscow, Idaho, institution since 1948.
A man and his horse walk into a bar. The man orders two beers: one for him, one for his horse.
If you think I’m setting up a joke, you can stop waiting for the punch line. This is a true story from one day in the history of the Corner Club, a beloved 66-year-old sports bar in Moscow, Idaho.
“Since 1948, it’s just been crazy stories like that,” says the Corner Club’s co-owner Marc Trivelpiece.
Trivelpiece laughs as he recounts another tale from the Corner Club’s history, of a man who would challenge his fellow bar patrons to a beer chugging contest. Their opponent? His sheep.
The sheep won every time.
The original Corner Club building held several functions: a brewery, a bakery, a restaurant, and a chapel, until finally, in 1948, Gene “Hermie” Goetz and Neal Lynd turned the space into a bar.
“It started as a neighborhood bar for guys to get away from their wives,” Trivelpiece says.
Over time, though, the old locals-only ethos of the bar faded, and it became a bona fide college sports bar. It’s decked out top to bottom in the University of Idaho Vandals gear and memorabilia. On game day, fans stand elbow to elbow to cheer for their team.
And there’s another, a perhaps more famous, story in the Corner Club’s history books: the story of The Nail.
It began one night in 1963, when Goetz challenged the Vandal’s star basketball player, Gus Johnson, to show off his legendary jumping abilities. Johnson leaped 11 feet, 6 inches in the air, touching one of the ceiling beams. Goetz marked the spot with a nail and announced that anyone who could leap that high would drink for free.
It didn’t happen again until 1986 when a member of the College of Southern Idaho’s basketball team touched — and bent — the nail after three tries.
Unfortunately, the nail no longer hangs above the Corner Club’s patrons. Part of the building was razed in the early ‘90s, leaving only the cinderblock addition (which was added to the original building decades after it was first built). But today, there’s a brick marked symbolically over the entrance of the bar, at the same height as the original nail.
“If someone wanted to try it, and if they could touch it, sure, I’d buy them a couple of drinks,” Trivelpiece says.
National Trust for Historic Preservation. All Rights Reserved. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The National Trust’s federal tax identification number is 53-0210807.