A Look Back at New Bedford’s Underrated Mechanical Bull
The former Libads Seaside is most certainly one of those "IYKYK" New Bedford staples that only the regulars will understand.
Unfortunately, the South End Bar was put up for sale back in February this year, even after Bar Rescue attempted to save the popular dive bar. Jon Taffer did all he could for Libads in Season 3, Episode 17: "A Bar Full of Bull."
I wasn't exactly a regular at Libads and never got a chance to visit it after it was "rescued," but I had a few wild nights back when it was still Libads Bar & Grill. The ripped and worn-out pool tables set the scene for sure and out of every available pool stick, you'd be lucky if one of them was functional enough to shoot a game.
The scallop pizza was my go-to with a pitcher of Coors Light to wash it down. The counter was almost always sticky, but that set the vibe.
Towards the back was the infamous mechanical bull that was nothing but pure entertainment the later the night got. Its withered and aged coat gave off a musty smell whenever I attempted to ride it, giving the ol' bull some character. One after another, men and women would test their strength and balance. However, it was always a struggle to mount, never mind stay on it.
My legs and thighs would scream in pain for the next few days after a night at Libads riding the mechanical bull, but I knew what I was signing up for.
Before it was transformed into a whale (how appropriate for the Whaling City) thanks to Bar Rescue, one of the bull's last and final rides was with New Bedford native Nathan Wrigley and his buddies.
"It was pretty much a ritual every Friday: get out of work at 9 p.m. and meet up with friends there," Wrigley said. "We'd have some drinks and was tempted to go on it, so then we had some shots to get that liquid courage. The first time was tough, because you had no idea what you were doing, but after getting bucked off like three or four times, you start to understand the science of how to move your body in order to stay on longer."
Depending on the operator, Wrigley and his buddies would only last about 10 or 20 seconds before they were thrown off.
"It was a lot of fun, even though I would be sore as hell the next day, but I would be back there the next week to do it again," he said.
It was always the same place, same time sort of bar and although it's no longer in business, between the crowd of locals, the delicious oven pizza, and the mechanical bull (or whale), it was as unique as a dive bar gets. Here's to hoping the bull (or whale) returns to another bar here on the SouthCoast – but this time, I will prepare a deep stretch beforehand.