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Admittedly, Four Quarter Bar on Main Street in North Little Rock does not exactly scream, “culinary haven.” It is a dimly-lit dive bar first and music venue second. But make no mistake, you’d be absolutely crazy to rest on the food coming out of the tiny kitchen at this neighborhood hangout owned by Conan Robinson.
“I opened Four Quarter in the spring of 2016 with the help of Margaret Hinson who owned Midtown Billiards. I had been working for her, bartending and booking bands along with a good friend, Thomas Colclasure. We all became close family over the 15 years I was there, and Maggie promised she would help mentor us at some point to open our own bars. Thomas got his shot first and opened TC’s Midtown Bar and Grill in Conway, and I followed shortly after with Four Quarter Bar,” says Robinson.
Six years in, Robinson has made his fair of changes to the business. Some big. Some small.
“We have tweaked the menu a little over the years, added some extra equipment to accommodate for growth, and have recently renovated the patio space. I guess one of the biggest changes we made occurred during Covid when the city allowed the outdoor entertainment district to unfold. Due to the restrictions placed on all the restaurants/bars in Argenta, we basically all moved our dining areas outdoors to help bolster business. It was a huge success and luckily has turned into one of our busiest weekends each month when we host the Argenta Dogtown Throwdown outside.”
It was on one of those weekends a few years back when I discovered the food at Four Quarter Bar. The bowl of ramen I consumed while standing outside on Main Street is what hooked me. Future visits trying out the pulled pork nachos, pork chimichanga, and pork hash sealed the deal. Do you happen to see a theme here? Pork.
“The concept I had for the menu when first opening revolved around smoked pork. I love to cook, and especially love to grill/smoke pork, brisket and ribs. I learned that when it came to your menu, especially in a bar atmosphere, you are better off with a handful of options that you execute very well instead of a ton of choices that can clutter service for a small kitchen like ours,” says Robinson. He continues, “We ended up sticking with around 12 items or so that we thought were all equally delicious and then worked at perfecting those items. We smoke all of our pork in-house, as well as make all of our own sauces, stock, and ingredients weekly to use for our menu items. I didn’t want to be a bar that just had a list of pre-frozen fried food and slapped together sandwich options. I always thought if we worked hard enough, we could have the best of all the worlds with the right ‘dive bar’ atmosphere. That includes live music, late-night drinks and really good food. We keep the kitchen open until 1:30 a.m. every night to pull in those night owls who might just be hungry.”
In addition to menu staples like the Four Quarter Burger, smoked wings, tacos and a Southwestern veggie burger, the dive bar offers up one weekly special, born and executed by the talented Chef Sammy Rudd. Her deep-fried pork chop with Ritz Crackers panko, spaghetti, and stir-fry blew me away, both with taste and creativity. Quite frankly, it was that dish that proved to be the catalyst for me to write this article. How could something that good come out of a dive bar?
That’s the magic of Four Quarter Bar.
And as for Robinson, he’s right where he wants to be.
“I absolutely love being a part of the Argenta community. Not only do we have great support from the city, Argenta Downtown Council and North Little Rock CVB, but all of the business owners in Argenta work as a team to help create one of the best, most diverse and most laid-back entertainment districts in the state. I couldn’t imagine Four Quarter anywhere else.”
Neither could we.
Did You Know?
Four Quarter Bar is smoking inside, but only in the upstairs portion of the establishment.
Four Quarter Bar
415 Main St (North Little Rock)
Hours: Monday-Saturday noon-3 a.m.; Sunday noon-2 a.m.
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