That's Settled, It's Called Pop
700 bottles of pop on the wall,
700 bottles of pop.
Take one down,
Pass it around,
699 bottles of pop on the wall.
Ok, so sue me. Those might not be the exact words you sang on those grade school bus trips.
But, those are words you can sing at Pops 66 in Oklahoma where there really are 700 bottles of pop on the wall. In fact, that’s 700 different kinds of pop.
Who in blue blazes even knew there were that many different kinds???
Pops isn’t really in the middle of nowhere, it just feels like it. It’s on old Route 66, just north of Oklahoma City. To get to it I ventured off I-44 up Triple X Road. Really, I don’t make this stuff up.
At it’s heart Pops is a gas station/convenience store/diner/tourist attraction.
Opened in 2007, Pops is a very new addition to the iconic highway. With its massive cantilevered roof, the building was intentionally designed to mimic some of the gas stations you might have seen back in the day. Its even won several architectural awards.
I can see it. The place is so modern looking you kind of have to use your imagination a bit but, remembering those old A&W drive-in restaurants with their big roofs you parked under, I can see where the designer got their inspiration.
It’s inside where the real fun is. The building’s front and back walls are made of glass and lined with shelves filled with pop bottles.
Hundreds of them.
Nearly every kind of flavor you can imagine. You name it, they have it:
Jingle Juice – Santa’s favorite fruit punch variety
Cucumber – I’m turning green just thinking about that one
Coconut Cream Lime
Horchata – I don’t even know what that is
and many of the throwbacks like Nehi and Bubble Up. I still remember my mother giving me Bubble Up when I had an upset stomach as a kid.
and on, and on, and on, and…
The bottles on the front and back window walls are not for sale. Many of those are collector items no longer in production. But there’s more choices than you would ever want that you can buy along the aisle shelving and in the coolers.
Cardboard carriers are stacked around the store you quickly grab and fill with your own variety six-pack. I couldn’t resist the temptation.
I picked very randomly with little thought to it. I know, you’re surprised. A bottle of Bubble Up of course, to remember my childhood, another with the Route 66 highway sign imprinted on the front, a pina colada flavor because I love my pina coladas, a good ol’ cola, a caramel apple flavor because, why not, and a bottle of Leninade that, upon further inspection, is my favorite pop bottle ever.
I haven’t even opened it yet to taste and don’t care. The messaging on this bottle is an absolute hoot:
Leninade – Get Hammered and Sickled! (Rumor has it, it goes great with vodka.)
Misha, chill down this bottle & chill out! Drink Comrade! Drink! It’s this or the gulag!
Beware the repressed Communist Party animal who is really a proletarian in denial masquerading as a bourgeois Cold War monger.
Even the additional stamped-on message, the kind you see added onto bottles after they’ve been printed that usually says something about the deposit refund, instead reads: More than a million times better than the best alternative.
Come to find out, Leninade has become kind of a thing. More than 10,000 people follow it on Facebook.* I’m not surprised.
Boy, did I digress here. Back to our main story.
Pops 66 Diner & Worlds Tallest Pop Bottle
The diner inside Pops has a big menu. I was there a little too early for lunch and am still kicking myself I didn’t take a closer look at the menu and see they have a root beer bread pudding! When I’m back that way again you can be sure I’ll be stopping by.
There’s a fairly large seating area but I’m guessing around the mealtimes it gets pretty crowded. I noticed they have a hostess station set up at the door for the busy times.
By the way, there’s no way you’ll accidentally drive by Pops without seeing it. There’s a 66-foot-tall pop bottle sculpture out in front of the place. (Get it? 66-foot-tall. It’s on Route 66.) It’s reported to be the world’s tallest pop bottle.
The sculpture weighs more than four tons, was trucked to the site in one piece, and lights up in neon colors at night.
It’s Called Pop
And now for that age old debate, is it pop or is it soda? I’m from the Midwest, it’s pop. Of course it’s pop.
They didn’t call it Soda 66 after all, did they? It’s Pops 66.
There, that settles it.
You know how they say no one reads the fine print? I’m really hoping that’s the case here. In full disclosure, Pops 66 isn’t named after the product it sells.
Pops was established by Aubrey McClendon, a former CEO of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation. He named it for his father who he always referred to as Pops.
Dag nab it. The pop vs. soda debate rages on.
*No, I’m not a Communist and neither is Real Soda, the company making Leninade. At least I don’t think it is. I can’t believe we’ve reached a point where we are so polarized as a country I even have to say this.
Anyway, Real Soda is a company in California that makes all kinds of wacky flavored pops. Many of those wacky flavors you see at Pops 66 come from Real Soda. Leninade is just a humorous way to make a buck.
You can’t get much more capitalistic than that.
**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address, alansheaven.com, or a link back to this page.