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Belly Up to the Bar--Phrase Origin

Posted by Paula Davis on March 16, 2001

I'm a reference librarian with a patron who wants to know the origin of the phrase "belly up to the bar." My colleagues and I have searched numerous word and phrase origin dictionaries and various word/phrase origin sites on the Internet. Does anyone perchance know the origin of this phrase. I know there's a song from "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" with this title, but I believe its usage has to be very old. Thanks for any and all assistance.

Paula Davis
Reference Librarian
San Antonio Public Library
600 Soledad
San Antonio TX 78205