Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Last Hurrah

The Last Hurrah is located in the Northpoint shopping center off N. Knoxville. It's a couple doors down from Firehouse Pizza. As far as I know this bar has been there for quite some time (at least 20 years). I've been told that during the 80's and 90's the Last Hurrah was "the place to be". Since then I think they've seen a drop-off in attendance which (I think) makes it an even better place to go.

The bartender who works there the most is known as Tex (I think it has something to do with his last name). He's a big dude who looks like he might have spent some time in a boxing ring. The guy is an absolute pro. Tex has been tending bar at the Last Hurrah for 15 years or so. He's a laid back guy with a good sense of humor. I say he has a good sense of humor because he usually wears a Cubs shirt which means he has to laugh off many a (usually bad) Cubs joke, coming from some Cardinals fan. If you patron the Last Hurrah 3 times in a two week period, Tex will most likely remember your name, or at least, your drink.

Beyond Tex there are plenty of other reasons to make the Last Hurrah one of your regular stops. First they have dollar drafts EVERY DAY. Obviously they are served in the smaller 8 oz. glasses but this is still a good deal. They also have cheap shots and good mixed drinks, you know, the ones where you can actually taste the booze!

Second, they have a nice new crackbox with tons of trivia and other games (not quite sure what is all on there, my girlfriend usually plays the machine while I watch baseball) as well as Silver Strike, Golden Tee and darts. There is only one pool table but it's really not that hard to get a game in, except for Thursday nights when the Pool League holds the table from 8ish to 10ish. There's usually this middle aged guy in there who is an amazing pool player and tries to shark people. He's cool but can be annoying, he's got a calling card though so you'll know who he is. So, if you are at the Last Hurrah and a 40 something guy wearing glasses says "I'll buy you a beer if you play me", what he means is "I'll buy you a beer if you play me, then you'll win because I'll let you, then I'll try to get you to play me for another beer, if you do I'll let you win again then I'll start trying to play for money". In other words, if you wanna play a couple games and get some beers cool, but once he starts saying "Awwww c'mon lets play for a buck" prepare to lose some cash.

Beyond the entertainment and cheap drinks, the Last Hurrah has another thing going for it; the TV's! They've got two 40 inch LCD's two slightly smaller ones, and an old rear projection in the corner near the pool table. Now, this might not seem like alot but when you take into account that the bar is only twenty feet long, it is. Not only do they have a good amount of TV's for the size of the bar but the bartender will actually ask you want you want to watch! I've been in there before when the place was almost empty and Tex went ahead and turned every TV on the Cubs game, he even put the sound on, awesome.

So, if you've never been to the Last Hurrah before I'd advise you to check it out. That is, if you like laid back, neighborhood taverns where you can get your drinks quickly and cheaply and watch the game. Obviously, the place must be doing something right, it's been there for a long time, even when the Northpoint shopping center did not have much, there was always the Last Hurrah.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Bananas Alehouse and Eatery

First of all let me just say that when this bar opened my friends and I went there all the time. It is located on Willow Knolls Rd. between Allen and Radnor which is very close to where most of my friends (boozehounds) live. We used to go up there every Thursday because they have $2 U Call - Its. We were the regulars and could pretty much do whatever we want. Some examples would be: smoking pot/cigarettes in the bathroom (post smoking ban) being loud and unruly, and generally obstructing normal people (non boozehounds) who were trying to enjoy their pinot noir or whatever stupid fucking drink they were drinking that costed more than 2 bucks. It was fun and sadly now it is just lame.

Beyond Thursdays the only good night to go there is Saturday when they have one dollar wells. By the way, I still feel like I'm getting ripped off by paying one dollar for a shot of Ten High. What, was Big Lots out of fucking Kessler? One good thing about Bananas is that they probably have the highest ratio of hot chicks to not hot chicks on Peoria's Northside. However, as many an experienced drinker will tell you wherever there are hot chicks getting plastered on dollar vodka tonics, there will inevetably be an inordinate number of sleazy douchebags in Affliction t-shirts. Six months ago you couldn't throw a rock in LA, NY, or Chicago without hitting some wanna-be trendsetter with one these shirts and fucking scarf (so your neck is cold but your arms aren't?) and now these hideous clothes have finally made their way to Peoria. The Affliction t-shirt fan club apparently meets every Saturday night at Bananas to discuss how awesome Seether is and drop crappy pickup lines on hot milfs and young up and comers in whore heels. Awesome.

Now, I will provide all you guys and girls out there with the real problem afflicting (see what I did there) this poor excuse for a bar. If your only goal for going out on a particular night is to pick up a piece of strange, or you wish you could afford more Ed Hardy shirts this place might be right for you. However if you have any intention of tracking more than one sporting event, you, my poor uninformed friend are shit out of luck. That is because Bananas has only one TV. That's right One. Fucking. Television.

On a recent Saturday, the majority of my friends (wastoids) were at Bananas and I was the Last Hurrah (a REAL bar) watching the ND Purdue game. I wanted to go there (you know 1TVBar) and join them but not until I was assured by one of my less drunk friends that he would make sure that Notre Dame football would be on. When I arrived, the 1TVBar was showing Texas Tech vs. Who Cares! It Texas Tech for fucks sake! Immediately I wanted to lace into this idiot, because on a Saturday night it takes approximately 1 hour to change the channel. He then informed me that someone had actually requested that the channel be changed to the Tech game. So I asked the bartender to change it back, which he did. In between the 3rd and 4th quarters I went outside to smoke and when I came back in I found myself watching Penn State vs. Iowa. Sigh. The two guys sitting next to me were the perpetrators of this act so I could not vent my frustration freely (was still too sober to start shit). So I did what any responsible fan would do and asked for the remote. So, for the next 30 minutes I dutifully switched back and forth between the two games, a task which I performed admirably due to years of armchair quarterbacking. Actually, I did it so well that a complete fucking stranger came up and congratulated me on my remote control prowess. So, ND won, Penn State lost and 1TVBar is officially on the shit list.

When this place first opened I understood that maybe it would take them a while to get a couple more LCD's but almost 3 years later it has not happened! This is an indefensible act.

Other notes on 1TVBar. The food sucks (except for Butch's pizza, which is always good) and you can only get it during the day. All they make is crappy sandwiches, chips and salsa and a buffet that has chili and some form of chicken tortilla soup that isn't as good as the retarded shit I put together after a night of hard drinking and usually involves noodles and leftover chicken wings. Another thing that drives me nuts about this shithole is the bathroom. There's a toilet and a urinal but for some reason whenever some D-Bag goes in there he locks the door like he has some embarassing medical condition that requires him to sit down when he pees. Whenever this would happen before I would just jiggle the handle until it unlocked itself (much to the dismay of Mr. Stage Fright) and went in there and pissed but now they have replaced that lock and it is no longer possible (trust me I've tried).

To sum up, if you just wanna go out, catch the game and get your drinks in a reasonable amount of time, don't go here on any Saturday or Thursday. The rest of the week is OK, except for the fact that the jukebox must be kept at the lowest level possible until 8:00 because of the fucking nail salon next door. Also Crazy Lady is there alot, I'll explain her later.

Update I: Monday nights are free pool and $4 domestic pitchers, Tuesdays are $2 Heineken and Shocktop and $3 Monster bombs

Update II: Banana's is under fire from the city liquor commision. Apparently they have a class 2 (I think) liquor license that requires them to have 25 or 30% of their profits be from food sales. Apparently, their lackluster menu wasn't quite cutting it because they've been using sales of things like orange juice and counting it as food. They'll probably get fined. Honestly I don't understand why they don't just pop for the class 1 liquor license. If they hadn't spent a bunch of money by having lawyers fight this thing, they might have had enough cash get the class 1 LL.

First Post

Hello there internet! Welcome to the Peoria Bar Review. The purpose of this blog will be to give visitors to and natives of Peoria insights into the goings on of many of our fine drinking establishments and offer tips to avoid the following: knife fights, getting mugged, being arrested, hanging out with douchbags, and many of the other dangers involved with participating in Peoria's lively Saloon Society.

I will offer unbiased reviews of bars and sometimes restaurants in the Peoria area so you can find the spot that is right for your nights out on the town. This blog will cover every bar from the friendly neighborhood tavern to the hole in the wall on the South End to the most obscenely douchebag filled, overpriced and overrated bars on the Northside. Sometimes this blog will be unkind and offensive. So if you don't like harsh language go to some bar/restaurant review website where you can find a small number of reviews (Peorians generally give/get their opinions by word of mouth) that aren't very helpful at all.

Outside of my reviews I will occasionally comment on goings on in and around Peoria. If you have a bar or restaurant that you have always wondered about feel free to contact to me and I will get to it as soon as I can. I will do my best to update this blog as often as possible.