Monday, January 4, 2010

Jimmy Earp's Hideaway

Jimmy Earp's is located at 1507 S. Laramie St. in South Peoria. It sits just a few blocks south of the Iron Rooster and a few blocks east of Jan's Tap, a nice little trifecta of neighborhood taverns. I'm not sure if this neighborhood has a name but it is frequently referred to in the bar paper as Limestone Township. I guess this is for a reason because the neighborhood in which these bars are located is bordered by Bellevue and South Peoria. Either way, it's a pretty rough neighborhood but definitely not the worst.

Long ago, in a galaxy far away (or right here in Peoria), when I was an amateur in the highly skilled game of bar frequenting, the Hideaway probably wouldn't have been my first (or second) choice. But one day, I just so happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to stop in. After a few drinks, some friends showed up and the regulars started pouring in. A short while later the band started setting up. Now, usually you wouldn't expect a neighborhood tavern to have a house band but the Hideaway does and they are lead by the owner Jimmy. I know everyone out there may not be as big a Kiss fan as I am but I think most will admit that some of there music is very likeable. Not to mention the fact that most cover bands don't play Kiss songs and if they do, it is almost guaranteed to be a cut-rate version of "Rock and Roll All Nite". Anyways, the rag tag group of musicians at Jimmy's that night started out their first of two sets with the Kiss classic "Strutter". I immediately fell in love with Jimmy's and can count this moment as the genesis of my love for dive bars.

That night was a few years ago but after going there this past weekend I can tell you not much has changed. The pool table still has some of the best shooters in town (male and female) and the shuffleboard table still sees a lot of action. By 8:00 the 5 poker machines are spoken for and the jukebox is cranked up to 11. The beer is cheap, $2 a bottle and mixed drinks/shots are cheap too, probably because the bar isn't crowded with all those fancy "top shelf" vodkas, tequilas, and whiskys. If you want a shot, your choices in those three fields of study would be: Smirnoff, Jose, and Jack, not a problem for most.

If any of my readers (all three of you) are reading this post thinking, "what's so special about this place other than your nostalgia" I have something that might peak your interest in the Hideaway. Actually I have three things; the Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night cash drawings. To put it simply: Entry Fee-none, Top Prize-$1200. I'll let that sink in for a minute.


Done? Okay. Now, if you're thinking that this is just a ploy to fill the bar on a Saturday night I can tell you you are wrong. The girl who won two weeks ago was present Saturday night. Well, she didn't actually win, but her name was called for the top prize, unfortunately she was not there. So, when the time came (9:00) to draw a name the bartender gave her the honor. The person whose name was called wasn't there so every hour for the rest of the night a name is drawn for a $600 prize. I wasn't signed up but I gave the bartender my name and you can bet your freezing cold ass I'll be there as often as I can, barring extreme physical injury, jail, death, or the off chance I check in to rehab (not likely). I think what's most commendable about the weekly drawings, is the fact that Jimmy's has been robbed twice in the last month. The second robbery being the worst as the crooks got away with almost $1500. Any bar owner who takes a hit like that and still tries to give away large sums of money every week is my kind of guy and possibly a socialist.

Jimmy Earp's is great neighborhood bar and if you're not from the neighborhood, it can be a great place to hide away (god I'm fucking clever). So, sign up for the drawing and maybe you'll win some cash. If you do win however, I would advise you to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar, or else you might not make it out of there alive. Cheers to the Hideaway.


  1. Update your post dude. There's a lot of info you left out about this place. Like it's been a saloon on Laramie street since the mid 1880's. Was a watering hole during the prohibition years too. Out Of Order is outta commission. Jimmy Earp, Eric Tindall, Tony Suits, and Skooter Janosky play there every Friday night...called Coyote Cadillac. They are one of the most kick ass bands doing the circuit throughout central Illinois right now. Still doin the cash thing. And the neighborhood is only as bad as the dick heads who go down there with their chests stuck out. Coming down for a few beers and a great time, we welcome you. Might even buy you a shot and a beer. Come down to start shit...we'll send your ass home. Don't fuck with the's sacred ground for those of us who grew up there, and still live there.

  2. I went to Jimmie Earp's last night, and there was a good Pre-band, I'd like to know their had the name dog in Yes, the people there were pretty friendly and the main band was great too.

  3. Wow...when was the last time you were down there dude? Went in last night to hear Coyote Cadillac, and the owner is completely remodeling the place. He said his plans are to turn this back into a saloon like atmosphere just the way it was back in the 1880's when it opened. I don't go there much, but every time I do I have a great time. Coyote Cadillac is one of the best bands playing in central Illinois right now, and they happen to be the House band at the HideAway when they are in town. Never had a lick of trouble, and never felt threatened. This place is a step back in time, and well worth the trip! This is the only place in Peoria where you can go for live music every Tuesday and Friday nights...and it's all for free.

  4. If you read above the headline of this piece you'll see it was written two years ago. Also, you should know the RedBarn also has music Tuesday and Friday nights.