Blue is a new (ish) bar located at 619 W. Main St., just a few doors down from the Elbo Room. Blue has been open for (I think) about 6-8 months. The building at 619 Main has been a bar for a long time starting with the Gaslight, then the Gaslight II, and, for a short time Top of the Hill Bar and Grill. I never got the chance to go here when it was still the Gaslight but it was, apparently a much different place than it is now. The owners of Blue basically completely gutted, rearranged, and refurbished the entire bar, giving a much different atmosphere than the Gaslight had.
Unfortunately, the Journal Star's completely useless website turned up no hits when I searched it for the Gaslight. So, you're just going to have to take my word on the following story. The Gaslight was apparently run by a group of coke dealers/heads who were eventually brought down by the FBI and sentenced to a federal pound me in the ass prison. Whomever took over after that turned it into the Top of the Hill Bar and Grill for a short time before closing up shop. So, you can't get with the white lady at 619 W. Main anymore but you can get drinks, food and a good time.
Blue is the most unique bar in Peoria. It is definitely not your typical downtown dive. Blue caters to a more high class set than most (okay, all) of the bars in the area. The atmosphere is very artsy as is the clientele. The bar seats about twenty and is topped with an intricate mosaic of blue, white, and green tiles. One could easily spend an hour tracing the various loops and turns of the tiles. There are extremely comfortable high backed stools at the bar with their chair counterparts at the tables near the front (Main St.) entrance. In the middle of the bar is a nice new Valley pool table with new cues for your shooting pleasure. Just inside the back entrance is an old school, flip disc jukebox. The jukebox has a great selection of music ranging from indie to punk and most importantly LOCAL ARTISTS! There is even a disc in there that just has a question mark on it, in case you're in the mood for some mystery. Other unique aspects of Blue include and old school dart board, board games, retro glasses (I got Elmer Fudd) and on some nights, Nintendo on the flatscreen. Nothing beats getting drunk and playing Super Mario Bros. Blue is primarily a hipster bar, but (I think) the owner is a Cubs fan, so you don't have to worry about missing the game.
The prices at Blue are reasonable especially if you heed the nightly specials. You can check them out on Facebook, where they do a good job of letting everyone know what the specials are everyday. Blue also serves food, you can eat there or order take out. Their menu consists of mostly soups, salads, and sandwiches. They also have free wi-fi which makes it a great place for lunch if you work downtown. The menu has all kinds of fancy stuff on it that my girlfriend tried to explain to me but I still failed to understand. Despite the fanciness, the food is reasonably priced. Not sure what the kitchen hours are but they have menus available for you to add to your collection.
So, if your sick of the same old shot-and-a-beer bars here in town, head down to Blue and enjoy the unique atmosphere. I'm pretty sure they are the only bar in about ten square miles that serves wine. Blue is a great place to take your girlfriend to. She'll be happy about the wine and the atmosphere and you can still catch the game and play some pool. Blue has a little bit of everything.
A big cheers goes to Blue for providing downtown Peoria with a little class and another big cheers for supporting local artists!
Editor's Note: I stole the picture of the bar from Blue's Facebook page.
Update: Blue was recently approved for a 2 AM liquor license. According to their Facebook page, they will be open till 2 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.