Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Burger Barge

The Burger Barge is located at 1401 N. Main in East Peoria. If you go to Jonah's/Par-a-Dice casino, take the access road north. If you see a dilapidated boat on your left hand side you are on the right track. Marty Wombacher from 365 Beers stopped here a while back and you can find his review here.

Unfortunately, my camera died just as I was about to walk into the Barge so I was only able to get a couple of pictures of the outside. This is a damn shame because there are so many cool things to take pictures of inside the bar. There are napkins pinned to every wall that have patrons' depictions of the Burger Barge. The ceiling tiles are adorned with graffiti and jokes from hundreds of customers, not to mention all the boating and drinking paraphernalia that fights for space on every wall.

I love bars like this that are cluttered with stuff, it gives the place a unique atmosphere that is unlike any other. Before you even walk into the Barge you feel like you are on vacation. That is, unless you go there in the winter. Even then, the Barge is a tropical oasis in the wintery desolation that is our Illinois winter. The Burger Barge reminded me immediately of Key West. If Jimmy Buffett lived in Peoria, you would probably find him here every day of the week. Speaking of Jimmy, the old school jukebox is loaded with Buffet albums as well as other summer-ish music like the Beach Boys and Bob Marley. There is also a decent amount of country music on there to give it a midwest feel.

In case you haven't already heard, the Burger Barge has some of the best burgers around. I'm going to go ahead and say that I don't think there is another place in the Peoria are that has better burgers than the ones available at the Barge. These aren't just your typical hamburgers either. There are over a dozen different selections including the Tavern Burger which is topped with barbecue sauce and cole slaw!

There is even a burger that has the famed Luciano Cheese Blobs on it. There's a lot more than just burgers though. The Barge has pork and chicken sandwiches, plenty of appetizers, and an extensive cocktail list. There is also a burger buffet where you can build your own, I would just assume to leave it to the professionals and the staff at the Barge are definitely that. You can check out the full menu here.

Drinks are cheap at the Barge, unlike the tourist trap Key West bars that the place resembles. With the exception of the fancy cocktails (I had the Blue Curacao) you can get pretty well drunk at the Barge for about twenty bucks. Sundays are build your own Bloody Mary bar ($2), which seems to have become a popular thing the last couple of years. The Barge has great daily specials (except for Fridays) that I have listed below.

The bar is small but comfortable with a few TV's to watch the game. The indoor seating area seats about 50 and there are a couple nice new flatscreens to watch the World Cup. You are watching the World Cup AREN'T YOU?

Outside you can sit on concrete or in the sand. There is a patio with a tin roof over it with fish-shaped high top tables and some booths that look like they came from a Dairy Queen. The eclectic decor makes it's way outside too. Closer to the river there is a large sand box with several picnic tables to eat, drink, and smoke at. With all the Buffet and Marley playing, you might be tempted to smoke something other than cigarettes (har har).

Unfortunately the river is way too high to dock at the barge right now, but once it goes down you can dock your boat and walk up the hill to grab a bite to eat and a few drinks. This is one of the coolest parts about the barge. Every day, you get a nice mix of boaters, locals, and out-of-towners staying at the Par-a-Dice hotel just down the road. While peeking around, I noticed that the owner(s?) are constructing a bar outside that seats about 20. I'm not sure when it will be ready but it looks like it will be really nice out there.

This weekend the Burger Barge has lined up three days of entertainment for our Independence Day. Friday night Chicago Farmer will play from 5-9:30. Saturday the great band Rooster Alley will play from 6-10. In case you've never heard of them, check out their website, these guys seriously Rock the Fuck Out. Their lead singer/guitarist wears a guitar strap that has 6 or 7 harmonicas on it! If that doesn't get your Mojo Workin, nothing will. Sunday, Reverend Ed and the Sunday Drive will play from 2-6. I'm not sure what the view of the fireworks would be like from here but it should still be a fun place to hang out for the 4th of July festivities.

So, cheers to the Burger Barge for providing the Peoria area with a little slice of Key West mixed our
patented midwest hospitality!

Daily Specials
M $1.75 cans-o-beer
T $2 wells
W 6 for $5 8oz. Coors cans
T $2 build your own margarita bar
F/S None, it's Friday, if you can't get folks to come to your bar on Friday and Saturday, you're Fucked!
S $2 build your own Bloody Mary bar

Update - I went to the Burger Barge a few days ago and thourougly enjoyed it. I shot some photos and you can check them out below. But first a couple bits of news. The Tiki Bar outside has been completed and seats firfty (50). There's a new menu items as well, it's called the Loosy and it's basically just loose meat sandwiches and loose meat added to omelets, and barges (Burger Barge speak for sandwiches.) That's it for now, cheers and beers!

This is the bacon burger. Fucking. Amazing.
This is the napkin I drew on and hung near the front door. Pretty good huh? Yah I know, I'm awesome in so many ways. The Spirit of Peoria looks like shit though. Hi Marty! Cheers!


  1. Thanks for the linkage! I loved this place and would hang out there all summer long if I still lived in Peoria. Gigi the owner and everybody who work there are really nice and friendly and the beer is unbelievably cheap. I had to go out to dinner that night with my folks, if I wouldn't have had plans I would've gotten shitfaced five ways from Friday. Great review!

  2. the burger barge USED TO BE good about 5-6 years ago.the past few times ive been in there the burgers were complete shit,burnt around the edges and skimpy as fuck.the staff is full of hipsters and turds.if you want a real burger go to LUDY'S IN KICKAPOO BEST BURGERS AROUND HANDS DOWN.also i couldnt help but wonder where the burger is in your photo?it looks like nothing but toppings