Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Irish Villa

Holy shit it's hot out there! Is this September 20th or August 20th? Anyway, before I hand over the reigns to the newest PBR staff member, Fontana, I just wanted share a couple of things with our readers.

In case you didn't notice, there's a new poll up on the top right hand side of the page. I encourage you to vote early and often just like they do in Chicago. The Peoria Bar Review's one year anniversary is fast approaching and we would really like to know how you are going to celebrate. As for myself, well, I'll figure that out when the day comes. I'll do a full post on this subject later but for now you've got a review to read.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the long awaited premiere of the newest PBR staffer. Fontana, take it away..........

Thank you! Thank you! This feels like home already. While I know I can't compare to the talented and eloquent Chief, hopefully you will enjoy my stay here at the PBR as much as I do. My first trip into the world of bars (as a reviewer that is) was almost so good it was bad. We had such a great time and good food that it will be hard for the other places to match up. Which locale set the bar so high you ask?

The Irish Villa!

Located at 3333 Northeast Adams Street in Peoria, I was at first worried about entering. The parking lot was deserted and the windows seemed dark. I thought the chances of a shanking were good. But upon entering, the atmosphere was warm and inviting. Game machines lined the wall to your left and a well stocked bar (complete with rotating Budweiser Clydesdale lights) to your right. We had a few beers and ordered some food. The owner gladly put the football game on t.v. and we made small talk from across the bar.

I am a sucker for festivals and games that will take my money - so you can imagine my delight when my eye caught the Claw Machine! Heaven! It was in a back room with a number of great bar games - Golden Tee, Darts, Pool Table, and a really badass pinball machine called "Fire." So we played some games and won some prizes.

Our group didn't dine on the most traditional Irish fare, but the food was delicious! The Chief had a steak which I believe he is going to tell you all about, and I ordered a BBQ sandwich and fries. The BBQ was seasoned to perfection and the bun soft and moist. When given the choice between regular french fries and river fries, I went with the former, but have no doubt that the latter would have been great as well. Eitak had a salad and the accompanying garlic breadsticks would put any pizza or Italian place to shame. 

It was clear however, that the time to dine there is St. Patrick's Day. When talking to owner, Bob Buchanan he said they order in 900 lbs of corned beef, serve 400 lbs of Irish Stew, and bake 100 lbs of soda bread. People line up down the block to get in and the rooms are packed with people. Talking to Bob was really enjoyable and before we left we all shared a drink. I don't recall if it had a name, but it was whiskey and a brand of Irish Cream that Bob has sworn by for years called St. Brendan's. 

That claw machine didn't stand a chance
We had a great time at the Irish Villa and will definitely be back again. Bob said he was the man who brought the Lemon Drop shot to Peoria and judging by the rest of the menu I know it will not disappoint. 

Current hours are Thursday - Saturday from 4:30 PM until about 10 PM. For more photos and information, check out their Facebook page at The Irish Villa Pub.

Great job Fontana! And yes you are right, that claw machine didn't have a Glenn Beck's chance at a scholarly debate! I will say that the steak I had was certainly a great deal and more importantly cooked to perfection, which is not an easy task with a thin 10 inch ribeye.

I also fully understand Fontana's misgivings about the Villa, especially considering we had the place to ourselves on a Friday night at 7:00. But, as you can tell we were all pleasantly surprised by the service, quality of food and atmosphere of the Villa.

If I may, I must make a quick editorial comment. Places like the Villa are often overlooked because of their appearnce or location. This is just a shame, too many people from Peoria ignore places like the Villa because they're stuck up or just plain stupid. I'm here to tell you right now, I don't care what the place looks like, good food is good food.

The same can be said for people and atmosphere. If I had a choice between the Irish Villa and 309 I would definitely pick the Villa. Don't worry I'll explain why in a future review, let me just say that I will not be kind to the new restaurant, unless a return trip provides a better experience.

Once again thanks to Fontana for her hard work. I know you're all looking forward to more post from her.

Cheers to the Irish Villa and cheers to Fontana!

Friday, September 10, 2010


We've covered a lot of dive bars here at the PBR. Almost without fail, every bathroom in these taverns has hook locks. In some cases, the door has been there long enough to have survived several generations of locks.

I did my best to take note of which lock goes with which bar, but there are some that have fallen through the cracks (pun or no pun, your choice). Some of the pictures included in this post I am absolutely sure I have matched the right bar with the right lock. Others, are up to debate and still others, I just have no idea where they came from. 

If you see an error or want to make a correction, give us a shout-out. You should also know the pictures of the women's bathroom locks were taken by an actual woman, pervs.
I'm almost positive this is the lock on the men's bathroom of Dome Tap (now C-Roc's or something else).
I honestly have no clue about this one.
Men's lock at the Hillside

Men's lock at Jan's Tap
Women's lock at the Hillside
Men's lock at Roger's Place
Women's lock at Red Barn
I'm not sure about this one either. If I had to guess I'd say it's the women's lock at Roger's Place.