Thursday, July 14, 2011

Peoria Institution: Friendly Valley

Located at 3708 N. Meadowbrook Lane in Peoria, the Valley is one of the longest standing bars in the city and one of the most unique. The building is a Quonset hut which, if you don't know anything about has a pretty interesting history. According to Wikipedia...

Between 150,000 and 170,000 Quonset huts were manufactured during World War II. After the war, the U.S. military sold the surplus Quonset huts to the public for $1,000 each[citation needed]—this approached the cost of a small home.[citation needed] Many are still standing throughout the United States. 

A quick and lazy google search didn't turn up much for Quonset huts that have been turned into bars but I'm guessing that that number is pretty low, which only adds to the uniqueness of the Valley. Also, the fact that Peoria used to have two Quonset hut bars probably makes it the coolest city ever. Remember the Locus Point Tap? The hut still stands but the bar closed its doors about six years ago. I was there and remember patrons burning the roadside wooden sign that directed weary travelers on Route 8 to the old tavern, a sad sight indeed. By the way, the place is for sale if anyone is interested in returning the bar to its former glory. 

As for the Valley, it's still going strong after about 40 years with no sign of slowing down. The beers are cheap, the barflies are friendly, and the jukebox consistently cranks out some of the best tunes in town. This, despite the fact that the Valley recently made the transition from the old school flip-disc style juke to the fancy new internet jukebox that everyone agrees is a great thing  piece of shit internet juke that allows people to play whatever God-awful shit they can find. These things suck a big bag of dicks but fortunately for you dear reader, you won't have to worry about hearing shit music at the Valley because most of the folks here have pretty damn good taste. 

The bar is a straight shot from left to right with the right side wrapping into the wall to make a path towards the bathrooms. The bar seats about 15 and there's not a table to be found. Above the bar is the fire marshall's maximum capacity sign that reads 48. Are you fucking kidding me? If there were 48 people in this bar it would be so packed there's a good chance it would implode due to the pressure.

Speaking of the folks at the Valley, they are pretty friendly as long as you don't ruffle any feathers, which you wouldn't want to do anyway right? The average age here for patrons is certainly older than the norm but that's what makes it fun. On my last trip there, Zig-Zag (remember that asshole?) and I ordered shots of whiskey and were asked if we wanted them chilled only after the matronly bartender had poured them. Now normally, less than desirable service like this would be annoying but at the Valley it simply makes it more endearing. Not to mention the fact that chilling shots of whiskey is boozehound sacrilege. It's the drinking equivalent of ordering a filet mignon well done and with ketchup. 

Side note - On a recent trip to Crusen's (yes I actually go in to the belly of beast from time to time), I ordered a Jameson only to find that the bottle amongst others, is kept in the beer cooler. So, even if you wanted whiskey straight up you can't have it, they're automatically chilled. Yet another reason why that bar sucks monkey lungs (copyright Marty Wombacher 2010.)

The inside of the bar is adorned with vintage beer and booze paraphernalia, most of which are no newer than the mid 90's. Included in this collection is the world's sweetest Miller High Life sign, I'll let you find it for yourself. Behind the bar is a large collection of union stickers representing just about all locals, including the stagehands. There is a pool table and a dart board to mess around on but space is tight so you might want to think about your leaves to line up the best possible shot. 

Another unique thing about the Valley is that they have a backyard. Yes, a bar with its own back yard. It's a pretty big one too and a peaceful place to hang out. As a matter of fact, there aren't too many other better places to be than relaxing under the limbs of giant mulberry and pin oak trees with green grass beneath your feet on a cool summer night out behind the Valley. Everytime I think about back home, it's cool and breezy. And if you're in to trend sports that reached their peak in the late 80's there's a sand volleyball pit to keep you busy. I think it's more for looks though, as I've never seen anyone engaged in a game. Sometimes the Valley will have fires, something they must get a permit for so don't walk out back and just start burning stuff in the fire pit, not a good idea.

The owner is present most nights, either sitting at the bar or smoking a cancer stick on the deck attached to the right side of the building. If you look above the co-ed sink outside the bathrooms, there's a brilliant picture of him sitting on the toilet, drinking a Bud Light, and holding a Bible. The caption reads "the Lord works in mysterious ways." He certainly does.

I can't say with any certainty that the Valley is a neighborhood bar because there really isn't a neighborhood anywhere nearby. It's simply an oddity that folks driving to or from Landmark stop and have a few in just because it's there and it looks friendly, I guess. What the Valley most certainly is is an easy going place filled with folks just trying to have a good time. That, and it's a Peoria Institution.

So, if you've never been or been a thousand times, swing by the Valley and toss a few back because places like this are few and far between so let's enjoy them while we can.

Cheers to Friendly Valley and cheers to dives everywhere that are hanging on in these tough times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The entrance to Kelleher's as captured by PBR photog and all-around pro Nyletak


A view from the top

Kelleher's, located at 619 SW Water St. in downtown Peoria, has become one of the more popular destinations in downtown Peoria. Located in an old warehouse (I know that's a crappy description, go to their website to read the whole history I'm lazy), the bar does it's best impression of a traditional Irish pub while still offering better than average pub grub.

One of my favorite aspects of this bar is the sense of history it invokes. Now, if you find yourself at Kelleher's on a Friday or Saturday night, you might not be able to pick up on it because of the collar-shirted masses clamoring around the bar. Not only is the building an ancient hulking mass of brick, mortar and steel but just about every nook and cranny is filled with historic artifacts. Some represent the old sod of Ireland but fear not Peoriaphiles, there's enough River City history in here to occupy yourself with.
A shot of downtown Peoria before the new courthouse and Twin Towers

I've seen this picture before and I think it's of a bar in Peoria but I'm not sure where. Help me out Peoria!

A shot of the Gipps Brewery baseball team proves that beer and baseball just go together

Here's another one for you PeoriaKid, I don't think you'll be getting your hands on this sign anytime soon!

Here's another bit of history for ya - the bricks that make up the patio outside the front entrance and those that serve as a sidewalk through the center of the parking lot came from heaping mounds near the river. I'm not sure where owners Pat Sullivan and John Hunt got these mounds from but I do distinctly remember seeing workers rummage through them to pull out the old bricks. Most are Purington Pavers which were used to construct most city streets in Peoria but occassionally, you'll find a Lant and Morris or a Springfield Granite.

Check the history son

Some streets downtown (definitely Water St.) still have the old pavers underneath several layers of asphalt. Eventually, it would be nice to see that crap ripped up and replaced with the old pavers, it would only add to the historic atmosphere of Water St.

Another great thing about Kelleher's is the bar itself, it has no rival in Peoria. On the business side, where all the booze is held, is an enormous wooden structure that runs the length of the bar and extends what seems like eight feet in the air. Keeping with Irish tradition (or something like that), the entire middle section of the structure is filled with whiskey, lots of it. I'm not sure how many different varieties of the stuff there is but my guess is at least 35. Flanking the whiskey on either side is your standard (for higher class bars at least) rows of flavored and specialty vodkas and a few tequilas.

Speaking of specialty vodkas, when did we decide that there needs to be a flavored version of every vodka brand? And just where does this trend stop? Apparently, the sky is the limit as shown by Kelleher's Outrageous Bloody Mary. What's so special about their version of the classic hangover remedy? Well, you can choose between Bacon or Smoked Salmon-flavored vodka. Let that soak in for a minute. Bacon. And. Smoked Salmon. Vodka. What was bloody mary mix, vodka, celery salt, pickles, olives, and celery not enough for your drink? I guess it does lack the protein provided by bacon flavored vodka but good lord what's next a dinner roll? Rant over.

Staying on the subject of semi-over the top drinks, if you're trying to get blasted with two of your closest friends, check out the Grape Ape. The drink combines Buru Citrus Vodka, Fanta Grape Soda on the rocks into one glass. Three straws are provided so you and your partners can dispose of the drink with extreme prejudice.

Kelleher's has about ten revolving beers on tap an  bunch of bottles but you'll always be able to get the standards - Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's. On my trip there, I had the Two Brothers Monarch Wit ($3) and my guest had Left Hand Brewing Co's Good JuJu ($3). There's always different specials so you'll just have to check their website or call the bar to find out what the good deals are. If you're not used to dropping $3 a beer and $5 a shot, you'll definitely want to pay attention to the specials as it's pretty easy to rack up a hefty bar tab.

As for entertainment, there's a few TV's on either side of the bar as well as Golden Tee and a shuffleboard table, somewhat of an oddity for a place like this. The table is on the second level all the way in the back and looks out over the rear area of the bar. It's definitely the most unique shuffleboard in Peoria due to its location. The third Saturday of every month is "St. Practice Day" with $3 Jameson drinks, corned beef and cabbage, and $3 pints of Guinness, Smithwick's, and Harp. The Flynn Irish dancers jig around for a while and sometimes, (I think) the Bogside Zukes play.

I've never had the food at Kelleher's but it seems like pretty standard pub food but with an Irish twist. On Monday nights you can get a fried chicken dinner with a choice of fries or mashed taters and gravy with bread and cole slaw - sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Fifteen years ago, there wasn't a whole lot going on at the corner of State and Water except for Rizzi's. But Pat Sullivan and John Hunt have done an admirable job in revamping their block all while respecting the history of the buildings that their businesses occupy.

Kelleher's is an upscale bar and restaurant, a traditional Irish pub it is not. You won't find any blue collar guys from the neighborhood tipping a few back after work. I understand what the owners were going for and the bar's atmosphere is one of a kind but if you want to down some pints at somewhere that truly resembles (again, not a whole lot of working men here either) the public houses of the old country, you're better off heading up Main St. to Ulrich's Rebellion Room a bar that was formerly owned by Pat's brother - Mike "Sully" Sullivan.

Cheers to Kelleher's!

M - $3 select drafs 
T - $3 20 oz. Boston Lagers
W - $10 domestic buckets (5,) $3 Absolut drinks
Th - $3 Goose Islands, $10 domestic buckets, $3 Pinnacle Vodka drinks
F - $3 Grape Ape shots, $3 Sobieski vodka drinks
S - $3 Two Brothers drafts, $3 Jameson drinks

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ask The Chief Episode One

Unless this guy is an expert at kneeling and holding a clipboard, I really don't know what his expertise would be. Looking like a douche maybe?

Here at the PBR, I rarely get emails from people that have questions or comments but recently a gent named Ryan Norgart a.k.a. PeoriaKid sent me an email with some questions about some of the South Peoria dives I've reviewed here. Here's what Ryan had to say...

I just discovered your blog. I love it. I moved to South Carolina a few years back, but I grew up Peoria. I went to Woodruff and then Bradley and have always loved Peoria's drinking/ bar/ distilling/ hookering/ brewing/ and generally shady history. During and shortly after college I started exploring Peoria's diverse bar scene. I grew up about 2 blocks from the Red Barn and it has always been my "home" bar. I can still walk in the door today (after having left town some time ago) and know everyone at the bar.

Anyway, back to my point. Back in about 1997 or 98, a couple of friends and I started doing our own exploratory bar tours. We would basically drink our way around town trying to hit as many bars as we could that we had never been to before. However, there were a few places that I was always curious about but was a little nervous about checking out due to the part of town they are in combined with the fact that I am white. A few that come to mind are Dome, Earp's hideaway, Jan's, Roger's, and Garden Gate. After reading your reviews I want to check them out more then ever. Especially Dome tap. Like I said, I love Peoria's brewing history and I sort of collect old Gipp's stuff. I never knew Dome had the Gipp's tile entryway.

So, do you think a regular guy (Im not a douche, definitely not a hipster, not from Chicago, etc) would ever have any problems at these type of places? I have been to plenty of dive joints around Peoria, in some shady areas, but to me, places like the Dome sorta take things to another level of ghettoness. (due to the neighborhood) Im not stupid and have decent street smarts, know when to keep my mouth shut, etc. So, have you ever felt uneasy in any of these places?

Well, you asked for it and here ya go Ryan, I hope this helps!

Dome Tap - The Dome is a great place for an afternoon beer and with all the pay-out poker machines they have you might end up getting one for free. I've been to the Dome on Friday and Saturday nights pretty late and I was DEFINITELY the only white person in there other than the girlfriend of some black dude. I've never had any problems with anybody other than one time some guy kept trying to get me to buy him a drink because the bartender had cut him off. My girlfriend was even with me at the time and no one fucked with her. That being said, it's probably safer to get outta there before 10 or so. While I've had a good experience there I could totally see some guy wondering what the fuck a 27 year-old white dude is doing in there that late and wanting me out of there. Maybe I've been lucky and maybe people can tell that I'm no threat to anyone and not worth beating up, (like I said white, 5'7" 150 = you've proved nothing by whooping my ass.)

Earp's - Basically like most bars in this area, Earps is a white trash hangout and honestly, I've felt more uncomfortable in these types of places than I ever have at "black" bars like Dome Tap and LA's. This place is alright, definitely a neighborhood joint and you'll get some looks on the weekend when ALL the regulars are there. If you're gonna get fucked with in this bar, it'll probably be over a pool game.

Jan's - Don't be fooled by the location, Jan's is absolutely harmless. Any bar where a 60 something year-old lady who isn't even 5 feet tall tends bar on a Saturday night is somewhere you don't have to worry about. Jan's is a neighborhood place for sure but this is the bar where the laid back folks from the 'hood go, while Earp's is generally reserved for the rowdy croud. Last Saturday night when I was in there (from 9 - 10) and Jan's grandkids were playing pool in the back room, nothing to worry about here.

Roger's - I've hung out at Roger's Place quite a bit and I've never had any problems. The key to avoiding trouble here is to get in good with the bartender (Booter) because there are definitely some crazy fuckers that go in here. Like neck tattoo, coked out, crazy eyed people. But Booter keeps everything under control, he doesn't put up with any shit and there are several "normal" (and I use that word VERY liberally) regulars that..well, regulate on any trouble makers. Also, this bar always seems to be busiest in the after work hours (4 - 7) after that, it's pretty dead. Even on the weekends, it's rare that Roger's is open much past 11.

Garden Gate - Another South Peoria classic that's patronized by (mostly) older white guys. A bunch of country on the juke box and old timers sippin' their beers. The Gate is really a day-time bar, they close early at night because they're afraid of getting robbed. If you're gonna get fucked with in here it'll be because you told some guy that his racist joke wasn't funny..and that he's a racist and you're not. You're better off to just fake-laugh awkwardly and change the subject.

Well Ryan, I hope this post answered all your questions. I certainly did my best and if any of you out there on the internets have questions shoot me an email, message me on facebook, or send me some snail mail to 1060 W. Addison St. Chicago, Il.

That's all for now people, if you want to hang out, you can find me at Dorothy's this Friday or Saturday night between the hours of 8 and 11. Cheers!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dorothy's Dew Drop Inn

Yah, we're open, why would you think otherwise? Yah, I guess it kinda looks like an abandoned building, maybe we should do some remodeling HAHAHAHAHAHA YAH RIGHT!

Dorothy's is located at 1819 S. Laramie St. and is probably the southernmost bar in the city of Peoria. The only challenger to that claim might be Cheers and Beers on SW Adams. The tavern is jammed into a run-down strip of buildings in the southern corner of the neighborhood which probably has a name that has long been forgotten save by the elder residents of the area. If you drive past the tavern heading south, Laramie St. dead ends into Trewyn Park and on a winter's day with no leaves on the trees you can see I-474. If you didn't grow up in this area or aren't a weirdo like me who drives around the usually ignored neighborhoods of Peoria, you would probably never know about this place. You can thank me for telling you about it by sending me cash, thanks.

I've only been to Dorothy's twice and have literally had two bottles of Bud Light ($2) during my trips there. I'm going to say that the Dew Drop Inn is Peoria's number one dive bar for several reasons. The criteria for great dive bars is as follows.

Location - must be a bad one
Oddities - weird shit laying around that you don't usually see in a bar
Patrons - neighborhood lifers and usually several bitter old men in the middle of the day
Employees - gruff and workmanlike or friendly and talkative, dive bars can go either way on this one
Cleanliness - there is no such thing

We've already covered the location and while it may not be the worst neighborhood in Peoria it certainly ranks pretty high. When you first walk into Dorothy's, you will be confronted by a vicious guard dog yipping Chihuahua named Charlie. After a minute or two and several attempts to send him to the back room, Charlie will eventually give up and trot away, letting out a few more barks as he goes. Now, with that out of the way you can have a look around. One of the first things I noticed was the 90's era desktop and monitor at which Dorothy was seated playing solitaire. The main area of the bar is occupied by a pool table, a recliner that looks like a it came straight from Al Bundy's house, and a small table with four chairs. Why there is a recliner there, I don't know but one day I will sit in it and it will be glorious. The bar itself runs almost the full length of the building and is unique in its construction and by unique I mean crappy. When you sit at a bar stool, you must spread your legs like you're on a horse because the bar is one long rectangle with no ledge that hangs over your lap like, oh I don't know, every bar I've ever seen.

According to, Dorothy's has an estimated annual income of $75,000 and has approximately two employees. Those two employees would be Dorothy and a man I'm assuming is her husband, a gruff looking guy who appears to be in his 60's and probably has more fingers than teeth. Dorothy herself is friendly looking grandma type with her gray hair fashioned in an equally grandma-like perm. She can't be more than five feet tall and looks like she's dealt with a lot of bullshit in her life which isn't surprising considering her occupation.

The decor of the bar is pretty spartan, with most of the nick-nacks having to do with either booze or Nascar. On my last trip there, the old man was watching Sprint Cup practice (that's right practice) despite the fact that it was in March and there were plenty of important college basketball games on. If there isn't any Nascar event being televised, you're likely to find either Dr. Phil or Walker Texas Ranger on the tube. I doubt if either Dorothy or her husband work during the later hours on the weekends but I could be wrong. I'd really like to see what the crowd is like on a Friday or Saturday night but that will just have to wait for now.

If you've never been to Dorothy's you really must check it out. If the neighborhood gives you the willies, just stop in during the week for a nice afternoon beer, you won't be disappointed. The Dew Drop Inn is carrying on the tradition of classic South Peoria dive bars and in my opinion is the diviest of them all.

Cheers to Dorothy's for keeping the Peoria dive bar tradition alive and well!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Champs West

Located at 515 N. Western Ave., Champs West is the little brother of the former Champs bar which was located somewhere downtown. Sorry, I don't know where, that was before my time. Pay attention to your side streets heading south on Western because it's easy to drive right past the small bar, trust me, I've done it a million times. You'll need to take a right into the parking lot just before Kellogg Ave. to get to your destination.

It's interesting that I put this review off for about a month and in the mean time, Luciano wrote his own...weird. Anyway, a few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending a poetry open mic night at this small West Peoria tavern and it was one of the more unique things I've ever experienced in a bar here, or anywhere else or that matter.

First off, let me just say that Champs has the look and feel of a real old school neighborhood tavern, despite the fact that it's located in a strip mall. By this, I mean that the bar has the number one requirement of a no-frills, solid boozer. It's dark as fuck. This is what bars used to and should still be like; dark, small, and friendly. There's other bars in the Peoria area that meet the PBR's "Dark Bar" requirements, but I can't think of any that fit it as well as Champs. It probably has something to do with the tinted windows that face Western Ave. and block out the garish neon lights of the liqour store and fast food joints surrounding the bar. Seriously, if you drop a quarter to pay for your beer, don't bother trying to find it, just grab another one and let that one be your sacrifice to the beer gods.

Besides, being dark, Champs has another characteristic of the classic neighborhood tavern; a weird mix of people from the neighborhood and all walks of life. Obviously, on my trip there, the crowd was made up mostly of poets, writers, and other artsy types but there were still some working class drinkers hanging out and exposing themselves to some local talent. This is cool because a lot of places that are after-work-beer-joints for the working men of Peoria wouldn't necessarily put up with a situation like a poetry open mic. As a matter of fact, I can think of quite a few places where people get their pubes caught up in a zipper because there happens to be a band at their bar, thereby making the jukebox unavailable. Cough Last Chance Cough!

Only, two "regular" looking type guys seemed a little out of place. They stayed for a few beers and exchanged "what the fuck?" looks toward each other before leaving.

Champs also hosts the occasional music acts in its back room (the poetry takes place front and center and, sometimes right on the fucking bar.) According to friend of the PBR Izzy, Champs used to be a haven for the Peoria punk scene back in the "punk rock days." I've heard this from quite a few other folks so, it's probably true.

Luciano mentioned the fact that Champs is one of the few taverns around where you can stop in and grab a quick lunch. Being a fan of lunch-time beers, I am in support of this forgotten concept and encourage other taverns to do the same. I've never eaten at Champs but will provide a review A.S.A.P.

Drinks are relatively cheap at Champs. On the night I went there (Monday) PBR cans were $2 0r $2.50. Sorry I can't remember the actual price, I've kind of fallen out of habit with my bar-reviewing skills in the past couple months. I'll get the weekly specials to you soon.

If you've never been to Champs, you really should go check it out. The small bar can get overshadowed by the Big Three of West Peoria (Mike's, Owl's Nest, Tartan Inn) but is a great bar in its own right and its uniqueness is added to by their support of artistic endeavors. Champs is a classic Peoria bar and is held in the highest esteem here at the PBR.

Cheers to Champs and cheers to the poets, writers, musicians, and artists of all kind here in the River City!

P.S. Special thanks go out to friend of the PBR, David Von Behren for extending the invitation to Fontana and I so we could experience one of the more unique nights out I've had in a while. Thanks DVB!

I recorded several videos of poet and bartender at Champs, Will Ankrum's poems but couldn't get them to upload, I know I suck. But then I realized that it's probably something you need to experience in person. The poetry open mic takes place on the second Monday of every month. In the meantime, check out this video shot six months ago from

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Random pics, thoughts, observations, from Chicago

I just wanted to share some stuff from the trip to Chi-town Zig Zag and I made last weekend. After drinking heavily for the better part of Sunday, Zig and I were in need of sustenance. For absolutely no reason whatsoever I really wanted a Philly Cheesesteak. So, I hopped on the Interwebs and found what many called "the best and most authentic Philly in Chicago" at a place called Philly's best, so off we went.Just outside the restaurant we spotted this ancient Huffy. I'm not sure if it actually works or if it's just been sitting there since '73.

And here we are inside Philly's Best let's get a cheesesteak. This sandwich was fucking awesome. I've never been to Philly but I've been to Ocean City which is pretty close and this cheesesteak was pretty close to what I had there. It's all about the cheese, it's gotta be liquid white American cheese (or Cheez Wiz) to be right and the guys at Philly's Best have it figured out.
This wall had a ton of pictures, almost all of them autographed, of various celebrities. There was pics of reporters from Philadelphia as well as sports figures from Chicago. Before our lunch at Philly's, we spotted some dive bars to check out before hitting the road and coming back to the P. The first stop was Carol's Pub located at 4659 N. Clark. Just outside the bar we found this empty can of Icehouse. This is always the sign of a great bar.

Most reviews online said it was a great place for karaoke and I don't doubt that. There was a big stage where country and western (both kinds of music!) play. The crowd at 1 p.m. on a Monday was...interesting. When Zig and I walked in, both TV's were turned to Maury and cranked up pretty loud. The whole bar was watching, which is the first time I've ever seen that. Below is a pic from my perch at the bar. This place was a true dive. It smelled a little like farts and stale beer but compared with the other cookie-cutter sports bars and douchebag hangouts in the area, I would definitely make Carol's a regular stop if I were lucky enough to live in the Windy City and run the Chicago Bar Review. After a couple Bloody Mary's and a few Bud Lights we headed to our next stop, Max's Place.
No one leaves a bar quietly at 4 a.m.

Max's is about a one cigarette walk from Carol's and is located at 4621 N. Clark. Max's is way smaller than Carol's but had just as much atmosphere. There's a bar, a jukebox, booze, and that's about it. But to be a great dive bar, these are really the main ingredients. I only got one pic, from my seat at the bar, check it out below.

The outside shot is a pic I got from another site. In case you can't tell, that sign is made of wood and is hand-painted, something you don't see very often.

Cheers to Philly's Best for providing Chicago with an authentic cheesesteak and cheers to Max's and Carol's for providing the City of Broad Shoulders with two great dives to hang out in.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burwood Tap

Picture stolen from online source. Obviously our trip to the Burwood was much colder and snowier. Great.Fucking.Place.
Located at 724 West Wrightwood Ave. in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Burwood is one of the oldest bars in the city. The bar has been in operation and owned by the same family since 1933. I'm not sure if it was a bar before Prohibition or not but that's still a long fucking time. The bar sits on the corner of Wrightwood and Burling Streets which gives the tavern its name.

My first experience at the Burwood was completely by chance, which I'll explain in a minute. PBR staffer and resident drunkest-guy-in-the-room Zig Zag and I went to the Bears-Jets game last Sunday and had made up a little route to walk that evening to hit up some bars. Needless to say after a three (3) hour drive that started at 7 a.m. and included Zig drinking endless amounts of beers and smoking a shitload of hitters, he was in pretty bad shape for the game. But thanks to a post-game shower and bottle of merlot things were looking a little better for the evening's festivities.

Our route had us stopping at the B.L.U.E.S. bar right next to Kingston Mines before going to the Galway Arms and whatever other taverns might present themselves on our walk. Unfortunately, the blues bar was closed so we headed towards Galway. To my amazement and somehow through the wine/beer/weed/no sleep induced fog that Zig was in, he spotted the Burwood as I almost walked right past it.

Upon entering, I could already tell that this was one of "those" places. The entire bar is awash in a red-maroon glow that was added to by the Christmas lights hanging above the bar. Hell, they might even have them there all year round for all I know, they wouldn't look out of place. The front bar seats about 20 (how many times have I said that?) and the bar in the back looked to be a little bigger. In between is a single pool table. There weren't very many people in the bar but I could see that area being pretty cramped if the place was packed. Which is exactly what the fine folks at the Chicago Bar Project thought as well.

Zig Zag and I settled in and started playing pool, while the regulars drank at the bar and watched the Blackhawks game. We had a pitcher ($9) and had a walk around. Among the things we found were an old-ass fire hydrant, some really old hockey equipment hanging above the pool table and most importantly this sign...
Now, according to the Chicago Bar Project, this price has increased to $30 per person but that's still a ridiculously good deal. I don't know about you but any time I've spent three hours at a bar I've spent at least $20. Furthermore, if I really wanted to go nuts and drink Johnnie Walker Blue, my tab would be way beyond that. I will take advantage of this one day, stay tuned.
Here's the small pool table area. This table played really well despite the fact that the old floor was entirely un-even. The table is a Brunswick which, I'm pretty sure are the best made tables available. I really like the copper corners on this one. This table looks just like the ones at Jillian's here in Peoria. The difference between them is that this one will actually get used because it doesn't cost a ridiculous amount of money to play on it, Jillian's you are fucked!
Here's the back bar area. I love all the woodwork in this place, it gives it a real welcoming feel. And below that, for some reason is Shawn Kemp. I'm not really sure what this picture is doing there but it reminded of several things. First, those early to mid-90's Sonics had some pretty good teams with Kemp and Gary Payton holding it down. Not to mention how sweet those jerseys are. It's a shame that the Supersonics no longer exist. At least we have this picture to remember them by.
Above is a pic of the bar from back in the day, pretty fucking sweet.
The aforementioned fire hydrant is pictured below. This thing was heavy as fuck. The floor underneath was a low spot in the pool table area, undoubtedly because of the weight of this thing. There was a ton of cool old stuff laying around in this bar but with all the regulars there on a Sunday night, I didn't want to look like a complete creep by taking pictures of everything.
After we had finished our pitcher, Zig and I headed to the Galway Arms, which reviews online said had live Irish music every Sunday night. Zig Zag, unbenknownst to me had been cranking hitters on the walk to the blues bar and the Burwood. This, of course led to him looking extremely fucked up. We walked to the Galway and I went to the bathroom while Zig found a table for us. When I came back the waitress informed that "I can't serve your friend, the bartender said he's too drunk." Congrats are in order for my boy Zig, I've never seen anyone get kicked out of an Irish bar for being too drunk until that fateful eve. So, we improvised and went back to the Burwood where the friendly waitress happily brought us a pitcher while Zig chowed down on some of the free food they had in the back room as well as shitload of free popcorn. This is another reason why I love this bar so much. Zig was fucked up, to be sure, but he wasn't causing any problems nor could he have if he tried. If it wasn't for the Burwood who knows where we would have gone. I might have had to drop his drunk ass off at the hotel and bar-hop solo.

So, cheers to Zig Zag for maintaining despite the circumstances and a very rare Double Cheers to the Burwood Tap for saving my night!

Oh, and next time we're leaving the dope at the hotel you drunk ass bastard!
Shot of the bar. It looks like copper but it's actually just laminated (or whatever you call it) wood.