|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!