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« Wednesday, December 29th, 2010—Bar 353 | Main | Monday, December 27th, 2010—Bar 351 »

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010—Bar 352

Monday, December 27th, 2010—Bar 352

The Red Barn

Okay another day in Peoria, another special guest star. This time it’s my friend Jim “Rooster” Rustman. I met the Rooster the one year I went to college. He was roomates with my brother Jim at Drake University when they were junior’s and I was a freshman. The three of us hung out a lot and boy are there a lot of stories from that year, but that would fill up this entire post. Let’s just say it was a year of madness and leave it at that. After my freshman year I flunked out due to the fact that I spent the entire year doing drugs and drinking and stopped going to classes the last semester decided that I’d try another path in life and got a job as a janitor in a factory in downtown Peoria. My working career has spinned sideways ever since that gig.

Anyway, Rooster lives in Las Vegas now, but he’s visiting Pontiac, Illinois to see his mom. He decided to take a sidetrip to Peoria and we’re headed to The Red Barn, a great Peoria bar that I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t visited in about a decade. It’s lunch time and we all know what that means...Butch’s Pizza and beer!

Okay, here we are at the Red Barn. Yeah, I know it's night time out and this is a day time bar crawl. The fact of the matter is I forgot to take a shot of the front of the bar and my dad had to drive me back to get one. Okay? Sheesh!

Okay, there's plenty of seats at the bar, time to settle in.

Here's Dan, he's not only the bartender, he's the owner of the joint! A friendly guy and a great teller of jokes.

Always the sign of a classic bar, a nut hut! And right next to the Red Stag.

There's booths opposite the bar...

With vintage photos on the walls, including this one of the fab four.

They also allow graffiti on the walls. Hmm...this is Peoria's verson of the Mars Bar!

Some of the drafts available at the bar.

Lunch is served, a delicious deluxe Butch's pizza, just one of the reasons I come back to Peoria.

And poof, that pizza is gone! To the left of me is the elusive "Rooster." I had to blur the shot because he's wanted in about ten states for various crimes ranging from tearing the tops off of parking meters to removing mattress tags in Howard Johnson hotels and everything in between. Yes, he's an evil and bad man!

Up front is a state of the art dart board.

The front window has a lamp straight out of a "Christmas Story."

A shot from the other end of the bar. There's Rooster and Dan, but who's the guy at the end?

It's Michael and he and Dan make quite the comedy duo, you have to see it to see what I mean.

Here's two of Michael's signs he designed especially for the Red Barn. Nice!

The back room has a full stage for bands and performers. There's live music many night's a week here including Tuesday and Friday open mic nights.

There's tables and chairs up front near the stage.

Here's another one of Michael's customized signs: No "Stairway to Heaven!"

So I complied and sang, "D'yer Mak'er." Goodnight, everybody!


The Red  Barn has been a Peoria Institution since 1965. Dan, the current owner has held the reins since 1983. The bar is divided into two rooms, with the bar in the front room off to the left as you enter. There’s large booths off to the side of the bar and graffiti and vintage pictures line the walls that give the place a relaxed and “anything goes” feeling. There’s a stage and tables in the back room and music happens here several nights a week and always on Saturday nights. Tuesday and Friday are open mic nights, so if you’re ready to road test your new band or song, stop on by.

 There’s a full bar available with a nice selection of bottled beers. Some of the draft beers available include: Amber Bock, Blue Moon, Budweiser and Bud Light. If you’re hungry there’s Butch’s pizza available and nuts from the nut hut. I’m not sure if they have sandwiches or anything else, but they’ve got Butch’s pizza and nuts from the nut hut, what more could you want? Don’t make me come over there and slap you upside your head!

 The Red Barn

621 W. Glen Ave.

Peoria, Illinois



Bonus Christmas cookies from Gidget!

Yesterday afternoon a package showed up for me at my parents house from La Porte, Indiana. That’s where my friend and the coolest DJ in the world, Gidget lives! Let’s see what she sent me! (And don’t forget to check out her show on Woody Radio.)

Here's the package from Gidget! Let's open it up!

There's a nice card inside...

These two packages!

And they're filled with delicious homemade cookies from Gidget! Thanks Gidget, this is too sweet, no pun intended.

And of course my dad sniffed them out in no time flat. Thanks, Gidget! Happy holidays to you and yours!


Bonus Photos From Peoria’s Emack and Bolio’s in Peoria Heights!

My good friend and spiritual guru, Tim Hennessey owns and runs an Emack and Bolio's upscale ice cream parlor in Peoria Heights (along with his business partner, Jumping Jim Maxwell.) Rooster and I decided to stop in after lunch and say hi.

And here we are, Emack and Bolio's at 4534 N. Prospect Road.

And here he is, my personal guru, smiling Tim Hennessey!

Even though it's cold winter day, people still line up in here for the quality ice cream.

And so Tim quits posing for pictures for me and gets back to work. Sob!

Classic rock and roll photos line the walls in here.

An original piece of art drawn by my brother Jim of Melanie Griffith hangs on the wall in here. Thanks for that, guys, our whole family appreciates it!

And here's Tim with his beautiful wife, Tina. If you want to see a smile light up on Tina's face, just ask her about the time I helped out with Tim's surprise birthday party. No need for any more thank you's Tina, the pleasure was all mine! As it always is! Ha ha ha!

And there's more here than ice cream, check out the candies and goodies.

And look, it's Charlie Brown's Christmas tree!

Okay, all of a sudden I see one of Tim and Tina's kids, Katie with her husband Larry posing with a bunch of people whom I have no idea who they are. I think the baby is Katie and Larry's, but all I know is that when they were in mid-pose, I ran over with my camera and shouted, "Say, mescaline!" And the only one's who looked were Larry and this kid in the red cap, who kind of looks like me when I was a juvenile delinquent. Now I'm not about to say these two are holding drugs and I'm not judging, I guess what I'm saying is, you two guys ever heard about sharing?

And in the end...well, you all know about that. Turn me on you big ice cream eating dead man!


And finally...


This is either a combination Prozac/Abortion clinic or a dry cleaner with a bar inside, but either way, I’m glad it’s here. Okay, I'm in the La Guardia airport doing this and now I have to do my bar crawl because it's like a two hour taxi wait. I'll write about it tomorrow, stay tuned.

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Reader Comments (22)

Wow, this was worth the wait, epic post! The Red Barn looks like a great place with a friendly bartender. And Gidget's cookie's look tasty as does everything in your friends ice cream store! And the Happy Hanger? LOL! You're almost there!

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

What a great homey post from Peoria's greatest number one homeboy...Marty Wombacher! Glad you made it back to NYC alive Marty, we've all been watching the news and have been wondering and worrying about you. You've got the balls of a tiger keeping the crawl going to it's completion in the snowbound hell that New York has become as of late! Geez what a mess!

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@ Barfly and Jaws: Thanks, I'm in the airport waiting for the cabstand to calm down, the last I checked it was a two hour wair for a cab! So I came down and did my bar crawl for tomorrow here. May not be the most exciting one, but I'm beat!

December 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Glad you're still alive! Hope you make it all the way home tonight.

Still questioning if there is a ban on 20-30 yr olds in this town. And do all places back there slice pizza in squares? Are we weird out here in the west because to do diagonal slices? I mean we're weird, but is that added to the list? Anyways, looks like another great, comfortable place.

Wow Tim and Tina's shop looks wonderful! Could get very full there. And very cool that they have your brother's piece hanging up. Finished your book last night, and the chapter about Jim was very touching.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

I just got an email from BBC Gene with a link to a NY post article about the snow storms in NY.
Holy crap! I'm glad we didn't decide to go there in the winter. That would have sucked.

@365: Epic post Marty. That pizza looked great. Tim's ice cream shop is amazing! Do they ever stop cleaning?

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClacky

Every bar in Peoria looks great. Smaller town ... not a lot of punks running crazy ... a joy to go out. It would be worth a BBC pub crawl someday !

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Good you made it home...great seeing you again...I'm still laughing.... the other kids were upset they missed you.... almost finished with the crawl ..its been the highlight of my year....peace and carrots

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScreaming Lord Such

Michael's & Dan Tell Us A Joke !!! They should do " Who's on First , What's on Second " OK No Joke , then give me a Red Stag .
Butch’s Pizza is not cut the way normal pie is cut right ? Why ?
Did you leave any Graffiti ? I would have !!! This Place Is Like A Cleaned Up Mar's Bar , with small stage.
Rooster , Cock a Doodle Doo !!! Not blured enough . Got the info on him , Just a Joke , Cock a Doodle Doo .
Brother Jim Art Is Great !!! I would trade a Photo for one .
I Scream , I mean Ice Cream , & all that Chocolate , ZioumZioum would Like This . Then Cookies
From DJ Gidget , You Had A Great Christmass & missed the Fucking Blizzard , it's going to be 50 degress Friday , NY is strange .
"Say, mescaline!"

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang Love's ZioumZioum

Oh shit didn't read other comments .

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang Love's ZioumZioum

Covered everything on this epic post. Not much more to add. Sleep well in NYC and hug your radiator to stay warm.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Mescaline! HA HA HA! You still gots it, Diesel! Emack & Bolio's looks amazing, and it's really nice that they have your bro's artwork on the wall. Tim looks just like my uncle Nick did about 40 years ago. And your Dad looks a lot like Boris Yeltsin! I'll bet your Dad's a better dancer, though. As for the Red Barn, it looks like a great place! That owl on the front is reminiscent of Charley Harper - pretty cool. Love Michael's signs (especially the Stairway one...is there a Freebird one as well?) and it's suhweet that they have the Mars Bar vibe running in there. I'm going to have to try a Butch's pizza one of these days, but I'm with everyone else - I way prefer the pie cut. It's something about the Midwest with those frickin little squares. Anyhoo, back to the Red Barn - nice tube lighting, nice stage area and nice bull horns (helloooo, '70s!) And lastly, but certainly not leastly, two thumbs up and a howdoyoudo to the nut hut! If I've said it said it once, I've said it a million times - there's nothing quite as nice as a handful of warm nuts.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Everyone: I'm finally home! I'm tired as fuck after waiting forever in a cab line and will answer comments back tomorrow. Thanks and goodnight, everybody!

December 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

have to go w/al not much to add that has not been ...glad 365 made it back safely to this white hell...a note about pizza cuts (square) there are lots of places in pa where not only are the slices cut like that but the pie itself is a huge rectangle...KOC


December 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

What a great entry today!
A little bit of everything.
Pontiac, IL? Where in the fuck is that?
Great to see Swami's Art gracing the walls of Emack and Bolio's.
Glad you made it back safe and sound and perhaps our paths will cross in a week or so.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

When a pizza pie is cut into squares, it's called a 'Chicago cut'. Very common in the midwest.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Great bar and great post!!!

Ow, and the signs are really awesome!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGuilherme

Welcome home to the snowpocylpse, Marty! Glad you made it.

Re the pizza slices: Yes, folks in the Midwest are squares. I can say that 'cause I'm a Michigan hillbilly by birth.

And the signs at the Barn are fab! "long Haired Freaky People need Not Apply" Haven't heard that one since 1970-whatever:

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNed Sparks

@Everone: Quote of the day: "there's nothing quite as nice as a handful of warm nuts." Ha ha ha! You still got's it, Bifferoonie!

And I like pizza cut in squares, it's easier to eat. And Butch's pizza rules, you can mail order pies and I suggest you do so! Okay, I have to go put together today's post and then unpack.

December 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

Very very cool Marty!!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

Who says "mescaline" when they want a 90year old grandma to smile? Looks like it got the attention of the chosen few though

And we all know pizza tastes way better when its cut into squares! +1 for Butches

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHippie turned white collar

@Hippie: "Who says "mescaline" when they want a 90year old grandma to smile?" Well, sir, that would be me. And,, yes, to Butch's!

December 30, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

In Alsace and Lorraine (regions of France) They cut pizzas in square too!
Jason, are you fucking drunk again??! HA! ;)
Yum cookies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheeeeeeze! Have you ever eat the worm that is into mescaline bottles? I did.... and it was great! haha

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZioum Zioum The Chainsaw

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