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Monday, January 10th, 2011—Bar 365

Sunday, January 9th, 2011—Bar 365

Mike’s Tavern

Okay, this is it. To quote Bobby Zimmerman: “It’s all over now, baby blue.” I decided to wind this whole crazy journey back at the bar that I first had heard of as a little kid growing up in Peoria, Illinois, Mike’s Tavern in West Peoria. It seemed only fitting to end it here. One of my favorite relatives of all time is my Grandpa Seitz, who died back in 1980, but when he was alive, Mike’s Tavern was his hangout and he was a regular and a character in this tavern. I’ve written about this before, but when I turned legal drinking age in Peoria and stopped in at Mike’s, I wasn’t welcomed with open arms, until they found out I was Leo Seitz’ grandson. Then I was treated like a rock star in this place. Years later, when I was publishing the magazine POP, Mike Foster wrote a great feature story about Mike’s Tavern and its owner, Tony Ward and we had a great day hanging out there. This is the only bar I’m repeating on the bar crawl. I can do this because there were a few days when I went to more than one bar in the same day, so in actuality, I’ve been to over probably 370 bars in my travels. So today we make a well-deserved repeat visit to Mike’s Tavern. And here we go to the 365th bar in on the 365th day. A year of beer is soon to be over. Come along, a splendid time is guaranteed for all!

It all begins and ends here. I've got so many pictures from this great night out, that I can't possibly write captions for all of them, so I'm just going to post the photos and let every picture tell its own story. Thanks to everyone who showed up, it was one of the best nights of my life. Okay, here we go!



You can read my Mike’s Tavern review and story about my Granspa Seitz here: Mike’s Tavern. TO LEO SEITZ AND TO MIKE’S TAVERN!

Thanks so much to my family who supported this crazy idea and all my others in the past. You guys are the best and I love you lots! Thanks for all you do for me, any other family would have had me committed years ago.

And now it’s all over. 365 bars in 365 days. I’d really like to thank Tony Ward for allowing the last night to happen at his fine bar, Mike’s Tavern. Thanks to 365 resident artist, “Boris,” for the great artwork and for maintaining the 365 Bar Store (the store will stay open by the way!) And thanks to Gidget for creating the 365 facebook fan page and to her and “Boris” for maintaining it (check them both out on Woody Radio.) A big thank you to the Waugh family who supplied food on the last night and are always there when I need them, thanks for being my second family. Thanks to Tim and Colleen Carey from Butch’s Pizza for supplying pizza, I ate a fair amount of Butch’s Pizza on the bar crawl and I suggest you all try it, you can order it online if you don’t live in the Peoria area (just remember to cut it into squares when you serve it.) I also want to extend a big, whopping thanks to all of you who have read and commented on the 365 blog, those of you who have written about what I did and every single person I’ve met while doing this and that is literally thousands of people. Think about it, I was able to meet thousands of people in bars this year and share conversations, stories and ideas with them. Really crazy, but that’s what I’ve always said was the purpose of this bar crawl, to go out and meet people and then report about these people and the bars that they were housed in the next day in words and pictures. I thank and appreciate all of you who played along with this kooky idea. 

So, once again, a heartfelt thanks to all of you that have followed me this year, a cool little social scene happened in the comments section and I hope it grows and continues. I’ve made some good friends while doing this, reconnected with others from the past and I consider that a blessing. There’s more to come, so stay tuned if you’d like to. And remember (To quote the John Lennon Sisters): Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right, it’s all right. The bell tolls for us all. Ring-a-ding-ding.
Now if you’d please excuse me, I’m going to go have a nervous breakdown. Goodnight, everybody!
Update: December 5, 2011. I just got the sad news that Tony Ward passed away on Sunday, December 4th. My condolences to his wife, kids, family and friends. Tony really made this day and a lot of other days special. I'll be putting up a tribute to him tomorrow at my Marty After Dark blog. R.I.P. Tony Ward.

Sunday, January 9th, 2011—Bar 364

Saturday, January 8th, 2010—Bar 364

Exit 197

Okay, a couple more last minute donations have rolled in! My friend and co-worker, Mike Pyrich sent in a generous donation of twenty dollars. His message stated: "Good Luck on finishing your project,I hope it leads to a million dollar movie deal." Me, too! Are you seeing this Marin Scorsese? Thanks so much, Mike!

Next, Lenny Herold sent in a more than generous donation of fifty dollars! His message he sent was: "For a few buds and maybe some Jameson on the side. From @GatorLenny from bar #267 - wish I could buy you a beer at the finale." Thanks so much Lenny, and here's a shot of Lenny from bar # 267:

Lenny! Thanks for the donation Lenny, next time we meet, I'm buying the first round!

Alright, just like Willie Nelson and Canned Heat, we’re on the road again. One guy who has helped me out from before this blog was born is my good friend and 365 resident artist, “Boris.” He designed the banner art and logo for the website, put up and maintains the 365 Bar Store (and you can still buy the 365 shirts and products that “Boris” designed!), and he helps maintain the 365 facecrack fan page along with Gidget who created that page (and don’t forget to tune in to both Gidget’s and “Boris’” shows on Woody Radio). So anyway, this whole year “Boris” has told me about the bar and liquor store where he buys his Lotto tickets and how they’ve been wanting me to bring the bar crawl to their bar. Well, with help from my parents who are driving me out there and “Boris” who is driving me back home (I don’t drive as you may have surmised), the bar crawl tonight comes from Pontiac, Illinois. Usually it’s Cheeseburger Saturday Night at the bar crawl, so let’s see what they can whip up for us at Exit 197 (that’s the name of the bar, not the actual exit.) Okay and we’re off!

And here we are taking off. That's Jerry, my dad and owner of Jerry's Bar behind the wheel.

There's my mom in the co-pilot seat...

Here I am still passed out from last night resting up for today's bar crawl.

The wide open spaces of the midwest.

And before you know it, we're in Pontiac and here's "Boris" ready to take over the driverly duties from my folks. Thanks for the ride, mom and dad!

We don't have far to go, it's about eight feet away.

And here we are at Exit 197, looks like a great place!

Beer tour? Did they know I was coming?

This place really gets cranking at night, but since we're here at four in the afternoon, there's plenty of seats at the impressive, wooden bar. Shall we?

And here's super-cute and friendly Lindsey serving up the first beer of the day. I like it in here!

And here's "Boris" and I, together again! Cheers to you all!

There's hand-painted wooden tables and chairs opposite the pool table.

A pool table stands opposite those tables, it's a large front room here and there's an even bigger dance floor in the back.

Here's Jason and Susan who were chilling out at the bar. They loved the 365 bar crawl idea and are nice people.

A long shot of the highly polished wooden bar. "Boris" looms in the distance and wonders if I'm ever going to quit taking pictures.

There's bottle caps embedded on top of the bar. Very cool!

And they have Butch's Pizza here! That trumps a cheeseburger any night of the week!

Here I am with the lovely Shelley at the bar. And look, I'm wearing my Gidget t-shirt that "Boris" designed. I have to get a "Secret Weapon" one when I get home.

Here's Lynn, who came in to the bar to show me the daily edition of the Daily Leader.

And look who made that day's edition, Mr. Publicity Whore himself! Mucho thanks to the Daily Leader for putting that in, very nice!

And Lynn not only bought me a paper and a beer, he donated five bucks to the bar crawl! Very, nice Lynn, thanks so much!

Hey, that reminds me, we still need to order a pizza.

Here's "Boris" with Kim who had just stopped by the bar.

And here we are, a delicious Butch's Pizza! And yes, it's sliced in squares, Lindsey said she was told to do it that way. Slices, squares, who cares, let me at that pizza!

Callie was seated next to me and presented me with a beer cozy from her wedding. A wedding with personalized beer cozies, that's my kind of couple!

Here's "Boris" with the original owner of the bar, Cathleen. Cathleen originally opened the place in 1984 and it was called the Shamrock back in those days.

And here's the two present-day owners, the lovely April and Amy. They're very friendly and two of the most hospitable bar-owners I've encountered on this bar crawl!

They even let me hang out behind the bar to get a view of the action from that side. That's the first time that's happened on the entire bar crawl, very nice. From left: Yours Fooly, Amy, April and Lindsey. I call this picture, "The Beast and Three Beauties."

And on the way out, the pretty and friendly Shelly sells me a Lotto ticket. If I win, I'll come back and drinks and pizza are on me. Goodnight, everybody!


Okay, I’m crazy-ass busy today as I have to get ready for the last bar crawl and it’s happening in a couple of hours. Amy and April, the owners of the Exit 197 were kind enough to send in a summation of their great bar. And here it is, take it away, Amy and April...


Exit 197 offers something for everyone!  With a huge dance floor, comfortable ambiance, smooth drinks and a wide variety beers, Exit is one of the most happening bars in central Illinois.  The front bar has a roaring 20’s theme with murals featuring some of the period’s most notorious people.  In the early evening hours, Exit caters to the local crowd, offering a world beer tour featuring 197 beers.  The bar also offers over 40 varieties of vodka that make up an impressive martini menu.  As the night grows later, the friendly atmosphere jumps to life with music as the back bar’s 1000 sq foot dance floor crowds with people. The bar hosts a variety of entertainment, from karaoke to DJ’s to bands.  THe beer garden also offers live music, bean bags, and live music when the weather is warm.  In the winter, the area has heaters to help keep the smokers warm!

The bar is attached is also attached to a liquor store which is convenient for grabbing beer at the end of the night!


Thanks April and Amy! And they also told me to let people know that if you come into the bar and mention my name, the name of the 365 blog and what number Exit 197 was on the bar count (364) you get a FREE beer! I have to get back to Pontiac soon! Thanks again to Amy and April and everyone at Exit 197, it was a great time! And an extra special thanks to “Boris” for the ride home, all your help with this blog and for your friendship, Daddio! And it was a special treat to stop and meet your lovely mom as well! Thanks Brother and I hope to see you again soon.

Exit 197

952 W. Reynolds (Just off Interstate 55)

Ponitac, Illinois



Bonus Halloween Photos from Exit 197

We were at the bar early yesterday, so I didn’t get any shots of the huge dance floor where bands play and DJ’s spin tunes, but Amy and April sent in some shots from their Halloween party, check it out!


Saturday, January 8th, 2011—Bar 363

Friday, January 7th, 2010—Bar 363

The Tartan Inn 

First off, the old donation bell has rung twice today while I’m here in the home stretch! My friend, Torquil Scott-Dewar has sent in a generous donation of 30 dollars and included this message: “For beer and a couple of shots of Jager!” This isn’t the first donation that Torquil has sent in and I appreciate your generosity, my friend. However, I don’t think I’ll be doing any Jager shots, the last time I did those I ended up in jail. It’s a long story and one I’ll tell at a later date, but suffice to say, it wiped out the taste of Jager for good for me! Thanks, Torquil!

Steven Altemus sent in a generous donation of 50 dollars and his message simply stated: “For the finale. Thank you so much, Steven! This bar crawl has not been cheap and every cent that was sent in was used in buying drinks for myself and people I’d meet. If for some reason you sent money in and I didn’t thank you, it’s because I get tons of spam email and maybe missed your notification from PayPal. Thanks to you all, I don’t think I could’ve afforded to keep going on my own limited fundage.

Okay, today I’m hitting the Tartan Inn. I’m here in Peoria and while there are lots of places to go to, my friend and Journal Star writer, Phil Luciano recommended this place, so you know it’s going to be a good stop (and if you missed Phil’s column yesterday which was about Peoria, New York and Yours Fooly, check it out here: “It’s A Wonderful Life.”) Plus it’s rumored that my old friend Joe Waugh may be stopping by, so let’s go check it out.

Here we are at the Tartan Inn. My mom grew up about a block from here.

It's just a little after noon, so there's plenty of seats at the bar, hey that guy looks kind of familiar.

And it's none other than Phil Luciano, bottle of Bud in hand (would you expect any less?) As noted yesterday, Phil is one half of the Markley/Luciano radio show, get the details of the show here: Markley/Luciano show.

But thoughts of Phil vanished as the pretty and friendly Val approached me with the first beer of the day.

Jimmy C. was seated next to me and he's a regular at the bar. He lives in the neighborhood and is a good guy.

And here's Gary, seated at the end of the bar. I didn't have to ask if he's a regular here, he's just got the look of one. Hey, after 362 bars you get to have a sixth sense about this stuff.

And here's Val and Gary, chatting at the end of the bar as I wander around and bug people with the 365 camera.

They have a state of the art dartboard in here.

Ladies and gentlemen, we're proud to introduce the musical stylings of Karen Carpenter! Okay, that was a little tasteless, but would you expect anything less from me?

Val pumps up the volume...

As Phil puts some tunes on the jukebox. The party is kicking into high gear now.

There's tables and stools up front, but I'm staying away from them right now, a little too bright for my tastes!

Check out the specials on the board, there's free hot pussy tomorrow. Damn, I'm going to miss that...and I love Chinese food.

Here's Mike at the bar who just got here to enjoy the afternoon's festivities.

It's starting to fill up in here.

Here's a trio of hooligans up to no good on a Friday afternoon. From left: Phil, Yours Fooly and Nate. Nate works third shift and lives in the neighborhood, as do a majority of the fine patrons in here.

And here's Justin! Justin's a fan of the 365 blog, so he immediately knew what pose to strike, excellent work, Justin!

And here he is, my old friend Joe Waugh! Joe and I have had many adventures in the past and I'd love to write about them, but I don't know if the statute of limitations is up on any of them. Thanks for coming by, Joe, I'm sure I'll see you and maybe some other Waughs before this is over.

Here's the legendary Peck with Phil at the bar. Peck's done a lot in his day and it turns out he was friends of my uncle Bill Wombacher. The two of them hung out at the Puff back in the day. Oh if only the Puff was still open, it would've made the bar crawl for sure. To Peck and my uncle Bill!

Here's a shot black and white shot of Peck behind the bar that Phil discovered somewhere. Let's just say that Peck is "mugging" it up for the camera.

And here's the lovely Val serving it up. As you can see, Justin is a little more than hungry. I wonder what that fellow has been smoking?

I was getting ready to go when Donna wandered in and posed with me for the 365 camera.

And here she is with Phil unleashing her inner Gene Simmons.

Okay, final shots are poured...

And drank! Thanks to everybody for stopping by and to the Tartan Inn and to Val for the hospitality, definitely a highlight on the old bar crawl! Cheers and good afternoon, everybody!


The Tartan Inn is a nice neighborhood joint in West Peoria. It’s not fancy, but it’s clean and a nice, friendly place to have a beer or seven in. The patrons are an eclectic mix of mainly neighborhood locals, but strangers and newbies are treated friendly if you walk in with a smile on your face and maybe a few bucks to buy a few shots for some of the new friends you’ll make in here. If you’re lucky, Val is bartending and you’ll be treated to one of the prettiest and friendliest bartenders in the Peoria area. If you see Luciano, buy him a beer, tell him a story and the odds are you’ll get two beers back and three stories to boot. And his stories are always killers.

There’s a full bar with a good selection of bottled beers and a couple of draft selections to be had. There’s nightly drink specials and pizza and chips are available to soak up the suds. Sometimes hamburgers are passed out in here and other times the patrons are (hardy, har har!) And the sign on the wall guarantees that there’s free hot pussy...tomorrow. The story of my life!

 The Tartan Inn

428 N. Waverly

Peoria, Illinois


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