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Friday, January 7th, 2011—Bar 362

Thursday, January 6th, 2010—Bar 362

Jerry’s Bar

First off, I’d like to thank Phil Luciano for writing about me in his column today in the Journal Star, check it out here: "It's A Wonderful Life." Phil joined the bar crawl the last time I was in Peoria and if you missed that post, here’s a link to it: Phil and Marty at The Trolley. In addition to writing for the Journal Star and teaching at Bradley, Phil also has a great morning radio show with Jamie Markley on 102.3 Max FM. Check it out here: Markley and Luciano. See you at lunch today, Phil!

Alright, time to reveal where I’m traveling to (pretty much everyone knows anyway)...Peoria, Illinois. Yeah, just like Bob Dylan, I’m bringing it all back home.  One trouble with today’s bar is I’ve done the early morning bars in LaGuardia Airport and I only have so much time in O’Hara Airport in Chicago to make my connection to Peoria. So where can I go for my nightly bar? Well, the answer is simple: Jerry’s Bar in my parents basement. This is a bar that’s been transplanted from the house I grew up in, to the place where my parents live today. I’ve had a lot of kooky times at this bar through the years, I’ve probably drank over thousands of beers here, I’ve passed out on top of it and tonight, I share a drink a few beers with my parents at it. And you’re welcome to join the party! But first we have to get to Peoria, so let’s go see if the car service guy is downstairs.

Okay, he was right on time and we're off to LaGuardia Airport. Usually these cars smell like a combination of bad curry and diarrhea have a distinct odor to them, but today's is fine. But the driver is rattling on about his girlfriend and I can only understand like every fourth word. This is going to be a long ride.

And through the magic of the internet, here we are! Check out the sign in the back, thanks for the Jefferson Airplane moment, LaGuardia Airport!

Been there, done that, but I need a couple pre-flight drinks, so we'll do it again.

Caroline's the pretty and friendly bartender on duty. (I think it's Caroline, I lost the napkin I wrote your name on, if I'm wrong feel free to correct me in the comments section below.)

Cheers and prepare for take-off...

And landing! Welcome to Peoria...deja vu...didn't we do this like a week ago? Lisa Fink should make a donation for all this free advertising I'm giving her!

And here we are, Jerry's Bar! Let's get inside, it's downright freezing here in the midwest.

It's located at the foot of this tartan-colored stairwell.

And here it is, just how I remember it. There's a couple people at the bar, but I see a seat at the end, let's go snag it.

And here's the friendly bartender Jerry, serving up the first of many ice-cold Budweisers.

Cheers, from Jerry's Bar. I better behave down here or I'll get sent to my room for the evening.

Free snacks! Pistachio peanuts! Actually there's a whole pantry of food upstairs, I always gain about five pounds when I come here.

The bar is illuminated by this unique lamp at the end.

The official Jerry's Bar coasters.

As you can see, it's not quite a "full bar..."

But there's plenty of beer in the refrigerator off to the side of the bar. I think that'll hold me for the night.

And here I am with the other pretty and beautiful patron at Jerry's Bar, my mom!

The base of the bar is made from wooden casks, sadly they're empty.

Comfortable stools line the front of the bar.

There's a pool table off to the side of the bar. This doesn't get much action these days, but back in the days when my parents would go on vacation and my brother Jim and I would have a week-long party in the house, the pool table and bar saw lots of action. I'm sure it's bringing back fuzzy memories to a lot of readers out there. I bet there's even a fellow clutching an axe while reading this and remembering the good times of our youth.

A long shot of one end of the bar.

And a shot from the other end of the Formica-topped bar.

Here's bartender Jerry posing with some fellows that are hanging around.

And here I am with four good Buddies at the bar. Goodnight, everybody!



There’s no place like home. (Click heels three times.)

P.S. Once again while in Peoria, I won't have much access to the internet, so I won't be able to comment much here or on other people's blogs. Thanks for following me to the home stretch!

Jerry’s Bar

Peoria, Illinois


Thursday, January 6th, 2011—Bar 361

Day 361—Wednesday, January 5th, 2010

First off, another last minute donation, from friend, commentator, blogger and DJ extraordinaire, Gidget! Gidget sent in a generous donation with this message: “ok 20 bucks for you back home in peoria. and an extra five for good measure.” Thanks Gidget, that’s very generous. For those of you that don’t know Gidget started the 365 Facecrack fan page and maintains it with our resident artist, “Boris.” And she has a great radio show on Woody Radio, check it out here: Woody Radio.

I got a nice write up today on a friend of mine's blog. Check it out here: Groovyrick's Blog. Thanks, Rick, I'll see you soon on the bar crawl!

Okay, I’m not working tonight because tomorrow I’m traveling. Yes, that’s right, I’m traveling, as in flying out of New York City. What’s going on here? Well that’s for me to know and you to find out. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! Anyway, I need to find a place nearby because I still need to pack and get to bed early because my car service to the airport is coming at the ungodly hour of 7am. Yikes! Luckily I remembered a place I’ve been meaning to go to for a while, Slate on 21st Street which is just five short blocks away. We’ll be there before you know it. Watch.

See, here we are, let's go check it out.

Wow, a long and winding bar. And since it's four in the afternoon, there's tons of seats. You should see this place on the weekends, it's three deep at the bar then.

Here's Jamie, the friendly and pretty bartender serving up the first beer.

I'm keeping it down to my minimum of three beers tonight, because I still have to go home and pack. I need to keep my wits about me, my last trip I forgot my cell phone and camera charger. But I guess that's better than the time I left my suitcase at the Hilton Bar across from the O'Hare Airport and showed up at my parents house empty-handed at Christmas. Whoops! I think I'm the only person in the world who's mom says to him before he travels, "Now don't leave your suitcase at a bar on the way home again."

Peace, love, beers and cheers!

As you can see, it's a full bar in here, I don't think they're going to run out of booze anytime soon.

The bar from my point of view.

Louie was seated next to me at the bar. He's the manager/operator of Slate. He was very supportive of the 365 idea and was happy I chose Slate as my last New York bar. Last New York bar? Did I say that, well, never mind.

Here's a shot of the bar from the other end.

I found this lively crew up front by the door. From left: Abby, Carla, Nerissa and Colin. Nerissa is part of a blog called, Magenta Speakers that's part fashion, part music, part fun and part sex. Well I gotta check that out and so should you, here's a link to the blog: Magenta Speakers.

Here's the lit-up stairwell that leads to the pool tables and games on the second floor. "And she's buying a stairway to...billiards?"

There's lots of tournament style pool tables down here.


Ping pong!

And if you don't feel like playing games, you can always play the piano! I'm having a Bill's flashback.

Meanwhile back at the bar, Jamie's taking care of business.

Okay, my third beer is done, I have to go home and pack. God I hope I don't leave my luggage in a bar tomorrow. Goodnight, everybody!


Alright, as I said up in the introduction I’m traveling today. And no I’m not saying where, but I don’t have time to write a review because the car service will be here any minute. Here’s a review from New York magazine (it's a critics pick).

Like playing games with your date? Well, whether you're looking to work through dominance issues or you just want to meet up with friends to shoot some pool, this is the best billiard joint in Chelsea. Though it's not the cheapest place to rack 'em up, this well-lit bi-level pool hall maintains its tables beautifully. And unlike with many of its competitors, there's more than enough room between the tables: You'll actually spend more time between shots conversing with your own group than enduring the inevitable drama at nearby tables. There's also food available in the attractive upstairs dining room.


Okay, I’m off! Stay tuned to see where my travels are taking me. Cheers!

54 W. 21st St. (Near Sixth Ave.)


Bonus art from The Chief!
The Chief who runs the fine Peoria Bar Review, sent in a piece of art he created at our Christmas stop, The Last Chance. The drawing is of someone I took a photo of. See if you can match it up! Thanks for the artwork, Chief!


Wednesday, January 5th, 2010—Bar 360

Day 360—Tuesday, January 4th, 2010
The Abbey Pub

More cash donations alert! Two men who have had the luckless task of being my manager at my night job are Frank Scott and Decker Decker. They’ve both been very supportive of this bar crawl and I appreciate it. And what I appreciate even more is that both of them generously threw twenty bucks apiece into the bar crawl till yesterday, check it out below (that’s Frank on the left and Decker on the right):
Thanks, guys! Sheldon Levine would be proud of both of you.

One of the things that was difficult on this bar crawl was to find different types of bars every night that would be entertaining not only to go to, but for people reading the blog to look at. I always tell people that doing this was kind of like doing an improv play, because you never know what’s going to happen. If nothing interesting happens with people, you need the bar to fall back on to get some good pictures of and tell about the history of the place. Sure, there’s thousands of bars in New York, but so many of them are what I like to call “cookie cutter bars” that have no personality whatsoever. So I always appreciated people suggesting bars and no one has suggested better bars than the man I refer to as my co-pilot, Al Rizo all the way down in Miami. Since the remaining nights are now in single digits, I emailed Al and asked if he had a last minute request and he asked if I would go to The Abbey Pub on the Upper West Side. You asked for it and you’re going to get it Al! Next stop, Abbey Pub. Well, actually the next stop is Penn Station, this place is way uptown, so we’re subway bound. All aboard!

Attention Penn Station: The holidays are officially over, time to take that fucking shit off the walls. Thank you.

Here's the train and once again to quote Fat Al, lean back, motherfuckers!

Look at everybody hypnotized by their texting devices. Hi, assholes!

It's freezing out and the streets are empty up here.

Here we are, the Abbey Pub, let's go in and have a drink or three.

There's lots of people in here for a Tuesday night, but I see a spot at the end of the bar, let's grab it.

And no sooner do I sit down, than the lovely and friendly Francis serves up an ice-cold Corona.

Bottles behind the bar surround the vintage cash register.

Natalie and Dan were seated next to me and wished me well on the last stretch of the 365 journey.

A quick glance above reveals what all classic bars have, a tin ceiling.

Francis and I toast to the 360th night in a row. Cheers!

Free popcorn!

A line of stools are lined up to sit at when the bar is full.

There's seating rooms to the side and back of the bar.

The wooden booths look a little like church pews. "Our Father who art in Pabst..."

There's also tables and chairs to relax at and hoist a hearty brew.

Which is exactly what Kayla and Kevin were doing back here.

Here's someone working the room, let's go say hi.

It's Heather who's a pretty waitress at the bar. This Sunday Heather's taking part in the No Pants Subway Ride of 2011. Check out the details here: NPSR of 2011.

Meanwhile life goes on back at the bar.

I was going to take an obligatory bathroom mirror shot here, but there's no obligatory mirror in the bathroom. Uhh...well...umm...goodnight, everybody!

The Abbey Pub has stood tall on the block for over 50 years. It’s a low-lit bar with brick walls, a long wooden bar and tables and large wooden booths off to the side. The bartenders are friendly and the crowd is a mix of neighborhood locals and Columbia students. The regulars tend to hang at the bar leaving the booths and tables to the rowdier Columbia kids.

There’s a full bar with a nice selection of inexpensive beers and drinks available. The food is your basic bar choices including burgers, chili and fish and chips. The kitchen is open till 11:30pm during the week and till 1:30am on the weekends. Happy Hour runs Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 7pm and on Sundays from noon to 7pm with one dollar off beer, wine and well drinks. There’s also nightly drink specials available at the bar.

The Abbey Pub
237 W. 105th St. (Near Broadway)

Cheers to Al Rizo for picking another winner! (Al co-pilot artwork by “Boris.”)


Bonus Photos From Clacky’s Bunt Custer’s Bar: Part II—The Search For More Booze And Bird Flippage!
Yesterday we featured photos from the opening night of our Aussie friend and 365 commentator, Tim “Clacky” Clack’s Bunt Custer’s bar. And now here’s part II, with captions provided by Clacky. Oh, Clacky...

Umm...this raunchy removal of clothing was stubbornly denied in the following days.

Who's the stud? Why it's Bunt Custer himself!

Here's Chris and Mick Hogarth. Chris is a great chef and Mick is Chris' dad. He and wife Julie we're visiting from Tasmania.

As you can see Bunt's is friendly to Dogs and feet.

Some fine fare cooking up behind the bar.

And the wonderful aromas attract some unwanted attention. This is my dog. her name is Baps and that's Chris's dog Dio named after the late great Black Sabbath singer.

For those about to drink....We Salute You!

Closing time at Old Bunt's.

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