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Entries in Peoria (5)


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.

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


Saturday, December 25th, 2010—Bar 349

Friday, December 24th, 2010—Bar 349


I just want to repeat the fact that I only have a window of about a half an hour on the internet here at my brother's in Peoria every day, so that's why I'm not commenting back much and leaving comments at other people's blogs. And if you've emailed me, that's why I'm slow getting back to you. I never realized what a slave I was to the internet till it was gone.

Okay, as I said a couple days ago, I usually write this introduction right before I go to a bar, but since I’m going so early in the day while I’m here in Peoria, I’m writing the introduction right before I post this. That means that today is Christmas and we all know who’s birthday this is. The one and only Jesus Clacky! That’s right, it’s Clacky’s birthday, today (here in the states, it was yesterday in Australia, but who’s counting?) so I propose we rename this holiday, Clackmas. So happy birthday Clacky and Merry Clackmas to all!

I know I usually rail and rant about chain restaurants and bars, but like all rules, this has one exception. I’ve been meeting friends at the Chili’s in Peoria on Christmas Eve for 17 years now and it’s one of the friendliest places anywhere. Even though it’s a chain, it feels like a local place and the bartenders and waitstaff are really nice and welcoming to all. And so, it’s off to Chili’s we go!

Okay, my parents are driving me to Chili's because I don't have a car or driver's license. It started snowing today...

Welcome back to Peoria!

And here I am, ready to start my 17th Clackmas Eve at the Chili's in Peoria.

It's early and it's snowing like crazy outside so there's plenty of seats at the bar.

And the lovely and friendly bartender Chrissy serves up a pre-afternoon beer.

It's 11:36...do you know where your bar crawler is?

Why he's right here! Cheers, everybody and happy Clackmas! Ho, ho, ho...green giant.

A long shot of the wooden bar.

The daily papers at the bar.

My perspective from the bar.

Tera and Kevin posed for the 365 camera behind the bar.

And here's more of the friendly staff, I didn't get their name's though, because it's starting to fill up in here and they had to get to work.

A shot from the other end of the bar.

Hmm...now why do I feel like it's three in the morning, outside the horrid 13th Step in the East Village?

Okay, my friends are going to be showing up soon, so I settle up my tab with Tera at the bar.

And just as I secure a table...

And as if on queue, who shows up bearing Clackmas gifts, but Toni who brought along some of her fantastic original artwork. She has original paintings and photo cards and more available to purchase. If you’re interested in purchasing artwork from Toni, you can email her here: Toni’s email. Oh and Bob Dylan, if you’re reading this, Toni’s available to paint your next album cover.

And here's Bebe posing with a piece of Toni's artwork.
And then there were three. From left: Bebe, Yours Fooly and Toni. Two pretty and wise women and one bumbling bar crawler.
Paul stopped by the table and told me he was a fan of the 365 blog. He bartends at the Fish House here in Peoria and you can check out Paul's website here: Big 10 Rant.

And then Aaron shows up and it's time to let the party begin! But first...

A Clackmas miracle...condiments! Happy birthday, Clacky! Happy Clackmas to all and to all a goodnight!



Chili’s has been on this corner of University and Glen for over 24 years now. I usually shop local and avoid the chains, but this one is highly recommended. And if you’ll pardon me, it’s Clackmas and I have drinking celebrating to start. Happy Clackmas one and all!


4825 N. University St.

Peoria, Illinois



Bonus  Clackmas Photos From The Wombacher Household!

My dad and my...

Mom, dozing after dinner. They don't have a computer and have no idea these photos are floating through the internet. Please don't tell them about this, I don't want to get grounded and/or sent to my room.

This is my favorite lamp in my parents house. Doesn’t he look a little like Radar O’Reilly from M*A*S*H? My parents got this lamp back in the ‘70’s. I remember doing acid once when they were out of town and I was home alone. I ended up staring at him for like, four hours. I watched him melt like a stick of butter underneath a red hot broiler and then he’d solidify and then melt again and this process happened over and over and over. After hours of this activity my mind wandered from thoughts of eternal darkness to rivers of raging creamed corn to rolling thunder that sounded like grass growing in a field of ringing glass bells. Then I felt like I was coming unglued and that mental psychosis was just moments away, so I chugged a half of a fifth of vodka and passed right the fuck out on the floor beneath the lamp. When I woke up I had Cheez Whiz and crackers and the world looked just a little different to me. That was a pretty good night.


Bonus Clackmas Card from Jaws!

Jaws sent in this Clackmas card for all of us to share, thanks, Jaws!



Bonus Obligatory Bathroom Shot From Lex!

Canadian correspondent Lex, sent in this obligatory bathroom shot, from the one room cabin where her and her family are spending Clackmas. I’ve never wished constipation on anyone, but I think in this case it’s most opportune!