More on the Favorite Bars Post

One of the things that long-term expatriates are subjected too occasionally is a sort of longing for “home” – in my case Chicago. Just after I posted yesterday’s blog about my favorite bars, I came across this fascinating site about bars in Chicago. The creator of the site, Sean Parnell, has done a prodigious job of collecting a huge list of Chicago bars and reviewing them, along with some fascinating photos. So as I was a reminiscing last night while sitting on the balcony here in Bali watching the lights go on around town, I read a few of his reviews about bars on my favorites list. billy goat tavern at nightI found out that Billy Goats is still alive and well (Sean, I’m using one of your photos here, I hope that you don’t mind) but the crowd in recent photos looks rather younger and less working-class than Billy Goat’s was in my days there, Sterch’s carries on, Barleycorn is there, but also transformed as much of the neighborhood where I lived for years in Chicago seems to be, Weiss’ bar is now called Halligan, but Sean had a nice little description of the way it was when I hung out there with a strange crew of writers, poets, and radical organizers, and the Four Farthings where one of my close friends at the time made his second home is still alive and well but also transformed. While you can’t go home again, you can catch glimpses of how it has changed thanks to guys like Sean.

Just a bit on the Billy Goat. There’s a quote on Sean’s website from Mike Royko who could often be found at the Goat late into the evening (or early into the morning). I was working the night shift in those days at the Chicago Tribune, and my buddies and I would stop over for a hamburger or a fried egg sandwich on our lunch break. My Dad used to hang out at the Goats as well (among other haunts of his) and he took the opportunity one night when he as having a few before going home and I was having lunch to introduce me to Royko. He was drinking a whiskey as I remember and looked up when my Dad said, “Mike I wanna introduce you to my son.” Royko took a look up and down and said, “Kid you got tape on your shoes. Nice to meet ya.”

I did have tape on my work shoes as they were falling apart, and I was too poor to buy a new pair so I’d wrap tape around them every night when I went in to work to keep the soles from flapping around. My Dad looked at the shoes and gave me a smack in the back of the head, and said, “Get some new shoes for Chrissakes.” I loved that tavern.

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~ by drbrucepk on January 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “More on the Favorite Bars Post”

  1. Hello, I think your blog is very interesting. I read you have retired. I am curious if you mean that means all done and you will live off your investments. May I ask how old you are.
    Dave

  2. Thanks Dave. I’m getting ready to retire in another six months, and I’m hoping to live off my savings and some investments although the stock market is making me nervous. I’m 58.

  3. Hello Bruce,
    I just realized you left a response to my comment above. No one ever called me quick. I have continued to read your blog, very interesting. I see you are either in Sumbawa or heading there. I guess retirement is a change-able state.
    Dave

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