Okay, last week was my dad’s 83rd birthday, so I traveled back to celebrate it with my family and friends in Peoria. And whenever I return to Peoria I have to stop at my favorite bar in the world, Mike’s Tavern. For those of you who followed my 365 Bars blog, you’ll remember that Mike’s was the last stop on that year long tour. And so now, let’s take a trip to Mike’s and then we’ll have Happy Hour at the infamous Jerry’s Bar, hosted by the birthday boy himself, Jerry Wombacher.
And here we are at Mike's, always great to stop in here!
It's like taking a step back in time when you visit Mike's in West Peoria.
And here's the pretty and friendly bartender Jessica serving up an ice-cold can of Budweiser. Ah, it's nice to be back here!
Bags of Kitchen Cooked potato chips hang directly uner the tin ceiling.
I love that Busch Beer sign. Head for the mountains!
A shot of the well-worn bar at Mike's. If that bar could talk, it would probably slur its words.
You've gotta love the school desk's lined up behind the bar!
There's a tribute to Tony Ward, who owned Mike's for decades. R.I.P. Tony.
A picture of Tony hangs on the wall, surrounded by friends.
And here's the next generation running the bar. Tony's son-in-law, Roy and his wife Shannon, Tony's daughter, now run Mike's. Roy told me the bar is definitely staying open, which is great news!
Roy said they recently found some old pictures of Mike's in the backroom, and that my Grandpa Leo Seitz was in a couple of them. My grandpa was a regular at Mike's for as long as I can remember.
And there he is, sitting at one of the desks! Too cool!
I love the caption on this one! Cheers to my Grandpa Seitz!
Here's two guest stars, my friends Phil and Karen Luciano, who just got married this year! Great to see both of them on my trip home. Congratulations to both of them for getting married. And check out the vintage Scorpions t-shirt on Phil. It rocks you like a...well, you know.
Jessica in action, behind the bar.
One of my favorite things in Mike's is the Little Nut Hut.
Dave Schwindenhammer shows off the world's longest phone cord at the bar.
Okay, now that we've had a few afternoon brews, time for Happy Hour at Jerry's Bar. Hmm, "Drugs available under the bar," I'll have to check that out!
The stairway to Jerry's Bar. Somebody queue up the Foo Fighters already!
And there it is, a bar I remember from my wild youth. Hey, speaking of my wild youth, let's check out the drugs under the bar.
I think I see something over there...
Aleve, Bayer and Centrum Silver vitamins. Hmmm...I seem to remember different drugs available in the '70's and '80's at Jerry's Bar, but I won't get into that, I may have prospective employers looking at this thing!
Here's the hosts of Jerry's Bar, Anne and Gerry Wombacher! They're always quick with a drink and a smile.
The crowd is growing at Jerry's, from left, my brother Tom, my mom, Anne, my niece (Tom's daughter) Caylin and my dad, Jerry. It's my dad's birthday and we're having a few drinks before his birthday dinner. Tom works in sales at Lexus of Peoria, if you're looking for a great deal, stop or give him a call. Even if you don't live in Peoria, you can buy a car there, via the internet. (Marty's note to Tom: I'll just send you a bill for that ad, Tom.)
Official, Jerry's Bar coasters line the bar, along with one of my beers.
As you can see, the beers have caught up with me. Time for a little nap before dinner.
Here we are in downtown Peoria on a Sunday night. As you can see, it's a hotbed of activity down here!
My mom stands in front of our dinner destination, Jim's Steakhouse. This place is one of the best restaurants in Peoria.
Here's the whole crowd, that's my sister Terry and her husband Phil up front. My dad and Caylin and Tom are behind them and at the end of the table are my niece, Mary Beth, her boyfriend, Matt and my nephew, Greg. My mom and I aren't seen in the picture, perhaps because we were passed out under the table, but I'll never tell!
It's the birthday boy with a Turtle pie, he's 83-years-old!
And here's some of his gifts, just waiting to be unwrapped.
Caylin watches as Jerry starts digging in to the gifts.
And here's my gift, it's a little hard to read, but it's a bottle of, "Maybe You Touched Your Genitals," hand sanitizer. Tears came to my dad's eyes as he opened this up, either out of joy or because my sense of humor has never matured past a 13-year-old wiseass. It was great to see everyone on my trip and I had a great time. And happy birthday to the best dad in the whole wide world!