:+: Bloomington-Normal Illinois Bars :+:
A listing of bars, pubs, taverns, saloons, barrooms, cocktail lounges, and other places to drink at in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.
If you would like your place reviewed, please contact me. Giving me free drinks until I get wasted will not guarantee you a good review, but you stand a better chance of getting free advertising. ;-)
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:+: Drinking in Bloomington-Normal Illinois :+:
Bloomington-Normal IL (Illinois) has a lot of bars. These vary from small places not much bigger than a large living room to places which have not only a sit-down bar and tables, but a seperate pool room, pinball machines, a jukebox, beer garden and a stage for live bands. Some of them have more than one bar to sit down at and get drinks from, which saves a lot of time waiting behind a bunch of thirsty people.
The main groupings or clusters of bars in Bloomington-Normal IL are the downtown Bloomington Illinois bars and the downtown Normal Illinois bars.
After The Gallery, Rocky's and Shannigan's were torn down in 2003 and 2004 to make room for the Children's Discovery Museum in downtown Normal Illinois, there are now a lot fewer bars there, so most people drink in downtown Bloomington IL. Besides, most of the bars close in Normal IL an hour before the Bloomington bars do. But, the bars remaining there aren't too bad, or at least the ones I've tried seem that way. More on this in the reviews.
:+: Bar-hopping the safe way :+:
To avoid hurting other people or yourself by getting drunk and trying to drive home and either killing your passengers or others on the road and any pedestrians (as well as your friendly neighborhood inebriated lycanthrope bicyclist), you can take a taxi cab or use the city bus to get to the bar, then take a taxi cab home. Just remember to try leaving an hour or two before the bars have last call, or you may end up outside the bar waiting for the cab. If the weather's really cold, that's not where you want to be if you didn't dress warmly and you've been drinking heavily. When the cabs get a lot of calls all at the same time from people who wait until the last minute to get home from the bars, they can't keep up with that demand, so your cab, if you stick around and wait for it, may take over an hour, or even longer, to get to you.
The B-NPTS (Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System) also has limited service late at night while the college ISU (Illinois State University) has students there. Note that this doesn't include times like New Year's Eve. The "Green A" bus runs from downtown Normal at Watterson Towers and downtown Bloomington at Front street until 12:55 a.m. Monday through Friday, and until 2:25 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. But, just to be sure, you should ask them for yourself when the last buses are.
Also be aware that some cops like to stop people who are walking around to ask them for identification (as do some bars), so you might want to be prepared for that. Keeping your identification in your T-shirt pocket or front pants pocket might be a good idea. Wonder if Ronnie Shriver remembers the night he saw me when I was out bar-hopping on foot in downtown Bloomington Illinois and waited until he had a handful of other cops with him before he asked me for my identification? LOL
:+: Reviews of Bloomington-Normal Illinois Bars :+:
:+: Bloomington-Normal Illinois Bars RIP :+:
This is a list of bars that are no longer with us. They've passed on, changed to something else, or the buildings themselves have been completely torn down.
20 Grand Tap: When it was open, this bar was in downtown Bloomington Illinois on Front street, on the other side of the street from the law and justice center and the parking garage. It was a small bar which had been there for a while, but, after the 1991 beating death of William Whalen, it was closed down. The 20 Grand Tap had a local bar feel to it, and, like many similar bars, had a sign saying Free Beer Tomorrow. Hee hee hee The pool table was kind of small, and when I played on it, my favorite pool cue was the blue metal pool cue. Most wooden pool cues in a bar are bent, or at least the are in the bars that I can afford to drink at.
The Gallery: This used to be located in downtown Normal Illinois. I had a lot of fun at this place. :-) The downstairs section had a pool table and booths in back, and an Addams Family pinball machine. The Gallery's downstairs restroom was one of the smallest and the worst looking ones I had ever seen, but I for one was glad it was there. LOL The bands that used to play there were usually very loud and played mostly hard rock and punk songs. Most of them played upstairs, where there was another bar, lots of tables, and more restrooms.
The Metropol (Metropole?): The Metropol used to be in downtown Bloomington Illinois on the 400 block of North Main street, and I believe it was owned by somebody named Carl Miller. Some people have told me that The Metropol was supposed to have the longest bar in central Illinois. It's exterior was mostly glass and brick. Upstairs, was supposed to be a dance hall, but I never saw it, so maybe it was a running gag. Inside, there was the usual jukebox, but this one had songs from the 1960's on up, including about 1/3 of them for more recent music. The draft beers sold for a quarter (a quarter of a US dollar or 25 cents) each, when I first started going there, and were served in 12 ounce glasses. There were six or more pool tables in this bar, that only took a quarter to play a game on, and they took up most of the room. The people who went to this bar were more wilder than most of Bloomington-Normal Illinois would be able to get along with. Which is probably why I liked going there. Well, that, and the beer was cheap. LOL The floor was linoleum and was a kind of yellow-white in color. In a display case near the door, you could buy packs of cigarettes and other things. Behind that, up on the big shelf that was about 16 feet off of the floor, was a fake safe that Jack Daniels was supposed to have kicked with his foot. Oh, and the ceiling was about 20 feet high. Hanging from the ceiling towards the far end of the bar where Carl Miller sometimes sat was a big thing of dried tobacco plant. A little cardboard sign said things like "Hungry? Eat your Toyota." Some of the people that used to go there were interesting. Some told us short stories of Santa Claus in a war zone, and others like Neal ("Neal for real") who later drove a cab, would stand on his head on a chair, and drink a bottle of beer.
Rocky's: Rocky's was located in downtown Normal Illinois. It had a nice big beer garden that overlooked the street. I sometimes liked getting a draft beer or a pitcher of beer and standing on the benches around its inner edge and watching people go by while I drank and listened to the Rock music from the outside speakers. Inside, there was a walkway at ground level that went over the game room. In the game room, there were two pool tables, and I think, a dart board. There were also shelves that were only about four or five inches deep that you could put your drinks on that went almost all the way around the wall away from the stairway. Upstairs, there was a walkway that went around 1/4 of the way and had things like pinball machines and (if I remember right) a video game called G-Lock, an air combat game that I sometimes played. In the middle of the bar was one of the biggest bars that I have ever seen that you could walk around. Beyond that was a dance floor, and past it was the DJ booth which overlooked the dance floor. On the left and right sides of the dance floor there were tables where people could sit at and eat and drink. Rocky's bar had plastic cups you could buy for $1.25 that they'd refill for 50 cents to a dollar or so towards the end. On the cups was written "Rocky's Beer Burgers & Spirits" and they were white and held 22 ounces of beer.
Shannigan's: Shannigan's was originally located in downtown Bloomington Illinois on the corner of Front street and East street. Shannigan's had two big rooms. The one with the bar in it had a long bar which went from South to North as you entered the door. At the bar you could get a duck hunting video game remote control clicker which you could click the button on to shoot the ducks going over with a shotgun. Not much I liked about Shannigan's when it was in downtown Bloomington, but when it moved to downtown Normal Illinois, it improved. :-) Shannigan's in downtown Normal Illinois was a white building with green trim. It had a long bar inside of it, a jukebox that had CDs like Danzig's on it, a little area of about ten tables people could sit at near the entrance. Shannigan's in Normal IL also had a kitchen, and free popcorn (which I didn't like the taste of). Unfortunately, they didn't have Miller Lite or Icehouse on draft, so I didn't drink there too often. In the back, there was a pool table, and the restrooms. The little pool room in back was usually pretty cold in Winter. Halfway back to the pool room was the entrance to the little beer garden between buildings at the back, with access to the alley. There was a nice big tree there, which was surrounded by wooden slats you could walk on or sit on. And, another small bar as well as a jukebox. One of the cooler decorations I remember from Shannigan's was the picture of a dark castle with windows that looked like it had little lights in it. Never saw it turned on, though, and for all I know, it was destroyed along with the building.
:+: Other pages on this site :+:
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CyberWoLfman's Pix #4. Back to the real world. Includes Halloween pictures, party pictures, more pictures of Bloomington-Normal Illinois including events, people, theaters, et cetera.