I found a review on Justin Glawe’s retired bar blog, Peoria Bar Review about a place called, Champs West. This is the line that intrigued me: “The bar has the number one requirement of a no-frills, solid boozer. It's dark as fuck.”
I know Al’s sold and so am I, it’s off to Champ’s West we go for a double dose of beer and darkness.
Alright, work is over and here we are on Western Avenue, I think Champs West is right up the road there.
Told ya so! Here we are at Champs West and there's neon in the windows, but it sure does look dark in there.
Okay, let's go through the doors into this island of darkness located in West Peoria.
Wow, it really is dark in here!
There's plenty of seats at the bar, let's go snag one.
As soon as I sit down, pretty and friendly Gavra serves me up an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser.
Here's the view from my perch at the bar. They have the bottles standing unlit behind there.
Michelle and Todd were seated down at the end of the bar and Michelle reads the blog on a daily basis which is cool! She just moved back to Peoria last September, from, I believe, Salt Lake City. I really need to write this stuff down. Anyway, she's a Rocket Scientist and is working on a Venusian Space Shuttle. It's a top secret project, so don't tell anyone. Todd has his own business which is called, Habitat Landscaping and Stone Works. We had a great conversation and it was cool to meet them!
Gavra is a woman of many talents, not only does she serve up a mean beer, she also makes hula hoops. Here she is giving a demonstration.
And here I am hula hooping it up! Gavra's a good teacher!
There's a half circular bar here in the back and there's a guitar on top of it and it turns out Gavra's also a musician.
After a little prodding, she agreed to give an impromptu performance at the end of the bar.
Hey...what's that over there?
Champs West is a friendly bar that has a whole crew of regulars that inhabit it nightly. Here's John Armstrong who shows up here every night promptly at 11:06 PM. John was the night time city editor for the Peoria Journal Star for 27 years and it turns out we have several friend in common, one of them being MBIP contributor Mike Foster. John said to say hi to Mike, so, hi Mike!
And here's yet another Champs West regular, Frank. It turns out that Frank went to grade school with Mike Foster at St. Bernards. Somebody please cue up, "It's A Small World After All!" Good luck getting that song out of your head today!
Beer number two is served, I tried to get Gavra to do the traditional two finger salute, but she didn't want to do it. Oh well, you can't win them all.