Back on June 28th, 2013, I had what I thought was going to be my last few beers at Champs West, a bar I had just discovered a few weeks earlier on Western Avenue. The place was sold and I figured something horrible like a Starfucks would move in to the space. But I was wrong and never have I ever been so glad to have made a mistake. The bar reopened last week and it’s still called, Champs West and the new owner is none other than, Chris Herold, who we met at the last night of the legendary Pizza inn! I can’t wait to see the new Champs West and I’m hoping Chris will be there!
I decided it would be only proper to bring a gift to the newly re-opened Champs West, so I took a pre-pub visit to Moxie's ReSale Boutique to pick something up.
There's Moxie's owner, Mollee behind the new front desk in the store. Moxie's is loaded with vintage clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories, but there's also lots of cool vintage gift items in here. I asked Mollee for a suggestion to take to Champs and she led me to the back of the shop to show me...
Vintage snack sets! Very cool!
Here's Mollee showing a snack set in best Home Shopping Network fashion. It looks perfect!
After I bought the snack set, Mollee said she had something she had been saving for me, a fistful of swizzle sticks! I kind of gave up looking for these things because I had hit a dry spell way back when I first started this blog, so it's cool to get some more to add to my collection. But these aren't just any swizzle sticks...
These are swizzle sticks from Peoria! Most of them are from Shady Oaks Supper Club, but one in the middle is from Vonachen's Junction! Mollee said she picked these up at an estate sale. Very cool, Thanks Mollee! Now it's off to Champs West!
And here we are at the new Champs West! It looks the same from the outside, which is a relief, I was afraid that it might look different and spoil the old memories of Champs West. And just for the record, I took a cab here, I plan on having way more than two beers to celebrate the rebirth of Champs West!
I never thought I'd be walking through these doors after it shut down a little over a year ago, but here we go...
It's been redecorated in here, but at first glance they've kept the same dark ambiance from the original place and it's got a familiar feel in here. Speaking of familiar, I see two familiar faces over there at the end of the bar...
It's MBIP pals, Michelle and Todd! We first met here a little over a year ago when I stumbled in to do a post from here. Always great to see both of them!
Todd took this photo of Michelle and I to send regards to Michelle's sister, PJ. Hi PJ! And note that I'm rocking my Moxie's P-Town White Trash t-shirt. Mollee still has a few of these in stock, but once those are sold it might be the end of the line for these. Get one while you can!
Here I am with the man of the hour, Chris Herold, the new owner of Champs West. Chris told me that in about six weeks there's going to be a full kitchen here serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Speaking of food, I thought this was the perfect time to bring out his gift...
Chris loved the snack set and opened it and took it out for a test drive at the bar...
Check it out, it works! Thanks to Mollee for a great suggestion for a gift for Champs West!
Here's the manager of Champs, Kyle, who also does double-duty serving as Michelle's "Boy Bestie."
The bar has been updated, but Chris has successfully remodeled the place while retaining the feel of a classic dark bar. I love it in here.
Billy showed me Champ's facecrack page, last night they were up to 145 likes, but today they've jumped up to over 260 likes. Click here and go over and like them, it'll only take you a second and we'll wait.
I really like the corrugated metal walls in here.
I love this framed Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston print. And below it is...
A perfect Champs quote from Muhammad Ali.
Chris has kept the vintage circular bar that was in here back before it closed. Nice to see a touch of the old in here with the new.
And behind the bar is the piano that's also here from the original bar. Chris said he plans on having special piano nights in here, which sounds like lots of fun.
I love what Chris has done with this room opposite the bar. Before it wasn't really being used and now it's a full-fledged dining room, just waiting for that kitchen to open!
Sturdy and comfortable booths line the wall back here, with classic sporting pictures hanging on the walls.
Here's Jolting Joe at bat in 1941. One nation turns a lonely eye to you. Koo-koo-ka-choo.
Meanwhile, back at the bar...
I ran into John, who we last saw at the 4th of July celebration at Mike's Tavern. Great to see him again!
There's Good Brad at the bar. Bad Brad was rumored to be over at the Tartan Inn watching Gavra sing. Next time Gavra plays there, we're going, stay tuned for that!
Here's another memento from The Pizza Inn, Spuds MacKenzie! Chris said that this Spuds is from the '70's. Cheers to a vintage Spuds MacKenzie!
Here's a familiar face at the bar, Sean Kenny, owner of Kenny's Westside Pub. Sean dropped by to congratulate Chris on opening the new version of Champs West. Sean had some exciting news to tell us, he and Clay, who we last saw grilling in the parking lot of Cam's Place bar on Farmington Road are opening a new venue in that space! It's a country music themed bar called, The Country Club and it's opening a week from today and there's going to be a full barbecue menu from their kitchen which will be open about a week later. Stay tuned from more details on The Country Club!
Today’s post was brought to you by Mike's Tavern. Check them and all the other fine businesses helping to support this blog over at the MBIP Bucket List Page. Your Daily Random Linkage awaits you at the bottom of the that page as well!