Last week I went to The Basket Case pub on top of the Main Street hill near Sheridan Road. I wrote that it’s the longest standing bar on Main Street and someone left a comment on facecrack saying that I should double-check that fact. Then I realized that near the bottom of the Main Street hill stands the Judge’s Chamber tavern. That place has been there for quite a while as well. So I thought I’d travel there tonight to give them some equal time and find out if they’re the oldest bar on Main Street. So let’s make like Bob Seger and head on down to Main Street to the Judge’s Chamber!
Here we go up Main Street to the Judge’s Chamber bar. I spoke with Lori, who owns the bar this afternoon and she wasn’t quite sure who’s been on Main Street longer either! She told me that Judge’s Chamber has been on Main Street since 1985 and she bought it in 1992. Lori also told me she’s been bartending in Peoria for 41 years now (she started at 21-years-old!)! So let’s tip our hats and raise a glass to Lori! If anyone can solve the mystery of who’s been on Main Street longer, The Basket Case or Judge’s Chamber, please let me know! Now let’s go in and start this Thursday night in Judge’s Chamber!
It’s always nice and dark in here, if my former co-pilot Al ever comes to Peoria, I’m taking him here for sure! There’s the classic wooden bar that’s been in here for decades and behind that is bartender Adam with an ice-cold bottle of beer! The night has officially begun in this iconic Peoria tavern!
If you look at the middle mirror behind the bar, you’ll see a reflection of a painting that’s been hung there for years! Check out the obligatory mirror shot in the middle! And the last shot is a photo I took of the woman in all of her glory behind the bar!
Adam pointed out that the wooden refrigeration system behind the bar is a link to Peoria’s past as well. This was formerly at the legendary Puff Tavern, which my uncle Bill used to frequent! Very cool to see this piece of tavern history still working!
Don’s a regular who was enjoying a beer at the end of the bar, Steve had just won 40 bucks at the gaming machines in here and was celebrating with a beer and there’s Adam at the other end of the bar with Phil, who’s also a regular in here. Cheers, guys!
While there’s no draft beers right now at Judge’s Chamber, there is this vintage Budweiser tap stand, which makes a nice towel holder!
A lot of people don’t know that Judge’s Chamber has a full kitchen with hot sandwiches, burgers, appetizers and as you can see from the sign, Chili is back in bowls, hot dogs and hamburgers! Adam said food is served every night at least until 9PM and some nights much later!
There’s tables and chairs opposite the bar and a nice neon Budweiser sign.
Here’s a shot of the front room of the bar, there’s tables and a jukebox on one side, a table that overlooks Main Street up in front and gaming machines on the other side of the room for your gambling pleasure!
There’s a real treasure-trove of photos from Judge’s Chamber’s past in the back hallway here. I’ve put up a sampling of a few of them, but I could spend a week in here looking at these! They remind me of the Nearby Nite Life photos by Nite Life Sam!
And here’s a final shot from the back of the bar. If you’ve never been to the Judge’s Chamber, you should stop by, it’s a friendly, downtown bar with character that’s been built up through the decades! And if anyone knows if this bar is the longest standing bar on Main Street, please let me know! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
514 Main Street