9:15pm, Wednesday, August 10
Price of Old Style: $2.00 12 oz frosty mugs
Margie's is one of those bars that people refer to as a "dive bar", but it is hardly that. My first time at Margie's was when I was in my 20's, and the neighborhood along Lincoln Avenue has changed drastically in the last ten years. You still have some of the old standbys like the Bavarian Haus, Wild Goose, and the Grafton, but now there are a ton of new bars and restaurants that have opened up along that stretch. Margie's may still have some regulars, but on any given night they'll have a good crowd of younger locals taking advantage of the cheap Old Style on tap.
On the night we were there, it was how I described...decent crowd of regulars and nons, with Diana working behind the bar. Diana has been working at Margie's for 9 years, and as she was explaining the Chicago Gems t-shirt she was wearing, she mentioned that the last day of the bar was going to be Sunday.
Yep. The bar was closing. Di told me that Margie hasn't been coming around for a few years, and her son was running things. He told all the staff the previous WEEK that he was closing the bar the following weekend...not much notice for anyone at all, which is just cruel, to Diana and everyone else who had been working there for years.
Well, after that depressing news, we discussed Old Style with Jason, who I'm not sure what category he was in - regular or "younger local", but he was a nice dude and bought us a round. Then the tamale guy came in, which was perfect timing because we were just about to order a $7 frozen pizza...
Another example of "all good things must come to an end..." A picture of Margie's Old Style sign was recently used in an article about Old Style leaving Wrigley Field.
So, I went back to Margie's on Sunday, and apparantely the last day was Saturday, because the Margie's sign was down and the door was locked. The Old Style sign is still up! I knocked on the door and an older man answered...was this Margie's son? Nope, just another employee who got shafted and now was stuck cleaning up the place one final time. He told me it was a sad situation for everyone, because now he had to find a new job or file for unemployment soon. He said the bar was already sold to someone else, but he wasn't sure if they were going to keep it a bar or tear down the building.
And the Old Style sign? "I have no idea...whoever bought us out...it's up to them. The sign isn't ours to take...it's a part of the building and has been longer than Margie's has been here."
I'm gonna get to the bottom of this...