8:00pm, Wednesday, August 17
Price of Old Style: $2.50 Old Style & Old Style Light (on special)
Cunneen's is named after Steve Cunneen, who opened the bar back in 1972. It's not a very big bar, with some tables in the fron windows up front and barely enough room for the pool table towards the back. The things that really caught my eye was the framed painting of the bar, the two chairs flanking the front door, and the impressive collection of vinyl that was behind the bar. No jukebox here - Steve and his bartenders play everything you hear, either from a record, CD or iPod.
After getting our Old Style's from Collette, a sweet bartender who's been there for years, we could tell it's a family bar. No, there weren't little kids running around everywhere. What I mean is that the people in this bar are a true family... There were two couples in the 40s-50s playing cards at one of the front tables. Many of the bartenders have been there over 20 years...it seemed like everyone was on a first name basis. I was later informed that another couple who was there is documented in a picture on the wall of them dancing on the bar at Cunneen's back in the 70's.
We chatted with a gentleman about the intriguing clock behind the bar that was adorned with the face of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, with a different, smaller clock underneath with his son's face on it. The man was convinced that the mayor handed out the clocks to city bars during his re-election years. Sounds like a great idea, but probably illegal. A great write-up on Cunneen's history by one of it's bartenders de-bunked that theory. The history of the clocks aside, the unique decorations got Cunneen's the "honor" of being in the Chicago Reader's "Best Of" issue this year.
After a little while we met Chris, who was one of the younger regulars, but had also designed the Cunneen's website...check it out. Also, he did some asking around and I guess the bars that have Old Style signs have to pay about $500 a year in insurance and permits just to keep them up! These are the kind of people we like running into...the ones who can get us information... thanks Chris! We're hoping to get back to chat with Steve one of these days, and I guarantee I will be drinking my Old Style in one of those comfortable chairs by the front door.