2159 W. Chicago Ave.
10:00pm, Thursday, October 28
Price of Old Style: $3.00 cans
I moved into my first apartment in Chicago back in 1999 after graduating from college. It was in Uptown just north of Irving Park Rd., and there wasn't much of a bar scene near us (and still isn't). My roommate and I brought it upon ourselves to search out destination bars that sounded cool. This consisted of us actually looking in the phone book under bars/taverns. That's when we saw it: Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center.
The best bar name EVER. It was like the Holy Grail of bars... When we finally made it there it was the spring of 2000. We went during the day on a weekend, because the Ukie Village neighborhood was still kind of a sketchy place, and we had never been down there before. The main thing I remember was how dark it was...it was a sunny day, and when we walked in pretty much any outside light was gone. I also remember how damn smokey it was...there were a few regulars there and every one of them was smoking...packs of cigarettes placed on the bar along with a few dollar bills that would buy them at least 2 more beers. I don't think we stayed there long...it was intimidating...had one beer and left, but we experienced the enigma that was Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center.
The bar closed in 2003 and reopened in 2005 with the Tuman's name sans "Alcohol Abuse Center". Please read this wonderful write up of Tuman's, which done by the Chicago Bar Project back when it was still open. The quotes are priceless, and is a wonderful testament of how beloved this bar once was.
Back to the present: walking into Tuman's on a Thursday, the bar was PACKED. Probably the most crowded Old Style bar we've been at. The problem was that Tuman's 2.0 could fit in perfectly in Wrigleyville or Lincoln Ave. I don't want to be another people that bitches about the clientele at these types of places, but it was sad that at a place that was once cash only, every transaction I saw was made with a credit card. All "bomb shots" and bottles of Corona (sigh). They did keep the original window sign, which is hanging on the back wall...at least they understand the history of this classic bar.
Tuman's has been reinvented and is a popular place, but I think it's the bar that's least deserving of the Old Style sign hanging out front.
UPDATE (Dec. '11): Tuman's look down their Old Style sign...good riddance.