The chronicler of Old Town

Across the street from a school named for one of the earliest explorers of this area, Frenchman Robert de La Salle, sits Twin Anchors, a venerable Old Town restaurant/saloon that has seen its share of history in more than 75 years of serving ribs and pouring booze.

Local writer Bill Zehme, the legendary magazine journalist who has written books about Jay Leno, Andy Kaufman, Frank Sinatra, has been a fan of Twin Anchors for many years. He writes, "I love no place quite like I love this place. It is everything Chicago is supposed to be: Familiar, old, neighborhoody, friendly, and kind of an open secret, but one that requires some protecting."

Inside Twin Anchors on one of those oddly spring-like February nights sits Shirley Baugher, who knows more about Old Town than anyone alive. She is recovering from a cold that has left her with a mild case of vertigo and so she wisely orders a glass of water; usually bartender Bob Driscoll would bring her a beer. Her husband, the talented painter, book illustrator and designer Norman Baugher, orders a scotch on the rocks. They are sitting at stools along the bar, and though it is not yet 6 p.m. tables are filled with diners. In a hour the place will be jammed.

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