The memorable and bygone Barney's Market Club, noted for its steaks, its serious drinks and its "Yes sir, Senator" slogan, was born as a tavern at State and Polk streets. After inhabiting several other locations around the city, it moved to Halsted and Randolph streets, where it was a popular dining spot for more than six decades.
It was long assumed that its familiar slogan was born of the patronage of politicians. Though many elected officials (as well as mobsters, businessmen, cops and others on their way to and from events at the Chicago Stadium) were know to drop in, it was owner Barney Kessel's inability to remember anybody's name that gave birth to the slogan that eventually emblazoned menus, matchbooks and the prominent sign that hung high from the building. He called almost everybody "Senator."
Kessel died in 1951 but the place survived for decades under his son-in-law Harry Schwimmer, finally closing in the early 1990s. It later came to life for a while under a couple of different owners but then remained shuttered as the neighborhood around it went from the rough-and-tumble of an old market area to a relatively chic dining mecca.
It has now been ambitiously reborn as the Haymarket Pub & Brewery, its official address being 737 W. Randolph St., and its mission, as detailed by co-owner Pete Crowley, to "create a pleasant neighborhood place that also has a sense of history and will be open to hosting all sorts of events."
It took Crowley and his partner John Neurauter more than a year to reopen and considerably remodel the place, and it is handsome and comfortable. Its name derives from nearby Haymarket Square, scene of the tragic 1886 confrontation that would be a defining moment in the labor movement.
In addition to handcrafted beers (Crowley is also an award-winning brewer) that are brewed on-site, it serves such food as handmade sausages, rotisserie chickens, burgers, soups and other items. And it will also provide a permanent home for the previously nomadic Drinking & Writing Theater.
Begun in 2002 by Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda of the Neo-Futurists theater company, Drinking & Writing has mounted shows that explore the connection between literature and booze. (They also hold an annual festival during which they give an award for outstanding achievement in drinking and writing; I was so "honored" a few years back.)
The latest show, "Drinking & Writing Volume III: To Cure A Hangover," is performed on Saturdays at 4 p.m. through February 5. (In September they will debut "The City That Drinks," focusing on local writers/drinkers, many of whom, some understandably, are no longer alive.)
You can experience the Haymarket Pub & Brewery place any time you like. It is open for lunch and dinner. Or you might visit this Tuesday, when I will be hosting "Chicago Live! Team Bar Trivia Night" at 7 p.m. I will be joined by Benjamin, Mosqueda and some folks from The Second City. Osgood promises to come too.
A sample question?
For whom or what was Randolph Street named?
Just kidding. The questions will be considerably easier. And, needless to say, drinks will be served.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun