3 April 2019
I had dinner with my son last night. He was uncharacteristically late so I had a little time to wander around one of my old neighborhoods.
I lived in what was called New Town (now called Boys Town) back in the early 80s. I was an occasional leather punk, with occasional blue hair. We hung in what was then a little bar, called Berlin. It’s twice the size it was now. It was within staggering distance from my home on Racine.
When Berlin got to be to much-to much music, to much gin, to much dancing, to much dancing on the bar, to much drag-we would wander east, past the Punkin’ Donuts; to L & L Tavern. A smoke-filled, old man bar, we would quietly glide through the smoke to the back and soothe our frazzled brains over the last gin and tonic of the night.
Later, I would learn that Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy had both been seen in the place. I would wander in to day drink occasionally too. More than a few times I would earn a free drink by correctly guessing the Final Jeopardy question.
Walking by it last night reminded me of what Belmont, between Clark and the L used to be. I’m not one for nostalgia, but the cultural loss of Punkin Donuts becoming a Target is hard to take. L & L Tavern is still there; it’s still full of crusty old men. I heard Anthony Bourdain visited a few years ago. He must have felt right at home.