Nothing makes the liquor go down quicker than perching on a stool in a friendly neighborhood bar where the person doing the pouring has a genuine affection for their customers and a deep attachment to the establishment serving you.
So today’s questionable establishment with the unquestionable service is a small bar literally squeezed onto the corner of Saddle Creek and Leavenworth, The Neighber’s. At one point, Neighber’s was moved about 10 feet back from the actual creek portion of Saddle Creek, which was slowly eroding the building’s foundation. It’s tight. I wouldn’t even recommend walking around the front corner if one has, for any reason, balance issues.
My spirit guide on this journey was a man called Scheib, may he rest in nerdly peace painting miniatures and running “Dungeons & Dragons” adventures for Jesus. Scheib was a purveyor of high nerdery at Krypton Comics’ monthly Art Jam and the nephew of my Latin teacher. Scheib was not a big drinker, but he was, like most respectable people, a fan of nurses. He directed me to Neighber’s, proudly noting it to be a hangout for nurses as well as “very close to his house.”
Dive bars really own it these days, and Neighber’s is no exception. In fact, Neighber’s has a T-shirt for sale on the wall proclaiming it to be in a bad neighborhood with poor parking where foul language, poor service and nice girls may be found. I’ve seen worse, but the entrance is through the back alley and easy to miss. Good luck, look twice, go slow and you’ll be fine.
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Neighber’s barman Josh Bruckner is a friendly, talkative delight. He told me his mother purchased the building in 1987 and their cousin built it in 1954, among other historical trivia. The history lesson was interrupted by the introduction of the latest drink popularized by the tragically hip, Fernet-Branca. F-B is noted for being an Italian digestive invented in the 19th century. I find it also makes an excellent expectorant and ipecac.
Josh says the cool kids he’s been seeing more of these days — the ones who like to “drink like their granddads” — also occasionally choose to drink like 19th-century earls. One Jameson’s and a pickled egg put my taste buds back on track while discussing the finer points of lawn mower operation with Josh and a couple of regulars. A good time was had by all.
Taps include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sierra Hazy Little Thing IPA, Goose Island IPA, Coors Light, Bud and Bud Light. Happy hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day Sunday, with $2 Busch Light bottles, $2.75 Bud and Bud Light cans/bottles, $3 Wells, $7 domestic pitchers and $12 craft pitchers.
Daily specials are Rolling Rock tall boys for $2 and $1 off Irish whiskey on Mondays. Tuesdays are $3 craft beer coolers and $3.50 Malibus. Wednesdays are $3 PBR 32-ounce mini pitchers and $3.50 Sailor Jerry shots. Thursday is $2.50 Miller Lite bottles and $5 Jäger bombs. Friday is $3 Fireball shots and $7 Budweiser pitchers. Saturday is $12 domestic buckets.
Pool is always 50 cents, and there is a league on Thursdays.
The bar also has keno and darts, but I’m mostly thinking about getting another pickled egg. Hope to see you there.