Not too long ago, we asked for some of your favorite memories of bygone businesses in Champaign-Urbana. And it became very clear that all generations of Illini students and fans enjoy reminiscing about old Campustown establishments. Whether we graduated in 1962 or 2022, we all at some point wandered down Green Street and had some unforgettable experiences.
And here’s one such example from a time long before much of our audience was born.
Memory is hazy. Need to get in the way back machine to 1968. I believe it was called the Midway or the Illini Inn on 4th Street. Many freshmen were introduced to Colt 45 malt liquor there. 45 cents a bottle, but the bottle was a full quart.— Bob Verhulst (@bigbobinil) June 26, 2023
I can’t speak for the Midway, but the Illini Inn was (and the new version still is) located on 4th Street between Daniel and Chalmers.
Alongside Illini Inn, the original White Horse was easily one of the most popular haunts mentioned in the responses we received.
White horse Inn on green street— IlliniEverSoTrue (@Illini1996) June 25, 2023
Tuesday night 10/25 cent wings
A was nice surprise at the end when the fries were buried under the wings and sauce
They also had a great outdoor beer garden with a nice vibe
A great pace to chill out to watch some baseball in the fall/spring
White Horse Inn has to be me favorite establishment in and around CU that’s no longer around. I loved their wing club. It might have been $10 for the membership. Every Wednesday night I’d go with a friend or two to grab $5 pitchers and 50 wings for $5! Those were the days.— Jason Wollard (@JWollard33) June 26, 2023
WhiteHo on Green, Gumby’s, One World Pizza,— Brittany Alexis (@brit_alexis11) June 25, 2023
White Horse was an iconic horrible place.— Jason Koch (@2006illinifan) June 23, 2023
Jason’s comment is very true by the way. I only had one year of experiences with the original White Horse before it closed, and the rugby club events there were especially wild. The now-shuttered second iteration of the White Horse Inn on John Street was just never the same.
Of course, there were no shortage of crazy KAMS and C.O. Daniels stories shared with us as well.
I spent four years working at Kams between 86 and 90. Started off as a DJ. One night, a drunk guy wanted me to play paradise by the dashboard lights and I refused. I ended up breaking the album over my knee. The guy tried to climb in and beat the shit out of me.— TBird (@tjohnston_68) June 25, 2023
C.O. Daniels. They had a bellyflop contest into a kiddie pool (yes inside the bar) and I took home a Budweiser dart board by winning it.— Michigan Moose (@DitkaMoose) June 27, 2023
While Green Street and the area around it is undoubtedly the heart of Campustown, it’s also worth mentioning a few of the more notable off-campus bars. We can start in downtown Urbana with a suggestion from Illini men’s golf head coach Mike Small.
Jolly Roger— Mike Small (@MikeSmall4) June 27, 2023
You may have never been to Jolly Roger, but at some point you’ve probably parked at Black Dog BBQ’s original Urbana location and noticed a building with a distinctive pirate ship exterior on the other side of the lot. Until the building was torn down in 2015, that was the old Jolly Roger.
Chester Street— Not Kyle Wayne Short (@notnoparodys) June 26, 2023
C-Street was always a fun time. Whether it was Industrial Night, Cinco De Mayo, or just any ordinary evening, that place was legendary. Losing the building in a fire in 2021 was such an unfortunate end to one of the most iconic bars in town.
While our readers shared plenty of great memories at old Campustown businesses, those bygone places clearly mean much more to people who met their certain someone special at them.
I picked my now husband up at Clybourne—just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary!— Shannon (@slabram2) June 23, 2023
Whether you met the love of your life at a Campustown bar, or simply made memories that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your days, all of us at TCR want to thank you for taking the time to share your stories with us. Here’s to making plenty more memories in the years to come.