Sterch’s Obituary

Sterch’s or Sterch’s 66 doesn’t look like it used to. There is a new feel to the bar and a new crowd. Usually I wouldn’t notice, but Sterch’s is something of an institution.

I asked Sterch’s regular Adrian Bleifuss Prados if he wanted to do an interview about the changes at his favorite bar. He told me it would be more appropriate to write its obituary. That obituary follows below:

Sterch’s is no more. The last tolerable bar in Lincoln Park, a long-embattled fortress of goodness and decency, has fallen to the barbarians. The cranks, eccentrics and aging malcontents that were the bar’s regulars have mostly scattered into the tall grass, like rabbits before wolves. The rites and rituals of old have been forsaken and in their place a new, hideous order has been established. Sheepskin boots, and pink polo shirts abound. The music is intolerably loud because the patrons have nothing to say. They open their mouths and banalities flutter out like moths.

No longer do bottles of Old Style chill in the ice behind the bar. No longer will its famous awning, emblazoned with the Sterch’s carrot, flap in the wind. Today, the sign reads “Sterch’s 66.” Is this a reference to Route 66? A cute gesture to kitschy Americana? I do not know what it means but I know that it is evil.

The watering hole became famous three decades ago when Lincoln Ave. was considered a bohemian stronghold. Messrs. Stern and Smerch were the original owners and “Sterch” was a portmanteau of their surnames. The carrot became its symbol when deep-fried carrots were the bar’s signature snack. Many notable journalists, musicians, political radicals and small-time criminals quenched their thirst at massive mahogany bar. Hunter S. Thompson once destroyed its porcelain urinal. A urinal where Royko, Ebert, gods and giant-slayers relieved themselves.

“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned,” so wrote Chuck Marx and Fred Engels in 1848, when they observed venerable institutions unsettled and dismantled by the constant upheavals of the market economy. Sterch’s, which once seemed eternal and unchanging, has melted into air, Lincoln Avenue is now entirely the province of the enemy. We are doomed.



About Casey Brazeal

Comments

2 Responses to “Sterch’s Obituary”
  1. Colleen says:

    Talk of Sterch’s makes me remember Jim Kane. I sure miss his storytelling and singing. Maybe in Sterch’s afterlife they’ll both get together again.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Man that was good. Makes me really wish I had visited this place before. Well done Casey and Adrian

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