One of Illinois’ Oldest Bars Sits In Rockford And You’ll Never Hear A Bad Thing About It
If you're living in Northern Illinois and host guests from out of town, you'll inevitably want to take that out for dinner and drinks. The downtown area is a great place to start when pretending to be a tour guide. One place that is an absolute must to visit is Mary's Place on Madison Street.
The history of Mary's Place dates back to the early 1900s, 1918 to be exact, which earns the watering hole some bragging rights. First, it is officially the oldest continuously operating bar in Rockford, Illinois. It's also one of the oldest bars in Illinois, although Thrillist failed to include it in their article, "Illinois' Oldest Bars Outside Chicago."
What Makes Mary's Place Special?
Mary's Place, at 602 N Madison Street, is so unique, it has its own characteristics. There's the look inside, the live music, and then there's another very important piece. The people. People might not know your name when you walk in the door but you'll probably be greeted by someone as if they already know you. The crowd is everyone from all walks of life. It's a melting pot, a place where everyone is welcome and accepted.
Has Mary's Place Always Served As A Bar?
The answer is no. The building has been standing since 1918 and was originally a grocery. Jason Haddad, general manager of Mary's Place, share an old photo on Facebook brought in by a relative of the original owner.
It is believed the original owner of Mary's Place (the bar) opened the space in 1933 and named it after his wife. Apparently, she wasn't keen on the idea of it being a bar so the owner used naming it after her as a way to stay out of the dog house.
Generations Of Regulars
Mary's Place has been a primary spot for grabbing a drink for generations for some families. It's also a spot for really good music and positive vibes. This article only scratches the surface of the history of Mary's Place. You can learn even more with this article.
[h/t Northwest Quarterly]