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Bucket O Suds Remembered

Bucket O Suds Remembered
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  • Bucket O Suds Remembered

    Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 4:19 pm
    Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 4:19 pm Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 4:19 pm
    This subject came up on an italian beef thread but this was a place so near and dear to my heart I thought it deserved its own thread.

    The Bucket was one of the most unique bars in the country. It's proprieter Joe Danno was a 2nd generation mixologist and had come up with nearly 100 unique drinks, apertiffs and liquors. He also had his own line of mustard ,kethcup and BBQ sauce. All of which could be purchased at his bar. They where prepared in the kitchen and the store next to the bar and where bottled on premises.

    I first met Joe in the early 70's and stayed with him as a friend and patron until he closed in the late 90's. We lost Joe a couple years ago.

    Before his sister Fina died, she would man the kitchen making pizza's and always coming out with some fresh breadsticks until your food was ready. If you ever asked about ingredients for any of his drinks he would usually smile and with that gleam in his eye say "oh this and that and a little magic" If you could pony up 5 bucks, you could walk out of the place with a recycled booze bottle full of Elicer of Lucifer to take home.

    There are so many memories of Joe , his place and the people that came in the Bucket. But I wont ramble too much right now. My favorite drinks where the Gin Rummy, Roman Orgy, and Elixer of Lucifer. Below I have posted some pictures of BOS memoribillia for you other BOS'rs. Please jump in with your recollections as you see fit
    Bob


    Image
    Bob Kopczynski
    http://www.maxwellstreetmarket.com
    "Best Deals in Town"
  • Post #2 - April 12th, 2005, 7:36 am
    Post #2 - April 12th, 2005, 7:36 am Post #2 - April 12th, 2005, 7:36 am
    Bob

    A good friend introduced me to Joe , Fina and The Bucket O'Suds about 20 years ago. As true a gem of a saloon if there ever was one .

    Living in Ravenswood Manor at the time BOS was a bit far west to be on my route, but I usually made it in about once a month for a BOS burger,a few Bass Ales and a couple of bottles of BOS sauce to take home.

    Joe always struck me as the kind of guy that loved hearing a good story as much as telling one. One night after telling Joe about a trip to Thailand and Nepal I had just returned from Joe produced a bottle of what he called "Chinese brandy" a bottle of Chinese vodka with a large pickled lizard in it. Joe was extremly proud of that bottle and went as far as to seal the screw on top with wax to ward off evaporation and insure the lizard a secure ride into the future.

    Somewhere (hopefully) in a cardboard box I have a tape Joe gave me of a jazz radio show he used to do on one of the college stations. On the tape he ends a quick vocabulary lesson with the quote "learn a word a day, keep ignorance at bay" Great advice that I find myself passing on to my two sons as they learn the three R's.

    While we're on the subject of gone but not forgotten saloons does anyone remember Butchie's Get Me High Lounge?

    JSM
  • Post #3 - April 12th, 2005, 10:09 am
    Post #3 - April 12th, 2005, 10:09 am Post #3 - April 12th, 2005, 10:09 am
    JSM wrote:While we're on the subject of gone but not forgotten saloons does anyone remember Butchie's Get Me High Lounge?

    JSM


    The one on Honore, near the tracks? I didn't even know they'd closed down until this week - any idea why? The place seemed to do a pretty solid weekend business - the only downside was that it was usually uncomfortably hot inside.
    -Pete
  • Post #4 - April 12th, 2005, 10:47 am
    Post #4 - April 12th, 2005, 10:47 am Post #4 - April 12th, 2005, 10:47 am
    i so loved the bucket of suds - and have some of joe's old "newsletters" in addition to the "buy american" bumper sticker. elixer lucifer was by favorite libation - cured anything from the common cold to a little heartbreak (or at least made you forget them for a while!)

    as for the Get Me High lounge, i loved the original bar - dark, dank and so much second hand smoke it took 2 showers to wash off the smell! then Dian Antic of Iggys and Harry's Velvet Room fame bought the place, did a cheap loungy renovation, removed the famous chalkboard ceiling panel with some of jazz's most famous musicians signatures, and started charging and armandaleg for froufrou martinis.

    ah the times they are achangin' indeed.....
  • Post #5 - April 12th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Post #5 - April 12th, 2005, 2:56 pm Post #5 - April 12th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    leesh

    Totally agreed. The Get Me High when Butchie owned it was a dive supreme. No windows, a generic Old Style sign hanging above a steel security door and the address of the place brush painted on the front of the building. As my pal Tommy put it when we pulled up in front of the place for the first time "man, I don't know, this looks like a place to buy heroin". But once inside it was all good. Great live jazz, no cover and almost cold cans of Old Style for two bucks.

    I also used to like peering into the window of the camera / hardware store on the other side of the tracks. The place had a real "twilight zone" aura to it. Like someone had locked the door and walked away back in 1950.

    JSM
  • Post #6 - April 13th, 2005, 10:54 am
    Post #6 - April 13th, 2005, 10:54 am Post #6 - April 13th, 2005, 10:54 am
    When I started to research the American whiskey industry about 14 years ago, I also started looking for a Chicago bar with a good bourbon selection. Somebody told me about "Bucket of Suds." In those days, maybe always, the joint was only open Wednesday through Saturday, after seven o'clock. There was a sign but no lights, and the door was locked. If you knocked and, I guess, looked alright, somebody would let you in. Almost like a speakeasy.

    There was nothing fancy about the bucket, but Joe knew his American whiskey. If you ordered whiskey, he didn't ask how you wanted it. What you got was a free pour in a jumbo shot glass. You got water back if you asked. Joe's favorite pour then was Very Very Old Fitzgerald, a 12-year-old. Joe said he bought all he could before the Japanese cornered the market.

    Joe's back bar featured bourbons that were even then long dead, like Belle of Nelson and James E. Pepper. I remember Fina bringing around a tray of deviled eggs one night. The Bucket was a unique experience.
  • Post #7 - April 14th, 2005, 6:01 pm
    Post #7 - April 14th, 2005, 6:01 pm Post #7 - April 14th, 2005, 6:01 pm
    As I recall, Joe had two cardboard pictures in the small windows of his front door: one of Washington, the other of Lincoln. They almost seemed like the kind of holiday decorations one might put up in "celebration" of presidential birthdays.

    Unfortuanately, I believe Joe's ancient bourbon collection was pretty much drunk up by the time I "discovered" the place, on recommendation of my friend patoriq, who was living in Japan and asked me and his brother to drop by the bucket and pick up two gallons of BOS sauce to ship to him. Joe had made it up special for us, and I left with a container of my own, which I found quite enjoyable on eggs.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #8 - April 14th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    Post #8 - April 14th, 2005, 6:32 pm Post #8 - April 14th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    Wow. Thanks for the memories Bob. My ex-husband's father was a jazz musician who had known Joe for years. We used to go shoot the breeze with him for hours on end. Often having to go home in a cab, since we got so "gassed" (as Joe liked to call it). I have an empty bottle of Lucifer's Elixer with a really cool label around here somewhere.

    And the boss sauce was also great on ribs.

    How sad to hear he's gone now. He was a sweet old dude. RIP.
  • Post #9 - April 15th, 2005, 1:15 pm
    Post #9 - April 15th, 2005, 1:15 pm Post #9 - April 15th, 2005, 1:15 pm
    Mike Miller at Delilah's told me this story about Joe. It seemed that Joe had cornered the market on some defunct bourbon highly prized by country and western musicians. He had the only supply and it was finite, so as it dwindled he kept raising the price, until it reached $100 a bottle. Even at that these guys (the rich ones, away) would still buy it.

    Mike also told me that Joe's sons are trying to manufacture and market some of Joe's creations.
  • Post #10 - April 15th, 2005, 3:03 pm
    Post #10 - April 15th, 2005, 3:03 pm Post #10 - April 15th, 2005, 3:03 pm
    Mike also told me that Joe's sons are trying to manufacture and market some of Joe's creations.




    More here
    http://www.bosdistilling.com/
  • Post #11 - April 15th, 2005, 3:27 pm
    Post #11 - April 15th, 2005, 3:27 pm Post #11 - April 15th, 2005, 3:27 pm
    Cool. Apparently, the family distilling tradition skipped a generation. It's Joe's grandsons who are engaged in this enterprise.
  • Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 8:32 am
    Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 8:32 am Post #12 - June 8th, 2005, 8:32 am
    I never had the pleasure of visiting BOS but was reminded of this thread when this morning's "Lin's Bin" feature on WXRT had host Lin Brehmer responding to the question "Who is the most interesting artist you ever met?" Lin's (long) answer was Joe Danno. He waxed quite eloquently on past visits and interactions with Mr. Danno and really made me feel I'd missed out on something (just as the posts on this thread have done). This morning's feature will be repeated on XRT (FM 93.1) at 6:15 PM tonight and then added to the website for online listening here (scroll to the bottom).
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #13 - June 8th, 2005, 11:04 am
    Post #13 - June 8th, 2005, 11:04 am Post #13 - June 8th, 2005, 11:04 am
    The son or grandson is now marketing two afterdinner drinks, Alumni and Auburn; one chocolate, one vanilla, neither too sweet or cloying. He did a tasting at Sam's in DG. Good stuff-hope he makes it.
  • Post #14 - June 11th, 2005, 1:47 am
    Post #14 - June 11th, 2005, 1:47 am Post #14 - June 11th, 2005, 1:47 am
    I WAS SO EXCITED TO SEE A THREAD ON BUCKET O SUDS!!!

    I USED TO GO THERE ALL THE TIME FOR JOES FAMOUS "MONKEY NUT" DRINK!!! HIS BBQ SAUCE WAS THE BEST AND I USED TO BUY A FEW BOTTLES EVERYTIME I WENT IN AND FRIENDS OF MINE IN ALASKA AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS WOULD HAVE ME BUY BOTTLES FOR THEM!! I REMEMBER HIS SISTER'S BREADSTICKS WHILE WAITING FOR THE FOOD, FOR ME IT WAS USUALLY SOMETHING BBQ. THE HOT SAUCE WAS GREAT TOO.

    HE HAD THE BEST COLLECTION OF OLD OLD SINGLE MALT SCOTCH AND OTHER FINE ALCOHOL. I ACTUALLY GAVE HIM A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY THAT WAS MY GRANDFATHERS FROM EARLY 1900'S FOR HIS COLLECTION. THE JAZZ MUSIC WAS GREAT AND YOU COULD USUALLY RUN INTO TERRY HEMMERT (SP?) FROM WXRT THERE. I LOVED HOW JOE WOULD SING AND DANCE TO THE MUSIC. I MOVED AWAY IN '85 TO COLORADO AND CAME BACK FOR A VISIT AND WENT TO BOS AND IT WAS CLOSED MY HEART SANK..IT WAS THE END OF AN ERA! I WAS LOOKING AT SOMETHING ELSE BUT SAW THIS POST AND IT BROUGHT BACK SO MANY GREAT MEMORIES!! GLAD OTHER'S HAVE GREAT MEMORIES TOO-THANKS!
  • Post #15 - July 27th, 2005, 1:13 am
    Post #15 - July 27th, 2005, 1:13 am Post #15 - July 27th, 2005, 1:13 am
    i was a visitor to Chicago in 1995 and my friend from IRC, bobby aka popiah, was the one who brought me to the pub ... from outside it looked closed but there was a few regular patrons inside when the door was opened to us ...

    I remember Joe as a very sweet old man ... i wasn't really feeling very well but he said he would prepare a very special drink for me ... and he did! he did a ginger ale and an apple pie drink for me ... i remember being so surprised cuz it really tasted like an apple pie! He also fuss over me and showed me old pictures while my friends were helping themselves to the drinks ...

    I'm sad that's he's passed on, but he left a very deep impression on me, so much that the visit to bucket O suds was the highlight of the trip for me.
  • Post #16 - July 27th, 2005, 11:12 am
    Post #16 - July 27th, 2005, 11:12 am Post #16 - July 27th, 2005, 11:12 am
    I was in the BOS only once, but remember it like it was yesterday.

    33 years ago, I was taken there by a friend, and we had one drink. It was, at that time, very expensive, $7.50 per shot, but it was bourbon bottled before prohibition. Yes it was very smooth.

    Does anyone remember the grill a couple of doors south of the BOS?

    The burgers were so greeeesy, that the brown paper bag holding them would be wet with greese before you got to the door, and would break before you got home. The floor was old white rubber tile, and there was a black central path about five feet into the joint, then branching off to separate paths to the 8 stools. The burgers were so good, but would make me sick about half the time.
  • Post #17 - August 31st, 2005, 11:17 pm
    Post #17 - August 31st, 2005, 11:17 pm Post #17 - August 31st, 2005, 11:17 pm
    Ahhh yes! The BUCKET. I used to work there up until it closed. I learned several of Joes concoctions and inherited several "mementos" including the Lambretta 3 wheeler. He was a great mixologist. Did you go to the final party?
  • Post #18 - September 3rd, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Post #18 - September 3rd, 2005, 5:01 pm Post #18 - September 3rd, 2005, 5:01 pm
    A friend just told me about this place and am I glad he did! My late wife, Kim, introduced me to Joe and the Bucket back when we lived in Chicago. I remember that $100 bottle of whiskey well; called Waterfill and Fraser, it was pre-prohibition and I still have a small bit of it left in the bottle which I use on VERY special occasions.

    I'm a freelance writer by trade and have done a lot of comic book writing. I worked Joe and the Bucket into one such comic and had a friend take pictures as reference for the artist. Joe was extremely tickled and I managed to obtain the original black and white artwork for him which he proudly hung over the Bar, I'm very pleased to say.

    I have more than a few stories to tell about the Bucket, as I'm sure we all do, and Kim had even better ones. If anyone is interested, I'll share some. I may also tell some other friends I introduced to the Bucket about this thread, if everyone doesn't mind.

    What I wouldn't give for a bottle of the hot sauce or the BBQ sauce! Sighhhh. Great place, great times.

    -- John
  • Post #19 - September 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm
    Post #19 - September 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm Post #19 - September 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm
    JohnOstrander wrote:What I wouldn't give for a bottle of the hot sauce or the BBQ sauce! Sighhhh. Great place, great times.


    Friend and I were just reminiscing about BOS Sauce today.

    As I recall, Joe had a number of pieces of artwork behind the bar, including many done in the day when they (he and his sister, I believe) served fried chicken and other foods there.

    It'd be cool to see some Danno-inspired work, if it's post-able.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #20 - September 5th, 2005, 10:31 am
    Post #20 - September 5th, 2005, 10:31 am Post #20 - September 5th, 2005, 10:31 am
    The art MIGHT be postable. I'd have to check with some people just to locate it. I'll see what I can do.

    One quick Bucket story from my own memory --

    I used to have my birthday parties at the Bucket. My oldest sister would bring her kids and they were all made most welcome. As they became legal drinking age, some of them came to the Bucket on their own. My oldest nephew, Fred, told me during one trip home -- at meeting at the Bucket -- that since my last visit he had brought some of HIS friends there. I nodded; very good. That's what you do. But then he solemnly told me, "And they're not invited back because they didn't appreciate it enough."

    I was so proud. I KNEW that boy was brought up right!<g>

    One last note. Kim used to tell me a story that she heard -- that during the filming of COLOR OF MONEY, Martin Scorsese was brought by friends to the Bucket and he enetered, stopped, looked around, and breathed, "I gotta tell Francis about this place! (As in Francis Ford Coppola.)

    Kim was also there the night they opened the bottle of genuine Napoleonic brandy. And, on a different night, when a bunch of bikers strode into the bar. But those are stories for another post.<g>

    -- John
  • Post #21 - September 5th, 2005, 4:45 pm
    Post #21 - September 5th, 2005, 4:45 pm Post #21 - September 5th, 2005, 4:45 pm
    My first encounter to the Bucket was thru an extention course from Northwestern - Mixology 101 - in the late 70's or early 80's. I believe Mark Gruber (sp?) taught the course and used the Bucket as the field trip destination. I miss the Royal Blast (W&F and BBK), but I miss Joe more.
  • Post #22 - September 10th, 2005, 9:37 am
    Post #22 - September 10th, 2005, 9:37 am Post #22 - September 10th, 2005, 9:37 am
    The Legacy Of The Bucket O' Suds @ Chicagoist.

    E.M.
  • Post #23 - May 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #23 - May 14th, 2006, 9:14 am Post #23 - May 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    JohnOstrander wrote:The art MIGHT be postable. I'd have to check with some people just to locate it. I'll see what I can do.

    One quick Bucket story from my own memory --

    I used to have my birthday parties at the Bucket. My oldest sister would bring her kids and they were all made most welcome. As they became legal drinking age, some of them came to the Bucket on their own. My oldest nephew, Fred, told me during one trip home -- at meeting at the Bucket -- that since my last visit he had brought some of HIS friends there. I nodded; very good. That's what you do. But then he solemnly told me, "And they're not invited back because they didn't appreciate it enough."

    I was so proud. I KNEW that boy was brought up right!<g>

    One last note. Kim used to tell me a story that she heard -- that during the filming of COLOR OF MONEY, Martin Scorsese was brought by friends to the Bucket and he enetered, stopped, looked around, and breathed, "I gotta tell Francis about this place! (As in Francis Ford Coppola.)

    Kim was also there the night they opened the bottle of genuine Napoleonic brandy. And, on a different night, when a bunch of bikers strode into the bar. But those are stories for another post.<g>

    -- John

    :twisted: As one of Joe's helpers and also a member of the motorcycling community, I was one of the organizers for that visit. They were members of Chicago Chapter of HOG and ABATE. >> ChiliBob
  • Post #24 - January 7th, 2011, 4:33 pm
    Post #24 - January 7th, 2011, 4:33 pm Post #24 - January 7th, 2011, 4:33 pm
    Remember the business cards Joe handed out? All his drinks were listed, and there was a little box next to each of them to check off.
    Man, I used to love that mustard he made! That mustard made a plain ham sandwich special. The bucket was a great place for me to
    bring dates. There were plenty of sweet drinks to please female drinkers, and it didn`t take to much coaxing to get them to try something
    else on his list. The jazz he played also seemed to lower their inhibitions.
  • Post #25 - August 10th, 2011, 11:03 am
    Post #25 - August 10th, 2011, 11:03 am Post #25 - August 10th, 2011, 11:03 am
    Me & my buddy Bruce Padiak used to go to the BOS back in the 70's. My friend Bruce was killed riding his bike. Joe thought so much of Bruce that he hung his bike on the wall of the BOS. Joe had the best whiskey. He even had a bottle of Civil War whiskey, that he sold for $5.00 a shot. I'm sorry to hear that he passed away in 2002. I moved away from the neighborhood in the 90's. His wife made hearty sandwiches as well.
  • Post #26 - August 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm
    Post #26 - August 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm Post #26 - August 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm
    I still have 1/2 gallon of Joe's .... Elixer Lucifer -- that I've been mllking with only a shot or two a year since the early 90's. Great memories .. sigh
  • Post #27 - August 10th, 2011, 9:29 pm
    Post #27 - August 10th, 2011, 9:29 pm Post #27 - August 10th, 2011, 9:29 pm
    jazzman wrote:I still have 1/2 gallon of Joe's .... Elixer Lucifer -- that I've been mllking with only a shot or two a year since the early 90's. Great memories .. sigh


    Wish I'd have had the foresight to hoard a bit of Joe's homemade stuff with the handmade labels.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #28 - August 10th, 2011, 10:23 pm
    Post #28 - August 10th, 2011, 10:23 pm Post #28 - August 10th, 2011, 10:23 pm
    Only went once with my downstairs neighbor who was a radio guy for the loop and hung out with all the 'xrt folks. really interesting bar and Joe was quite a trip for me (20 something from the 'burbs) this must have been back in '88 or '89...
    Did he have a original City of Chicago LL with a really low #? (or was that someplace else?)
  • Post #29 - February 13th, 2012, 9:03 pm
    Post #29 - February 13th, 2012, 9:03 pm Post #29 - February 13th, 2012, 9:03 pm
    The Bucket O'Suds is | was a cannon blast from the domicile here. Oh, yeah - a few memories. During the week, it actually opened at 5:00 pm. There were a few times I went and ordered out a BOS burger. It was better than the other restaurants serving hamburgers around here.
    The beers he had on draft were both German. Typically, BBK [Kaiserslautern] pale, and dark pilsner. 8)
    The illuminated, flashing sign was installed, I'm pretty certain, in 1966. I think Drewery's Brwy. kicked in for its erection.

    If there's an archive of the Chicago Beer Society HB-listserv {and there should be}, there is an e-mail I sent to it the week it closed in 1996 stating that - yes - it will close after Saturday. {A line from it I still recall: "Bucket O'Suds is not a beer bar."} I managed to get in there, have one cocktail, and left so others could similarly do so. (It was packed.)
    Valuable links for survival, without the monetization attempt: https://pqrs-ltd.xyz/bookmark4.html

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