Friar Tucks and Bill Murray

IF you’re Bill Murray.

Last night I stopped into Friar Tucks. Even though this bar with a barrel shaped entrance and Christmas lights draped around the windows is just two blocks from where I live, I’ve only been there about six times in four years. What brought me there last night was a returning Chicago-lover introducing a Chicagoan-to-be to her new town.

I met Elizabeth, who’s returning home, and her friend Katherine, a displaced LA gal moving to Chicago, at Wellington’s. I love neighborhood bars and Wellington’s is a quintessential watering hole stuck in the middle of blocks of residential homes. Our bartender Adam was great, but the ladies wanted something that wasn’t so removed.

We ended up walking by Friar Tucks on Broadway and I suggested we go in, even though my glimpse through the glass and garland showed a fairly empty spot.

We sat down at the bar and, after carding us “so he could remember our names”  Breon poured Elizabeth and I $5 mini-pitchers of beer and a coke for Katherine (her liver’s got some acclimating to do). We chatted, we watched a tipsy girl become drunk, and I beamed when Breon said he knew TLT and (basically) knew the tag line (experience the fascination of a tourist, feel the comfort of the local).

Then Bill Murray walked in.

And that’s it. There’s really no more story to it. Chuck Fox, a creative with a history in the acting and rock & roll fields (HE’S got stories, let me tell you), saw the actor and nascent skydiver walking down Broadway with his assistant and invited him in. As soon as Murray entered I recognized him, but I was brought up in Indiana, where if you see John Mellencamp walking around, you leave him be. No matter how famous he is, a man should be allowed to walk into a place and just walk into it.

He stood at the end of the bar; he bought a drink for Chuck; he tipped Breon well; he and his assistant left. While there he made eye contact with both Katherine and me and nodded.

Did I want to mosey down to the end of the bar and introduce myself? You betcha. Did I? No. Do I regret not being more aggressive? No.

He’s a Chicago boy done good, still walking through the neighborhoods at midnight on a Sunday, no entourage, just him and a good friend.

Walking into a place where everybody knows his name, yet chooses to let him make the introduction if he wants to.


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