|Tubby's: Drab on the outside, warmer inside|
A posting from earlier this year on Tubby’s Facebook page shows a nice note received by the owner: “We were in Tubby’s last Thursday as it’s our night out with my 80 yr old mother. We have been trying different places each week. Just wanted you to know that so far Tubby’s was voted mom’s favorite.”
Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised, then, to walk in on a Wednesday afternoon and find the place packed with retirees playing cards.
If they’d been playing poker, Harry would have thought he’d walked into a dream. But no such luck. They were playing Schmier.
Dean Horen, the bar’s owner, says the Schmier group was his mother’s idea. And if Tubby’s was just a place for older folks to hang out, it might not be as fun as it is.
Now that’s not to say that grown-ups (the hairy guy is a happy pensioner himself) don’t know how to have a good time. But we wouldn’t want rowdy Schmier players to scare away younger folks. And returning to Tubby’s on a Saturday night for a few games of shuffleboard, the cards were safely hidden away and the hairy guy was easily the oldest person in the place.
For those who don’t play Schmier, a feast of bar games awaits. Besides the shuffleboard ($1 for 15 points, $1.50 for 21 points), there’s a pool table ($1), a Family Guy pinball machine, darts, electronic golf and an electronic game console. There’s an electronic jukebox. And the garden assortment of lottery games.
Tubby’s – now actually called Still Tubby’s Pub -- is one of those South End joints that has been around awhile. Despite a drab exterior in need of a paint job, it’s spacious and comfortable inside
|Bar owner Dean Horen|
The building dates to the 1890s, Horen says. According to old city directories, it was called Dukarski Hall and then long was the Harmonia Bar (owned by Joseph Dukarski and then Leo Dukarski). Around 1981, it became Tubby’s, owned by Patrick Niedzinski, (whose nickname was Tubby, but we haven’t asked why). The upstairs had been Harmonia Hall, used for weddings and the like. But it’s now empty, Horen says, except for a giant stove.
Horen, who was a beer salesman before buying Tubby’s in 2010 (after Niedzinski’s death in 2009), calls it “an old-fashioned beer and burger place” but says he also sells a lot of liquor.
The grill (just inside the front door) turns out an assortment of hamburgers, from the basic ($4.75) to the Tubby Burger ($8), which has bacon and the works. Harry got a mushroom Swiss
|Games and TV in the side room|
Happy hour runs till 7 p.m. (“because you shouldn’t be penalized for working,” Horen says), when cans of beer are $1.50, bottles and well drinks are $1.75 ($2.25 later). The beer selection includes domestics and some imports, but this isn’t the place for craft beer fans (a cooler does hold a few bottles). On tap are Bud Light, Killian’s and Molson (each $1.50 till 7 p.m., $2 later).
Besides all that is a full bar – everything from a few top-shelf bottles to fruit puckers and a bottle of Giro – an inexpensive tequila for customers who want a cheap tequila sunrise, according to
|Lyndsey the daytime bartender|
Tubby’s is open 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday and noon-midnight Sunday.
The dark wood walls are mainly covered by beer signs. Large-screen TVs show sports. One sign behind the bar reads: “All tabs must be paid at the end of the night.” Just so you know.
See Doc’s report on Tubby’s: Friendship and poetry (!?) on Kosciuszko
Still Tubby’s Pub
1301 Kosciuszko (22nd)