As the world was spinning towards its inevitable demise, I needed to pick what would possibly be the last bar I would ever go to. I was invited out by a friend to the bar next to his shop. This is my favorite way to pick my next bar, and the best reason to pick the last bar before the end of the world, because people want me to be there. Yes, the world didn't end and I should have written this faster, but Mullen's on Madison could have been the last bar I ever went to, and is bar #22.
My first stop on my way to Mullen's was to go next door to Pop Shop Custom Framing. (Ok, my first stop was a bit down the street to Pet's General to pick up some dog food, exchange some witty repartee, and to pet a chinchilla). You may know R!ch Cihlar who is a founder of the Pop Shop Gallery (now the Breakneck Gallery), which has helped spread contemporary art for years. More recently, R!ch traded having an art gallery for a slowly deminaturizing small human being, but kept the framing shop and the name. He has been working on a project for a good chunk of the last year, 365 Days of PEZ. He is painting PEZ dispensers using a stenciling technique on found objects like skate decks and records. He has been posting a new work of art every day on his Facebook and website. Check them out!
We made our way over to Mullen's on Madison next door. It's on Madison Ave. Mullen's is an inviting bar with signed sports jerseys, a pool table, local art framed, murals, and one dollar bills on the walls themselves.
They had a nice selection beer at cheap prices. I had free Yuengling, thanks to R!ch. Later, I had Oskar Blues Brewery's Mama's Little Yellow Pils. A pilsner that had nice mildly complex flavor, which wasn't scared to taste more like beer than water. They have popcorn. It's neither too salty nor too stale.
Our conversation bounced about eventually reaching babies in bars. It was agreed that babies should only come to bars where they have proper seating and if the bar can also act like a restaurant. Babies however, should go home for a normal bed time. This conversation also went on to decide that babies do not need to go to places where screaming by adults is found to be inappropriate. These can include movies, some restaurants, planes when possible (they can be uncomfortable for the baby), fireworks (unless they like them, though ear protection should probably be worn.) The conversation can be summed up in one final statement by Ramona: “What are you doing!? Get your stroller out of the porn store!” Of course, this is life and it's easy to drunkenly come to these conclusions, but life makes the rules whenever it can.
There is a curse to this bar that you should know about. It's not that in the past it has been cursed with poor taste, which it was. Two incarnations ago it was a cozy, low ceilinged bar foggy with cigarette smoke with a carpet on the floor that had absorbed enough trickle down beer and tobacco to grow its own carpet on top of itself. The ceilings were then moved upwards and the walls were scraped clean and covered in lots of green and orange paint. Obviously, that wasn't better. Thats all fixed now. The true curse is that the former ugly bars have seeped into the any proudly displayed jersey that grace the walls of Mullen's, forcing player after player out of the city. Notables include Brady Quinn and LeBron James. Many of these jerseys are brought down and replaced with new sacrifices as the curse continues.
Mullen's on Madison's staff and ownership was friendly. My beer was cold and plentiful. I had no complaints and I don't think you will either. Mullen's is 1 part Irish Pub and 1 part dive bar mixed to be better than its parts. You should leave your normal bar and come check out bar #22. Even if the bar does banish another of your favorite players, it won't be the end of the world.
Awesome: Customer Service, Atmosphere, Bartender's Pick
17014 Madison Ave