Spoiler Alert … it’s unpaid taxes, a lost liquor license, and too few patrons to keep the bar open.
Sully’s Origin Story and VERY SHORT history
Sully’s was opened in 1984 by Mike Sullivan, a longtime Peoria tavern owner, who had started several popular Peoria bars. The name Sully’s comes from his last name of course. Ed Pelz and Dave Snider bought Sully’s from Mike and owned it for almost 25 years until selling it to Keith Weinstein. The bar closed in December 2013 after a few failed attempts at keeping it open.
The bar was decorated with sports memorable, had great food, and on weekends has a pretty good dance crowd at on weekend nights. It really offered everything someone in their 20’s would like. I simply loved Sully’s in its heyday well minus a few things I will get to later.
Sully’s Circa Early 2000’s (the things I LOVED)
Sully’s was probably the most popular bar when I turned 21 back in 2002. So popular in fact I would wait an hour to get in the place, and once I got in, I would spend all the little money I had on Miller Light and Jäger bomb shots. (The next day allllways sucked btw, because my night was fueled with cheap booze.) After being rejected by every girl in the bar I would call it a night at 4AM, head home with no money in my wallet, and a boner in my fruit of the looms (side note: back then it was pretty much tighty-whities or regular old boxers so not much choice… I chose the snug version). My normal trick of being the last guy left in the bar never worked: those Sully’s girls were too high class for me, I guess. Now that I think back, I don’t think I even had as much as a long conversation with a female. The nights would be my buddies and I all holding up the wall watching people dance until we got so drunk, that we tried to dance but always failed. I am very happy digital cameras was a new thing back during this time so while it would have been fun to have some photos of this time … it is also nice I do not see how stupid I looked.
Yet the next weekend I would repeat the same thing. It never seemed to get old. Sully’s was really fun for being a place where I had less than zero success with the women but it was the only place at the time that had the good looking women in it.
The food at Sully’s was very solid and they had food pretty late. Too few places offer late night food (besides hoops and whatever the one bar that is underground was called) which I feel like if you do offer food its just good business for your drunken patrons. At least cook frozen pizza or something and let us soak up some booze with carbs please.
St Patrick’s day at Sully’s was awesome … the food, beer, music, and all the people having fun. The young adults now can’t experience that, it was a shit “fun” show.
Sully’s also always had a stream of bachelorette parties which was always fun. I cannot recall the number of times I did the “suck for a buck” from some random lady. All these women also had several penis themed toys and blow up dolls .. was always pretty hilarious. I wonder how they are doing now?
Sully’s Circa Early 2000’s (the things I HATED)
Sully’s while fun did have some issues that I REALLY disliked. This is coming from the male point of view, and involves a lot of the restroom situation. Women let me know your issues and I will add it to this story!
The men’s restroom was a complete shitshow. Imagine the NYSE trading floor but you are trading piss with urinals and everybody is screaming at you … that was how the Sully’s restroom felt. They only had one urinal and one toilet for 30-50 horny, often angry, booze filled, jocks who if you took longer than 2 seconds to piss they would scream out to stop playing with it. I can assure the world that if I am playing with myself it is not going to be in front of a packed restroom with all dudes in it. I had pee fright there so often I would sometimes leave the bar to go the parking deck to piss and come back. It was fucking terrible!
Forget washing your hands .. the men’s restroom always had some dude pissing in the sink .. like every time. Well, it was the sink or garbage can, sometimes both were in use. I said pissing in the sink but it was more like spraying the sink and walls with disgusting vile drinking cheap beer and having no water for 8 hours yellow piss. I feel sorry for the folks who cleaned that place … yuck!
I was always very annoyed at the women who would come in the men’s restroom and use the toilet when there was a line of dudes waiting. As much as I liked to flirt with these women my bodily functions are more important. They would come in 2-4 at a time and spend what felt like hours in the toilet stall. Are they just pissing, are they shitting, or are they snorting cocaine, WTF is going on in there? Your giggles and smiles have no power on me when my bladder is about to burst open like the alien movie.
Remember when I mentioned those jocks? Sully’s was FULL of them, it seemed like each one was their hometown QB or some bullshit these dudes loved to pick on people and had the biggest chip on their shoulder. They would get drunk, were horned up, and when it didn’t work out, they would try to take it out on us nerds!
This always reminded me of this Louis CK bit.
Another thing that I always hated at Sully’s was being yelled at for crossing to the other side of the bar using the behind the bar pathway. Most of the time the employees wouldn’t care BUT every once in a while, some bartender would get a hair up their ass and yell at you and threaten to kick you out. I never really understood it either let us walk behind the bar or don’t let us walk behind the bar … its simple.
Those shot girls … easy on the eyes bad on the wallet. I hated them and loved them at the same time. They should be illegal, to me it’s the equivalent of advertising cigarettes to kids like using Joe Camel. Shot girls are the kryptonite of 20 something men’s wallets. As you get older you realize the shot you paid 5 bucks for had .0002% booze and was all sugar water. That being said I do like lemon drops … ya I’m not sorry about that. So shot ladies take your perfect bodies and bubbly personality’s and get out of my face. I did not come to Sully’s for a perfect ten …. I came for a solid 5 but I am willing to drop to a 2 as the night goes on.
That rose lady … is she still alive? I got talked into a baker’s dozen of those stupid cheap roses over the years. I always avoided her like the plague … almost pretending I was blind at times so she would leave me alone.
So, all these complaints aside I still loved the bar. Fun times. I still miss it today.
Sully’s Shutdown and Sully’s Today
Over the years the Sully’s crowd was gone … no line anymore, nor angry jocks pissing all over the restroom, yet they still has a cover .. WTF? I am not paying 5 bucks to go in and just be with the other 5 dudes in the bar. Covers are for something fun inside. Before Sully’s shut down, they did have great happy hour specials. They had a great buffet selection that you can choose from food ranging from pizza to appetizers and they also had a great selection of craft beers that were super cheap. The buffet unfortunately was being taken advantage of by families in the area that would come in and just eat and not drink anything. Eventually Sully’s put a sign saying if you’re not drinking you are not allowed to take part in the happy hour buffet.
Sully’s shutdown as the bars liquor license was revoked due to $174,000 of back taxes needed to be paid. I feel like back in the day they made that money in one weekend. A bar with no booze equals no patrons in the bar and then a closed bar. You got to pay your taxes man!
I am sure there is more to this than I know but I feel like the dying crowds was the main cause. Did Sully’s fail to change with the times? It did always seem very 90’s but I liked that myself.
Now when I drive past Sully’s the patio is full of homeless people (actually they took most of the patio out so no longer full). This is such a sad shame … can someone bring it back? Can Peoria get their head out of their buns and stop trying to collect the back pay in taxes and let a new bar open or revive Sully’s? What does the inside look like? Is it trash now?
This post is some about the closing of Sully’s but also my fond and not so fond memories of being there. Sadly, I lack images of most of this debauchery which is actually kind of good I think. Please send us your Sully’s photos and your memories and I will add them here.
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