Berta’s Tap Room

October 14, 2009 | add comment

My dear grandpa Woody Berta owned a tavern in Ottawa, Illinois, across from the post office. He sold it years ago, but Berta’s continues on, with a pool table slightly askew and burgers arriving on toasted buns. Local legend Woody makes occasional appearances.

In the Tap Room’s heyday, my grandpa had a small flyer printed by the local Union boys. The front says “Berta’s TAP ROOM” and has a drawing of a bubbly martini glass. The lower right corner reads “Air Conditioned for Your Comfort.” The inside shows a map of the city limits. And the back…the back! It has one gem of a poem, reprinted below. My grandpa doesn’t remember who wrote it, but talk about “atmosphere.”

When you’re startin’ out some evening
And the night is cold and drear…
I’d suggest you stop at Berta’s
For a little “Atmosphere.”

Then next morning bright and early
When the “shakes” are getting’ near:
Yeah…you’re getting smarter, brother,
Woody fed ya too much beer.

When you’re reachin’ for the aspirin
’Cause your stomach’s feelin’ weak,
It’s ’cause Chuck was leanin’ heavy
On the bottle—so to speak.

Then you face the little woman
With those alibis galore…
When she’s finished in the bathroom—
Wipin’ Berta’s off the floor.

But you’re wrong, it isn’t whiskey
That’s got ya feelin’ queer—
Ray just poured an over-dose*
Of Berta’s “ATMOSPHERE”!!

*Ray was one of my grandpa’s brothers

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