Berta’s Tap Room

October 14, 2009 | add comment

My grandpa Woody Berta owned a tavern in Ottawa, Illinois, across from the post office. He and his two brothers sold it ages ago (and he’s since passed on), but Berta’s continues on, with a pool table slightly askew and burgers on toasted buns.

In the Tap Room’s heyday, Woody and his brothers, Ray and Charlie, 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 has the poem printed below. When I asked my grandpa, he couldn’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”!!


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