Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Ice Box Saloon

Published in May 1908 in the Grand Forks Daily Herald out of Grand Forks, ND

CHICAGO HAS THE
 SMALLEST SALOON
  Smallest Saloon In World Is Abandoned
 Ice Box and Is Doing a 
Rushing Business.

Chicago, May 5 – “Hey,” said Adolph, the melancholy bartender, yesterday afternoon, “don’t sit in that corner of the saloon or she’ll tip over.”
The fat man moved nearer the center of the ice box, called a saloon by courtesy, which is located at West Lake and Halsted streets.
The “saloon” had teetered considerably when he was in the corner, but when he moved to the center it righted itself and everything was secure again.
Chicago’s unique saloon, an abandoned ice box, was doing a rushing business Adolph Block, the man who owns the “ice box,” the smallest saloon in the world, was not present. Adolph was down town trying to “square” the building department. However, his bartender, Adolph Bindar, was on duty and he was willing to tell his tale of woe.
“You see this saloon,” said Adolph, waving his hand in one grand sweep in such a manner that it swept over the bar, free lunch counter and beer keg, all of which stood in different corners of the room. “It is beholden to us,” said a Teutonic customer as he blowe the foam of his beer out the front window. “We made it out of an ice box and are staying here until they build a building on this corner,” resumed Adolph, ignoring the interruption. “The first day of June I bet we have a place where the free lunch won’t get in you hip pockets when you are standing at the bar.”
“It’s a good thing the sun ain’t shining. If it streamed in here there wouldn’t be room for all of us,” said the fat man.
Just then there was a knock at the door.
“Who is it?” shouted Adolph, the melancholy.
“A building inspector,” was the hoarse response.
“Wait until I put one of the customers out so you can come in,” said Adolph, an on a straw vote the fat man was forced to go out reluctantly into the rain.
However, after much maneuvering, the building inspector found that he could not get in unless he took off his star. Then he was able to get into the barroom.
“In 25 hours you have got to tear this thing down. It is a violation of the building laws,” said the building inspector. His voice filled the room and several men threw out the free lunch in order to give more breathing space.
This left some room for conversation.
“How’s business?” asked the building inspector, with an expansive smile which struck the bartender a glancing in the face.
“The license is about $3.50 a day and the receipts $2.50. The boss made an agreement that I could have half the profits I owe myself money,” said Adolph.
The inspector took another drink and the “ice box” became actually stuffy.
“Good-bye. You hear my warning,” he said.
Leaving no room for a reply, he departed.
Now it happens that Peter Batzen, former building commissioner of Chicago, is putting up the new building where the “ice box” will soon have roomy quarters. Mr. Bartzen told the bartender that the building was all right last night and that it should not be torn down.

At 7 o’clock Adolph closed up shop. He took his bottle of whiskey, bottle of gin, license and best box of cigars, and started for his home. There is no lock on the door of the little saloon and Adolph fears burglars more than the building department.