For anyone who is looking for a new place to buy a drink and have a warm conversation with someone in the Galesburg community, Bar 65 is open and ready for new customers.
When walking in, customers are sure to be greeted by Sam Burdick, a 45-year-old man who has been working in bars for 24 years. Bar 65 is the first bar he solely owns along with his partner and wife, Jennifer Burdick.
“She is truly my 50/50 partner,” Burdick says, “I only have to make one person happy and it is that same person I’ve been making happy for the last 25 years.”
The Burdicks had a vision of a family-owned bar where they could start from scratch. After finding out that this location was for sale, they hopped on a major remodeling project that stripped the walls and floors down to the original interior, creating a warehouse look that shows off the 100+-year-old building. Five and a half months later, a hip new bar was opened in the social hub of downtown Galesburg.
What makes the Burdicks the proudest of the new space is how it was made. Everything within the bar was made by hand or by someone they trust. The legs of the tables are actually lamp posts, the bar table is made by a close friend in the Galesburg community and the entirety of the building was put together by Jennifer, Sam and their two kids Mary Hellen, 16, and Mac, 20. Sam explained that the two kids gave up most of their summer to help bring this dream to life.
“It was truly a family effort,” Burdick explains. “They have as much sweat and equity in this place as my wife and I do.”
Bar 65 will only be serving alcohol, but Burdick knew that might deter people from coming. As a solution, Cherry Street and Bar 65 will be working together rather than in competition. If customers want to sit at the bar but order food from Cherry Street, the servers will bring over their order while they enjoy the large drink selection of the new bar. Depending on the business, a server could even come over next door to take the orders. The two owners have known each other since a young age and weren’t going to let opposing pubs tear them apart. The bar is also allowing customers to bring in food from the other surrounding restaurants, including, but not limited to, Iron Spike, Masa and Coney Island.
“I don’t sell food, I sell alcohol. If you want to sit in here and eat the food you want, knock yourself out. I’ll sell you your alcohol to drink while you eat your food, everybody’s happy,” Burdick explains. “Anything that gets people downtown and staying downtown longer is good for everybody in the downtown area, even if it’s just for the day.”
Burdick’s favorite part about being a bartender is the conversations with the customers, and this is why he wanted to make sure the environment was right for talking to each other face to face, rather than over social media. The music is always low so customers can hear one another, and plenty of floor space is used for pool tables, which gets people moving around and taking advantage of the environment.
“The last bar I was at, there wasn’t much going on that literally 12 people sitting across the bar and every one of them was sitting on Facebook. And in here everybody is having a conversation and interacting with everybody,” he explains.
Overall, Burdick and his family are ecstatic to be starting this adventure. He hopes that one day, their children will be the ones to take over the business and keep the nightlife of Galesburg alive.
“I think that a lot of people like the fact that you walk in and it feels warm, it feels inviting, it’s a really interesting layout and there’s definitely nothing else like this in Galesburg right now.”
The Bar 65 is located at 65 S Cherry St.