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If there's a ever been a reason to revoke a Best of Chicago award, this has to be it. The great, frozen-in-time Bridgeport package-goods bar Kaplan's Liquors, aka Maria's, aka Best Dive Bar Full of Dummies, just underwent a significant makeover, according to a press release sent out by art impresario Ed Marszewski, son of Maria herself:
This DIY redo features a significant remix of the former bar's interior design. And old art deco cooler has been refurbished and moved to the front of the store and you can access the bar through the cooler door. There are some nice features: chandeliers made of beer bottles; recycled hardwood benches; hand crafted butcher block tables; and Mike's beer can collection is featured in the bathrooms. Local artists' work adorn the walls, and a vast network of artists, musicians and cultural workers of all stripes DJ each night.*
Lost in the news is the tragedy that the hundred of dummies and marionettes from brother Mike Marzewski's collection—the ones that presided over the bar like the collected cast members of your weirdest and worst nightmares—have been mothballed.
"We decided the only dummy staying was me," Ed reports, though his mom and her charming pals will still be working in the liquor store.
The new space, redubbed Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, has been open for week, but the grand opening is Friday, and features Bobby Conn, Julie Pomerleau, and DJ Joe Bryl. It starts at 7 PM.
Still, it's a sad day for dummies.
*Contrary to earlier reports Paul McGee of the Whistler did not work on the new cocktail list.