A toast to the late, great Clybourne, from one of its early-2000s regulars ...
“Clybourne was the place where I met my wife, Kathleen, almost two decades ago," the Class of 2003's Timothy Bracken writes from Highlands Ranch, Colo.
"It was a Saturday night in late February of 2001. I was a sophomore, and she was a freshman. I went to the bar that night with some friends from my fraternity. One of them approached a group of girls to chat. The next time he came back my way, I asked him about Kathleen, in particular.
“He knew her from Scott Hall, the same dorm in the Six Pack where I had lived the prior year. He introduced the two of us on the second-floor mezzanine, the area with windows overlooking Sixth Street. The rest is history. We have now been married for over 13 years, with three happy kids to boot.
“Given the role it played in our relationship, Clybourne was our favorite bar for the rest of our college days. And we reminisced often by returning for wine nights and other fun times out on the town. After we graduated, it was a spot that we made sure to visit during campus reunions.
“For Homecoming 2005, we skipped the night football game against Penn State in favor of sitting at Clybourne’s first-floor bar and watching my beloved White Sox play in Game 1 of the World Series. For Homecoming 2017, I organized a guys-only trip back to Champaign with many of those same fraternity friends who were with me that night back in 2001.
“It was my first time back to campus since we had moved west years earlier. After attending the football game against Wisconsin that afternoon, we made sure that Clybourne was part of our bar-crawl schedule later that day.
“The place was exactly as I had left it years before. Since my wife was not with me on the trip, I went to the same spot on the mezzanine where we first met and snapped a selfie to send to her. I didn’t know at the time that the Clybourne’s days were numbered . The bar was closed in September of 2018, and demolished in December of 2018.
“While this reality is sad, change is commonplace around campus. We’ll keep our memories of the sticky floors, rap music and dollar bottles.”