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drawing of a Green Street sign with lightpost


We say Campustown, Rini Krishnan says ... Wednesday night karaoke at White Horse.

Earlier this decade, it was a “time-honored tradition” for the future director of operations for Fischler Hockey Service, “something that I will both never forget and never remember.”

“It was just a great little watering hole that bonded every man, woman and man-child with the power of intoxicating music and refreshments, alike. It had all the elements of an ideal Hump Day night out — cheap drinks, cheap dates, a giant American flag, a biker with a karaoke machine, clean bathrooms and a collective high tolerance for brutal renditions of Celine Dion. Also, $5 pitchers.

“That place was truly the epitome of my college experience. I don’t know what that says about me, but I’ll take it.”

Campustown is also where ...

— The future president of the Illinois State Bar dressed a little differently than she would later in life in courtrooms.

The ’70s dress code for cocktail waitresses like Paula Holderman at Chances R on Chester Street demanded it: “We waitresses wore very short red, white and blue vinyl miniskirts with knee-high white go-go boots. Before iPhones and even computers, we computed the tabs in our head and gave change from metal coin belts slung low across our hips. A regular group of Champaign police officers would get off the late shift and stop by the ‘back room’ to drink and flirt with the waitresses.

“Around 2 a.m., the bartenders, cocktail waitresses and an assortment of cops would head to an all-night greasy spoon truck stop on North Prospect for bacon and eggs.

“Thinking back on those days, I shake my head and wonder how we graduated and went on to have successful careers — but maybe that’s a life skill we learned at the U of I, too.”

Neal Doughty and the fellow founding members of REO Speedwagon spent an evening or three at the bars. On in particular. “The first REO album was practically written at the Red Lion Inn,” he says.

— Future Emmy-winning ABC News correspondent Steve Osunsami fed his addiction — vinyl.

“To this day, music is my stress reliever. And on campus, there was a great record store near the corner of Green and Wright streets, pretty close to the campus bookstore and next door to Zorba’s, where I tasted my first of many, many gyros.

“It was an old, dark record store with wood paneling and the place where I bought my first CD. In 1989, when I arrived on campus, the store was still selling mostly vinyl and cassette tapes. But that changed in the spring of the following year, when you could walk in, grab a set of headphones and pretty much listen to any CD before you bought it. By today’s standards, this was a stupidly inconvenient way of shopping for music, but I loved every minute of it.

“I spent hours in that store at least once a week, and even though my music world is now completely digital, I still have those first CDs from the Green Street record store.”