Chicago | 2005

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to own a bar (vintner). To me, my brother (Paddy), owning a bar was better than being the President. Even before I wandered into my first college bar I knew I wanted to be a part of this lifestyle. It is here that I belong, to me it meant being somebody in a neighborhood full of thirsty people. We aren't like anybody else, we do and we drink what we want. Shots on Tuesdays, waking up between 2 and 4 p.m. It's a party everyday, and there's no one to tell us no. We're living a fantasy.

I'm Big Miech. I run the place for my brother Paddy who is the boss over everybody in the bar. Paddy might drink slow but that's because he doesn't have to drink with anybody. At first our parents loved that we found a job/lifestyle in the in the bar industry. You see our folks are from Ireland, born and raised. They came here "to the big America" to live the dream life. My mother was happy because she found out that the Irish whiskey we were selling at our bar was the same Irish whiskey that her Uncle was selling at his bar back in the 'old country. I was the luckiest kid in the world. I could go anywhere and drink anything. I knew everybody and everybody knew me. Wise guys would belly up and toss $100's across Paddy's bar. I was part of something, I belonged.

Then along came the gang. There was P-funk, Shot-crash Lex, Stroy Rory, J-Dancer, Jr., Q, Tee Wee, Riggsey, Risky, and The Cuz . We were learning something everyday. How to pour shots, make a cold martini or a mean manhattan. A few years into it and our family grew bigger and better. Nickie Brown Eyes joined the family and she brought her gals Bang up Jen and Lovely Lox .

Paddy hated promoters. He wouldn't have them in his swanky lounge. He had such great bartenders and staff. All they did all day long, was take care that their customers were happy and Paddy's bar was full. Everything was one on one. If you came into Paddy's bar, you came into his family. Hundreds of regulars came in to see Paddy and the gang, and the bar got a piece of everything. It was like a tribute just like in the Old Country, but here in America. And what they got from Paddy was protection. Protection from other bars trying to rip them off and with bad service. That's was it is all about. Good service, friendship and family. A home away from home. And that's what the big franchise bars will never understand.

It was a glorious time. The wise guys were all over the place. It was when I met the world.

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