Ike's Bar 12/20/17

Owner Tammy Bell poses for a photo at Ike's Bar in Charleston on Wednesday.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

CHARLESTON -- Tammy Bell is a traditionalist when she sees Ike's Bar.

The establishment had been a longstanding feature of the Lincoln Avenue strip, but more importantly to Bell, it was always a traditional bar. For her, it was a place she saw people share memories.

"It was a home away from home for a lot of people," she said. "There's a lot of people over the last 70-some years that have actually met their spouses here, made their best friends here, celebrated things here."

The Mother's bar owner started her career in the bar scene in 1996 as a bartender at Ike's and since has played one role or another at Ike's for most of her adult life with the exception of a seven-year period away.

So, when she was afforded the opportunity to take ownership of Ike's, she knew she wanted to instill the same feelings she and others had in the place years ago.

Andrew Phipps, the previous owner, had sought her out to take over the bar and she accepted earlier this year. It was serendipitous for her to take over and continue what Ike Kennerd, the original bar owner, had in mind when he made the bar.

And over the last several months, Bell said she has been making changes to return the bar back to the way she and others that have returned to see it remember it. This included returning the old booths back to where they originally sat on the east side wall.

"For me, that is what Ike's was," Bell said. "Ever since I can remember and even before that, people would get snuggled into those booths for an afternoon or an evening."

Since, she has also made a completely different menu during dining hours with a renovated kitchen. Other than learning to get better acquainted with social media, though, Bell said she will continue to ensure that the atmosphere of Ike's that she fell in love with as a bartender all those years ago never changes.

She said she plans to "make sure it always remains Ike's."

Ike's Bar is open from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday with a closed kitchen at 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until midnight.

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Reporter

Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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