|The Red Lion Pub in Chicago's Lincoln Park on 2446 North Lincoln Avenue directly across from the Biograph Theatre|
|John Cordwell aka "Cordwell the Elder"|
|Donald Pleasance who played the forger based on John Cordwell in The Great Escape|
|Barbara Gaines founder of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre during their inaugural production |
of Henry V in 1986 on The Red Lion's upstairs patio.
That little troupe that started outside on The Red Lion patio grew to be one the world's preeminent Shakespeare Companies performing in front of 225,000 attendees each year and doing outreach to 40,000 Chicago area school children. I have much more I want to say about Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and will do so in a couple of upcoming posts.
|Colin Cordwell, Red Lion Pub proprietor, aka "First Lord of Chicago Barkeeps"|
|The late Christopher Hitchens aka 'Hitch' who stopped in one memorable evening |
and discussed Great War poetry with Colin over Macallan 18
|Not a very good picture taken during a pre-opening party July 11, 2014|
Lighting now much more subdued!
The old building had fallen into severe disrepair after 120 years and in 2008 had to be closed down and rebuilt. There were many complications but finally Colin got a new building erected and opened only about 3 weeks ago. I can report that the new building's interior feels new and different but with the many bookcases bulging and the spruce beams it has the wonderful ambience of a very clubby library. There is now a little music (such as the Beatles) that hovers unintrusively in the background but it remains a saloon for conversation. The front room is known as The Great War room with some memorabilia commemorating Colin's grandfather, a highly decorated British soldier, wounded (bayoneted) at Gallipoli. There is a wall devoted to his father's exploits during WWII and upstairs is The Africa Room in honor of his mother, a noted Africa Scholar, with some artifacts from her travels there.
|The cozy upstairs Africa Room|
|I donated this Dr Johnson portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds that is hanging prominently |
over the main floor in a frame I will soon be replacing with something more suitable.
Colin says he feels more like a steward than owner and he is the gracious host that makes you feel even more than welcome...like you belong. For me, it would have a special place in my heart regardless but I did donate a number of my favorite books: Complete Shakespeare, Harvard Classics, and many works either by or about my hero Dr Johnson who, as I noted in a previous post, famously said: "There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."
|Directly across the street from The Red Lion is the famous Biograph Theatre where John Dillinger was gunned down by|
G-men in 1934 after 'The Lady in Red' gave him up. That crowd above has assembled around the corpse.
***GSL has no financial or official involvement with The Red Lion Pub of any kind.