Tip, Top, Tap a reminder of heyday of Chicago nightlife - KMSP-TV

Tip, Top, Tap a reminder of heyday of Chicago nightlife

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Time for another edition of Classic Chicago, where we feature the people, places and things that make our city special.

Tip, Top, Tap. Have you ever seen the sign that towers above the Chicago skyline?

It's an iconic part of Chicago history.

The skyscrapers were fewer in the 40's and 50's. The buildings less imposing but nightlife downtown was alive and well at places like the Tip Top Tap, at the Allerton Hotel.

"It was the place to go, it was the place to go. Tip Top Tap," said Hazel Barr.

An elegant presence on the Chicago social scene for decades, Barr remembers the Tip Top Tap well. But for many, the name Tip Top Tap doesn't resonate. And for good reason - it hasn't been open for business since 1961. Yet the sign remains. It's an iconic reminder of a different time and place, a link to old Chicago.

You can still find a few artifacts from the old days. Clay Spencer is the General Manager of the Allerton. He's the steward of the iconic sign which he says will never go away nor will the memories of the days when drinks at the hottest joint in town set you back 75 cents.

"We have not only people that what to know what it is, but they also come in an share stories about their experience in the Tip Top Tap," Spencer said.

Marilyn Monroe stayed here and likely visited the Tip Top Tap. The same goes for Jimmy Stewart and Jerry Lewis. Not much to see on the 23rd floor these days - a terrific space for meetings and events. But aside from the views, any connection to the glory days is difficult to find. The sign will have to do.

"That's the wonderful thing about Chicago, there's old Chicago and new Chicago," Barr said. "But old Chicago will always be wonderful. Tip Top Tap I hope they never take the sign down."

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