ABOUT BLACKIE’S – Alex DeMilio began it all in 1939 and, through the years, four generations of
the DeMilio Family have been involved in its operation. Today, you’ll find the fifth generation running around Blackie’s.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Alex teamed up with a charming restaurateur, nicknamed Blackie, and
together they attracted a clientele ranging from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey to the Harlem Globe
Trotters and Rocky Marciano to the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. Many mid-20th century
celebrities would stop by on layovers when connecting in Chicago via Dearborn train station.
Blackie retired in the mid 1950’s. The neighborhood seemed to do the same. With the closing of
Dearborn Train Station, the demolishing of St. Peter’s Church and the relocation of many printing
companies, the corner of Clark and Polk became a bare spot.
Nonetheless, Alex stayed on until the late 1970’s when his grandson, Jeffrey Thomas, became involved and responsible for introducing the rehabbed Blackie’s to the South Loop/Printers Row. For an artistic touch, Blackie’s features paintings, sculptures, photos and stained glass created by neighborhood artists.
An Art Deco painted door in the northeast corner of the room leads to the party room that is larger than the main room and accommodates 40-150 people. This room features an original Brunswick bar of walnut and mahogany, vaulted ceiling and a staircase that leads to The Normandie Room (aka: The Speakeasy) in the lower level, modeled after the S.S. Normandie Smoker’s Lounge.
“So there you have it: a Classic tavern story. A humble beginning, celebrity appeal, perseverance through decades of urban decay, rebirth along with the neighborhood over the last 15 years, and a damned fine burger” – Sean Parnell, Chicago Bar Project.
Our commitment is to the neighborhood – to provide a friendly atmosphere, free of snobbery and
excessive prices. Welcome to Blackie’s!
The best is yet to come!
Be sure to visit our Private Party Rooms for your next special occasion.
Click here to read about the difference between us and Boston Blackies.