Tick Tock Tavern: A Classic Neighborhood Corner Bar
Time capsules don’t usually live up to their hype, but then again they’re not usually disguised as boarded-up corner bars. When the Tick Tock Tavern reopened after 20 years of gathering dust, its new owners cleaned it up without polishing away any of the South City character. It may help that managing partner Thomas Crone is a writer with an eye for photography, food and music. And, of course, for beer. His co-owners, Fred Hessel and Steven Smith, are old hands in the local bar scene themselves.
The wooden picnic tables out front give you an idea of what to expect in terms of décor—simplicity and a bit of kitsch, with some of the visuals straight out of the 1970s, when the original bar opened for its 20-year run. There’s often live music (often featuring the Tick Tock Jazz Band), and maybe a video screening or special event—but mostly this is a place to hang out and catch up with friends and neighbors.
In contrast to the décor, the beer menu is up-to-the-minute current. Taps feature local craft brewers like Civil Life and 4 Hands. Cans and bottles lean local, too, but they’re interspersed with interesting guest brews from other parts of the Midwest and West. Perhaps best of all (especially after a few beers), the tavern adjoins Steve’s Hot Dogs. Starting Oct. 1, the Tick Tock adjusts its hours to open at noon, keeping pace with the new lunch service next door.
3459 Magnolia Ave.
A version of this story originally appeared in fall 2017 in Guided: South Grand, available in a digital edition.
Images courtesy of Carmen Troesser.