For a college area, Hyde Park does not have many long-established watering holes, though there used to be as many as 39 bars on 55th Street. Woodlawn Tap, which also goes by Jimmy’s, the name of its original barkeep and owner, Jimmy Wilson, is an exception. The bar survived the urban renewal craze of the 1950s thanks to the late Father Jack Farry of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, whose photo graces the wall. Wilson ran the bar until his death in 1999; a year later, Jim and Bill Callahan reopened it. While it’s a touch divey, Jimmy’s isn’t dank. There are several TVs, but it’s not a sports bar, either. Jimmy’s is just a regular bar, which has two remarkable qualities: its endurance and its ability to host all who enter.
Address: 1172 E. 55th St.
Year opened: 1948
Drink of choice:Whatever’s on tap, like Schlitz or Guinness. Don’t bother looking for Budweiser; Jimmy Wilson wouldn’t have had it unless Harry Caray strolled in.
Clientele: University of Chicago students, professors, and administrators come in droves (there’s a maroon crest above the bar), along with plenty of Hyde Parkers and others from nearby.
Song you might hear: At quitting time, it skews classic rock, while after 10 p.m., there’s a tendency toward R&B.