Anyway, Grain Belt and the former Viking Bar are our first entry. Lileks jokes about the sign being in Dutch, but at one point it said "From perfect brewing water." As he notes, this bar used to have a fairly rough reputation, but apparently some good music. I lived nearby during my freshman and sophomore years, but never tried to drop in. This Flickr user got a great shot that shows that the former owners have gone fishing. It sounds like they at least had a good time on the way out.
Next up is Palmer's Bar. I've also never been, but with those signs, how could I not include it here? This place is literally in the shadow of the "crack stacks" off Cedar. But there has to be a story behind the dandy gentleman depicted on two sides, right?
The most recent Yelp! user to weigh in helpfully tells us that it's a great place to "get shitty," so, yeah, it's got that going for it. It's also listed on something called "thrifty hipster," although I really gotta question just how hipster a website that appears to value the availability of Heineken can really be. Last week I was at Nomad World Pub (no Heineken, thankfully) across the street, and I have to admit, there did seem to be a stream of hipsters on ironic bikes heading in the direction of Palmer's. Although come to think of if, the hipster crowd probably thinks that dude with the mustache is one of them.