Mike ‘n Molly’s may not be the easiest bar in town to find, but it certainly is worth looking for. Known for its active concert venue status and extensive beer menu, it is truly one of Champaign’s gems. After speaking with owner Mike Murphy (yes, the Mike of Mike ‘n Molly’s) I got to know a little more about what makes this pub such a great place to hang out and rock out.
Mike ‘n Molly’s has been at its present location of 105 N. Market in downtown Champaign since December of 1998. Originally located at 207 W. Clark, the pub always specialized in live music.
Murphy describes the bulk of the bands that frequent this venue as indie rock, but they’ve also recently had bluegrass nights, as well as three attempted jazz nights (sadly, each was rained out). Murphy doesn’t try to hold the venue to any one genre, if a band contacts him they usually get a date. It is, however, important to him that at each bill contain a local band, to keep the Champaign music scene lively.
Murphy made time to recognize CU agents for helping foster local bands and bringing good music to the area. “I have to give props to the local booking agents — Seth Fein, Ward Gollings, Dave Domal and Mike Ingram — when they find a band they don’t have room for in their own place they’re very courteous and kind to send those bands our way,” Murphy continued by explaining the rapport that exists between local venues, “Nobody likes to ignore a good band that wants to come through the area, so if any of us hear about something we can’t take, everybody has been very cool to point bands in other directions.”
If a wide array of delicious beer, a knowledgeable staff, and great music isn’t enough to tempt you, you might enjoy some of their more eclectic events. In the past the pub has been host to theatrical shows, movies filmed in the beer garden, and Irish dancing. You can visit the first Sunday of every month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for live traditional Irish music. Most interesting though, is the early summer event that has been hosted annually at Mike ‘n Mollys for nine years — the Pi Omega Omega Moustache Contest. Contestants come in on shaving days to loose all facial hair, and have to return three weeks later to show what they’ve grown. They are then judged on not only the quality of their moustache, but also their improv skills as they answer silly questions and perform for the crowd.
After enjoying a great conversation with Mike Murphy and getting to know more about this fun and friendly local joint, I asked the important question: What’s the one thing you want Champaign-Urbana to know about Mike ‘n Mollys? “Where we are!” says Murphy, “Take the time to look, Google Map it, or just open your ears on a Thursday or Friday night in downtown Champaign and you can probably walk toward the sound to find us.”

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