GRAFTON, Ill. — The Bloody Bucket Saloon in Grafton, Illinois is serving up cold drinks and warm smiles.
Oh, and there is also rattlesnake skin, cash on the ceiling, and antique paintings staring at you.
That is just the start of what makes this dive bar such an interesting stop along Route 100.
The Bloody Bucket’s checkered past is part of the charm. Built in 1863 during the Civil War, the infamous saloon has a history of being a hideout of sorts for corrupt outlaws like Jesse James.
When The Bloody Bucket was falling to pieces in recent years, the Allen family saw a bright future. They purchased it, rebuilt a lot of it, added a new deck and kept the name.
Like the name or not, the owners say it’s part of the history and here to stay. “Legend goes that for minor infractions, they’d lop off your ear and throw it in the bloody bucket. And for worse infractions, you might find yourself in the river.”
The name isn’t the only thing that has remained the same. The money on the ceiling hasn’t gone anywhere. “The story with the dollar bills is that people would come in, if they liked the place, they’d put quarters and a thumb tack in a dollar and throw it on the ceiling.”
They have also kept the gambling going at The Bloody Bucket – a nod to its past.
Just ask the bartender, and you are likely to get a history lesson. The stories from the past are a huge part of the draw for locals.
The Bloody Bucket Saloon is located at 201 East Main Street in Grafton, Illinois. For more information, visit bloodybucketsaloon.com.
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