At O'Rourke's in Chicago, Will Kilkeary played host to literati and local legends Roger Ebert, Mike Royko, and Studs Terkel.
By: Legacy Staff
3 years ago
The gin-soaked dive bar where writers meet to argue, commiserate, and engage in generally self-destructive behavior is a common fixture in America's literary history.
O'Rourke's was one of the best.
The man behind the madness was Will Kilkeary, described by writer and film critic Roger Ebert as "a friendly little guy" who ran a bar that on a given night might be serving the likes of "Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, Nelson Algren and such visiting firemen as Robert Novak, Pat Conroy and Tom Wolfe."
After running O'Rourke's for nearly 15 years, Kilkeary moved to rural Wisconsin in 1979, according to Sun-Times obituary writer Maureen O'Donnell, and began publishing his own poetry. The poems are still available on Kilkeary's website, where he bills himself as the poet laureate of LaFarge, Wisconsin.
According to his obituary, Kilkeary had fallen out of touch with the O'Rourke's crowd, but one would hope that he found a bar, coffee shop or diner in town where he and other writers could still gather to share their passion for the written word.