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Plan in Motion to Restore Hank's Alley Saloon

Sunday, November 12, 2017 - Posted 9:37:14 AM
Minonk native Zachary Meyer is initiating a project to restore the building that formerly housed Hank's Alley Saloon located on the alley on Fifth street between Chestnut and Walnut streets. Below is his write up.


Over the summer a group worked to clean out the old Hank's building on 5th street in the interest of understanding if the building is able to be salvaged. While it will be a large undertaking, we have decided to pursue our goal of restoring this building.

The restoration goal is to return the building to is original purpose, while not competing with other local businesses. The bar will only operate on a limited basis and not serve food, instead it will aim to highlight the past. This will be achieved by restoring the exterior of the building and decorating the interior with old Minonk pictures and artifacts.

Last Sunday, November 5th, we shared our building restoration idea on Facebook to gauge the interest in the project. Many people reached out and asked us to post on for current and past Minonk residents who may not be active on Facebook.Thus far, we have received an overwhelming amount of support. There have been 150 "Mug Club" mugs pledged (See details on Mug Club below) and over half of the supporters have also generously offered to donate their time.

Above is the interior of the alley saloon over 100 years ago when it was run by "Tonica" Ryan shown here with his little daughter Marie Ryan in the front who was a 5th grade teacher in the Minonk Grade School from the 1930s to 1960s.

Please see our original Facebook post below for more details on the project:

Facebook Post - Hank's Restoration Project

It has been 6 years since a fire destroyed 8 buildings in downtown Minonk. Not only did it displace several businesses, but the fire also took with it some classic, century old buildings and the memories and history that those buildings contained. It is in the spirit of reclaiming a history-filled building and rekindling the memories that we are entering into this restoration project.Over 120 years ago a two-story masonry building was built in the center of Minonk's bustling downtown. This building was a popular meeting place for many Minonk residents, especially the coal miners who frequented the saloon after their shifts in the mine. Whether it was called a saloon, pub, tavern, or tap since the late 1890's this classic building has been home to many successful "watering holes". Unfortunately, in 2012 the physical bar was removed from the building and sold, however some interesting characteristics, like the original tin ceilings, still remain.

Presently, this neglected building has sat empty for several years and we have the unique opportunity to give it new life and provide a face-lift to a building in the center of town.

Our Plan:

The goal of this project is not to make money, but rather restore a building that is sorely in need of some attention. The plan is to operate the bar as a business, however any profits will be reinvested in both the interior and exterior of the building and ultimately improve the appearance of our main street.

While the original oak bar that locals admired is gone, we have obtained a unique bar to place in the building. The new bar was manufactured in Ireland and was last in service during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at an irish pub called Johnny O'Hagans located in Wrigleyville.

Above is the bar that already in storage ready to be put into Hank's.

In an effort to gauge community interest and raise money upfront for the restoration of the building we would like to pre-sell lifetime membership mugs. A lifetime mug club membership is a $100 one-time membership fee. Mug club members will receive a 20oz glass mug with the bar's logo on the side and their unique membership number on the bottom. The mugs will be displayed proudly in the bar and available to their member when they visit. Visitors do not need to be a member to enter, but only mug club members will be able to drink out of their specific mug identifiable by the number on the bottom. Mug club members will pay the same price per draft as a traditional 16oz pour and receive the extra 4oz at no charge.

Our plan is to start the renovation in January of 2018 but we need your help! If you would like to support our restoration project please pledge to purchase a mug. If we receive enough pledges to make this project feasible we will redeem your pledge of $100 in early January of 2018. Follow the link below to pledge your support of this project and find us on Facebook @ Hank's Restoration Project.

If there are any questions feel free to contact Zach Meyer:

Email -
Phone - 309-242-0540