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Summary

The best kept secret in Urbana, Bunny's Tavern is a townie bar with history. It was opened in 1936 as a men's bar and has developed into a local hangout where everyone from lawyers to construction workers enjoy burgers, beer and good company.

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Their Story

Bernard “Bunny” Fitzsimmons opened Bunny’s Tavern in downtown Urbana in 1936, just three years after the repeal of prohibition, when taverns were places for men to smoke and have a drink after work. Back then, the menu featured daily specials for just 35 cents, draft beers for 10 cents and packaged liquor to go at the drive-thru window.

Since 1936 Bunny’s has gone through four different owners and several major renovations, both interior and exterior. The bar has been expanded, the bathrooms revamped to be suitable for women, a heated outdoor patio installed and ten flat screen TVs put in, so regulars can watch both the Cardinals and the Cubs. The neon sign that sits atop the roof, however, is the original - restored and returned to its perch in 2004.

Bob Venable and Ben Manns, both graduates of Urbana High School, own the place now and can be found behind the bar on most days. After seven years at Bunny’s, first as manager then owner, Ben says the regulars have become like family. “If they don’t come in, you’re worried about them,” he says. “We’ve become invested in one another’s lives.”

Bunny’s has regulars that have been coming in for over 50 years; according to Ben, you can go in today at 4:30 and two months from now at 4:30 and you’ll see the same faces. It's the hometown bar that people flock to after high school football games and class reunions.

A great thing about Bunny’s is that it isn’t exclusive – in a single day, you’ll have third-shift nurses come in at 7am after work, retired locals stop by in the afternoon to play the slots, lawyers drop in during dinner for chicken sandwiches and students turn up after midnight for drinks and fried food – the only common factor is that everyone is nice.

Bunny’s has a different “Blue Plate Special” every day of the week during lunch, with meatloaf on Wednesdays and beer-battered walleye on Fridays. The grill is open until 9pm during the week and 10pm on weekends and fried food and pizzas are available until close. Stop by Bunny’s on a Saturday for some live music or any day of the week to try their award-winning beer chili, and discover why Bunny’s really is the best kept secret in downtown Urbana.

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Customer Tips & Comments

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  • so happy to see Bunny's on Noshfolio! I haven't tried the food yet, but it's a great place for casual drinks and hang outs in the evening!

    Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8 6 Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8

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  • Bunny's Porker. Tried it a month ago and it was as good as eating at Black Dog (just my opinion though!).

    Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8 5 Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8

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  • It may seem more like a bar, but the burgers are seriously good here. I also like that there are locals hanging out – makes for a fun atmosphere for newcomers!

    Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8 4 Profile comment vote icon 367a9842ffa7ba829026cb7e7a9ed64bfbaacb05319028b1672285bbe38c0fb8

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Hours

Monday - Sunday
9:00am - 2:00am
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Bunny's Tavern

Profile map address icon 11f0cd8aebea22e6f57dcb7b0690cddd49ebcf99c3db82a221d0a2bbc49f9202 119 W. Water Street
Urbana, IL 61801

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