Cheers to the Chicago neighborhood bar. The proverbial place where everyone knows your name and friends come out to congregate and throw back a few. Unfortunately, many of these fine establishments have fallen by the wayside as they are victims of gentrification, changing demographics or owner retirements.
But, if you head out to Harwood Heights, right outside the Chicago city limits, you’ll find a neighborhood bar that has literally achieved “landmark” status. It’s been around since 1938 and has served as home base for the many first responders, city workers and others who live in the area.
Located at 5135 N. Oriole, the Landmark Pub has all the requisites of a great neighborhood bar. Cold beer, friendly camaraderie, good food and even live music every now and then.
One of the most popular entertainers to play the Landmark is Richard Shepherd, who has a standing gig every third Saturday night of the month. Shepherd, who goes by the stage name of “Richie Shep” is your prototypical “neighborhood” guy who seems tailor-made for the Landmark crowd.
A former union electrician, Shepherd inherited his vocal chops from his father, Bob. A man who never turned down a cold beer, the elder Shepherd was known for his rendition of “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown” at every family function. And, as the father of seven, there always seemed to be some sort of Shepherd event on the calendar.
So, with this sort of musical DNA, it’s not surprising that Richie Shep has been booked at many local hot spots including Casey’s in Lombard, Three Chef’s in Bensenville, Pizza Barra in Oak Brook and other places in and around the Chicago area.
When not playing pubs and grub hubs, Shepherd works on his material in his Roselle basement. There, surrounded by framed photos of Walter Payton and other Chicago sports icons, Shepherd rehearses both old and new standards for upcoming appearances.
Slated to play at the Landmark on Saturday, April 16th, Shepherd said, “I love singing there because it is a nice, friendly neighborhood bar where everyone seems to leave all their cares and woes at the front door and loosens up to have a good old time.” He added that, “Big John, Eddie, Elke and the rest of the crew treat me so well and I always look forward to every third Saturday of the month because I know it’s going to be a good time.”
Since this IS Chicago, it also helps to have connections so Shepherd was quick to thank his sister, Bonnie and her husband Rocky Salvo for their support and “their awesome friends who make it a point to come see me there.”
One of those making a point to see Shepherd in action is Michael Taylor of Chicago. Taylor said, “there is nothing better than the entire bar singing along with Rich while he sings Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin or even Bruno Mars. He is a classic entertainer and it’s always a fun time.”
Even if you’re not a member of Shepherd’s ever-growing inner circle,you’re bound to receive a warm welcome at the Landmark Pub in Harwood Heights. Stop by on Saturday night and sing along with Richie Shep.