The Daily Illini

Champaign’s Clark Bar brings family feel to Downtown Champaign

Clark Bar is located at 207 W Clark St, Champaign, IL and is open 5 PM - 2 AM Tuesday through Saturday.

Clark Bar is located at 207 W Clark St, Champaign, IL and is open 5 PM - 2 AM Tuesday through Saturday.

Ethan Scholl

Ethan Scholl

Clark Bar is located at 207 W Clark St, Champaign, IL and is open 5 PM - 2 AM Tuesday through Saturday.

By Elyssa Kaufman, Staff writer

The Clark Bar has been transformed many times from a list of restaurants to rental apartments and even a house.

It is located at 207 W. Clark St. in Champaign and has been owned by Lynda Worner for around 17 years.

Worner said this ever-changing space is unique and unlike any other bar in town.

“It’s not so much like a total bar scene, they feel like they are in someone’s living room,” she said.

Clark Bar has been open for nine years. Before Lynda changed it to the current name, the space housed many different restaurants ranging from Indian to Asian to American food.

Worner said some of the restaurants were called Scooner’s, Mike and Molly’s, Spencer’s and E.C.’s. She said it was most recently titled Basmati and served Asian food.

“I think it’s a little bit different than most of the other bars in town,” Worner said. “It’s a little more laid back, a lot of people feel comfortable bringing their kids in.” Worner clarified children do not stay late.

She runs the Clark Bar with the help of her daughter and other employees.

“We all work together as a family,” Worner said. “We all wait on each others’ tables and work together, it works out really well.”

Taylor Worner, Lynda’s daughter, explained when she thinks of the Clark Bar, the TV show “Cheers” comes to mind.

“Everybody always calls us their “Cheers” bar because everybody knows everybody and everybody feels very at home,” she said.

Taylor said the live music brings in different crowds with people of every age.

“It’s always a big melting pot of people,” Taylor said.

Throughout her five years working at the bar, Taylor has played many roles. On top of the role of assistant manager, she is a bartender, server and runs the marketing for the bar.

The bar features comedy shows Wednesdays and Thursdays, karaoke on Fridays and Saturday and live music every night from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Ethan Gardner, head chef at Clark Bar, said he is most proud of the steaks and thinks they’re one of the best options on the menu. 

“I love working a busy shift during a great band and getting off of work to go and hang out with amazing people who really love our food and supporting us as a local family-owned business,” Gardener said.

Lynda is most proud of the patio, which serves as a performance space for local bands in the summer. The concerts have become so popular, Lynda had to expand the concrete to accommodate the large crowds.

“In the summertime, our patio is just packed full. People love it,” she said.

The little gazebo that is located on the outside patio was the first gas station of C-U. Lynda said it used to sit in the current location of Fannie May Chocolates in Champaign. Her friend bought the gazebo years ago and moved it to the Clark Bar.

Taylor explained how her mom makes the bar a home for many. She describes her mom, Lynda, as the “mascot” of the Clark Bar.

“Everyone comes in to hang out a do a shot with Lynda,” Taylor said.

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