The PopCulteer
July 26, 2019

Longtime readers of PopCult may know that Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, is a big fan of SpongeBob Squarepants. I like the little yellow bastard, too. Back in the long ago days when the two of us were writing “Animated Discussions” for the Charleston Gazette, we had transitioned to mainly writing movie reviews by the time SpongeBob made his TV debut, so we didn’t devote too much time to watching the show or writing about it.

We did review the first movie, but it wasn’t until I got Mel the cast recording of The SpongeBob Squarepants Musical that Mel became almost evangelical about the denizens of Bikini Bottom. We even made a trek to New York last year to see the musical on Broadway (you can read about that HERE). We even have a SpongeBob unboxing video coming your way soon.

My point is, we loves us some SpongeBob Squarepants.

Last week while we were in Chicago (exactly a week ago as I post this) Mel found out that a bar in The Windy City had converted a backroom into “The Salty Spitoon,” the rough and tumble bar for tough guys in the SpongeBob cartoon. It was a block away from a stop on the Brown Line in Lincoln Park, and we were headed that way anyway, so as soon as they opened last Friday at 3 PM, we stopped by for a Krabby Patty and took tons of photos.

Replay, The bar playing host to this art installation with food and drink, is a pretty amazing place. It’s a bar stocked with zillions of pinball machines, video games and other arcade attractions. All the games are FREE, and since they serve alcohol, nobody under 21 is admitted. I mention those two things together because they can both serve as selling points.

Being non-drinkers, this still seems like a great place to spend a lot of time. We might get shooed away after a while, but it’d be fun while it lasted.

Anyway, the amount of detail that went into the pop-up SpongeBob bar/restaurant is amazing. They painted the walls, installed life-sized statues, augmented those with cardboard standees, and they even duplicated the tables and decor of The Krusty Crab. This installation has been extended to August 4th, so if you’re in Chicago you have about another week or so to experience this cool cartoon wonderland in person. This is Nirvana for any die-hard fan of SpongeBob Squarepants.

We took tons of photos (both of us) and we whittled them down to a couple dozen cool images for you to see the wonders of this super neat tribute to SpongeBob. Note that we got there a few minutes early, and that’s why there aren’t many people in the photos. By the time we left, the place was packed, and it was only 4 PM.

The original announcement. It proved so popular that they extended the event.

You still have time to go see this cool enviropub experience.

Photobombed by Patrick and SpongeBob!

We came for the fun, and found it!

There were tons of drinks specials that we didn’t try because we don’t drink. They looked really neat, though.

There was so much Bikini Bottom goodness crammed into every corner.

Even minor characters showed up.

The tables were detailed to look like they’d come out of The Krusty Krab.

Custom-edited videos played on loops the whole time we were there, and there were video screens all over the place.

Sandy, in her dome.

Mrs. Puff and Mr. Krabs (his eyes were doing the same thing that the heat was making your PopCulteer’s eyes do).

The walls were all painted with SpongeBob sky flowers.

The food actually came from a restaurant half a block a way, but it was hot and fresh and tasty!

Yep, that’s the “Imagination” rainbow.

This whole side of the bar was incredible, with the mural on the wall, and the life-sized statues of Patrick, SpongeBob and Squidward.

On the opposite side of the bar was the beach, with sand, jellyfish and Larry the Lobster.

Overhead, The Hoff abides.

The Gary sculpture hung out on top of the time-travel photo booth.

Quick, get the net!

Cool details, like Patrick and SpongeBob in a treehouse, were all over the bar.

Another shot of the bar.

And another shot of the tables.

Amazing detail everywhere!

A parting glance at our new drinking buddies.

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check this blog for all our regular features, with fresh content every day.