Along with its nightly beer specials, free popcorn, substantial menu (the kitchen closes by 9, however), music seven nights a week (including entertaining open-mics on Wednesday and Sunday), ample seating and one of the area's best bartenders in Charmaine, the Stagger Inn ... Again exudes a friendly, unpretentious warmth that no amount of Jägermeister (and the shots do flow at the Stagger) alone can effect. Every night, old-timers, hippies and ex-high-school jocks and cheerleaders trade stories or watch the ballgame. Even if you show up alone and unknown for Friday happy hour, you'll soon find conversation, maybe even a companion. During the school year, the bar is often overrun with Southern Illinois University students avoiding incomplete coursework, but you couldn't ask for better drinking buddies. And when local favorites such as Farshid Etniko or Roscoe Villa take the stage, the whole bar becomes a party you don't want to miss.
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