Best Of 2010

Best Bar Décor: The Bleeding Deacon

Any pub that uses old album covers to house its menus, as the Bleeding Deacon does, betrays at minimum an affection for kitsch. The walls of the Bleeding Deacon, however, up the ante to profound love. Proprietor Mike McLaughlin calls the wall collage his "work in progress": There's at least a dozen beer mirrors, two piñatas and posters from punk shows he himself played in. Over the bar hangs a 1943 Mosin-Nagant rifle with a tiny flag popping out the muzzle proclaiming "Bang!" People often sit transfixed, he says, by the faux Miller High Life featuring lit-up fizzy bubbles ceaselessly floating upward. To the right of the bar, there's a small candle to La Santisima Muerte, a pencil sketch of Eddie Murphy, a clock with Chairman Mao on it and a sort of pennant bearing the face of Vladimir Lenin. To the left of the bar, campaign posters exhort you to vote Vince Schoemel for mayor and re-elect Joseph W. Martino as Eighth Ward alderman. Most memorable of all? The old Vespa scooter mounted on the back wall and its moped counterpart on the front one. "That moped belonged to one of our chefs," McLaughlin says. "It would probably run again, with a tune-up."