Toasts of the towns: 12 great places, past and present, to get a beer in C-U

 

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During the Prohibition era, speakeasy establishments were referred to as "blind pigs." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Chris Knight said, the "blind" refers to being blind drunk, and the "pig" comes from a ceramic drinking vessel with two nubs on the end.

So why, when he was set to open a new bar in Champaign in 1990, did Knight decide to name his establishment The Blind Pig?

"I needed a name," Knight said. "'Johnny Wankers' was one of them; I just had some dreadful ideas. It was getting closer and closer to opening day, and I didn't have a name."

It wasn't until after Knight watched a PBS documentary about Prohibition that he eventually settled on The Blind Pig.

"This elderly couple was being interviewed, and they kept referring to blind pigs; I had no idea what they were talking about," he said.

The bar opened on July 27, 1990, at 6 E. Taylor St. The Blind Pig moved to its current location at 120 N. Walnut St. in 2004; another establishment known as The Blind Pig Brewery opened in 2009 at 120 N. Neil St.

"I figured it was a name people would remember," Knight said. "It's kind of quirky and good-humored. It's an easy name to illustrate; it's easy to draw logos."