When it comes to absolutely adorable buildings, it is hard to imagine one that can surpass Norb Andy’s. It looks small and unpretentious and you need to walk down stairs to get into the pub. It is small inside, just a few tables with a bar that dominates the space. We chose a table quite close to the door and we were near what is obviously the stage, they have live entertainment here. It was an off time, not quite dinner time so there were not many people inside but it was a mixed group seeming to span every age and socio-economic group. The clientele appeared to be friendly and the bartender, who it turned out was one of the owners, Will Decker, was busy making everyone happy.
While the atmosphere is very much that of a bar, a friendly one but a bar, the food selection is certainly a step or two above that. There are a variety of appetizers, salads, soups, the “horseshoe”, sandwiches and entrees. When was the last time you saw a fried walleye sandwich on a bar menu? We decided to start with an appetizer of coconut shrimp. They were very good coconut shrimp, well cooked, heavy in coconut and with a tasty dipping sauce.
Since I have not had a “horseshoe” yet I decided to go for the buffalo chicken pony shoe. My husband had a more traditional pony shoe. My impression of the horseshoe was that this is a man’s kind of meal. It is stick to your ribs and very filling. I didn’t even make a dent in the pony shoe so bring your appetite when you are ordering one. They also offer daily food and drink specials so check out their website.
Norb Andy’s is named for the man who was the owner for the longest time, Norbert Anderson. He was the owner from 1937-1980. It was Norbert who gave the bar its nautical décor and his knot collection is still displayed. Norb Andy’s is an institution in Springfield and is known for its home-style food, cold drinks and live entertainment.
The bar is located in the basement and at one time was a speakeasy. The building is known as the Hickox Building. It was constructed in 1837 as a home for Virgil Hickox. It is rumored that he was a friend of Abraham Lincoln’s great rival Stephen Douglas and Lincoln may even have visited here. And if you believe in spirits, it is said that there are several who are quite active here, with the long history of the building, it would almost be surprising if there wasn’t some other worldly activity.
Parking is available near the bar. It is a little confusing and depending on what time of day it is, it may just be wisest to park on the street which is what we did. If you are planning a visit to Springfield, make Norb Andy’s one of your stops, you won’t be disappointed and you will enjoy the historic ambiance.