Checkers Tavern & Eatery
source: kcrg-tv9
3120 6th St SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
(319) 364-9927
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Top Shelf Awards Results


2,262 businesses

  • 2012 Best Neighborhood Bar 3rd Place
  • 2012 Best Breakfast nominated
  • 2011 Best Neighborhood Bar 1st Place
  • 2011 Best Breakfast nominated
  • 2010 Best Neighborhood Bar 1st Place
  • 2008 Best Neighborhood Bar nominated

Map & Directions


  • Monday:
    11 am - 1 am
  • Tuesday:
    11 am - 1 am
  • Wednesday:
    11 am - 1 am
  • Thursday:
    11 am - 2 am
  • Friday:
    11 am - 2 am
  • Saturday:
    8 am - 2 am
  • Sunday:
    8 am - 12 am

About this Place

Believe it or not Checkers tavern's story actually starts out with APCO PLUS; a convenience store. After over a decade in the convenience store industry I saw an opportunity to possibly open my own store. With the financial assistance of the gentleman who owned the property I was in business. Yes, it was January of 1990 & what is now Checkers tavern was a convenience store owned & operated by me, P.J. Harrington.

Long story short, due to many factors the convenience store closed. Basically the Iowa Department of Revenue called and somewhat insisted. Something about not paying state taxes or something of that nature.

Having given my word to the property owner, also known as the guy I owed a pile of money to by that time, I needed to come up with something else. Granted, bankruptcy was the practical and easy thing to do. I was flat broke, but it just wasn’t the right thing. So, instead I needed to find another business for the location & building size. Something I could operate. Something that could generate enough revenue to keep itself afloat, permit me to repay the huge pile of money I owe the property owner & provide me with a basic living.

After a lot of market and business research the bar business seemed to be the best answer. I developed the idea into a project and pitched it to the property owner. Although I did still owe him a huge pile of money, I did need a bit more to get back in business. Eventually he gave me a very tentative OK.

So I started to remodel the convenience store into the bar. I had to save & reuse everything, even nails. I was fortunate to have had help from family & friends. We worked for almost a year and ½ with no electricity in the building. But it was starting to slowly take shape.

Then it was time to come up with a name. A unique identity. Something that will tie in with the primary market area. Something doable with a budget of nothing. Racing was it. I love racing! It’s very unique. It’s close to Hawkeye Downs, breweries sponsor racing and have some supporting point of sale items. I thought, "I can paint the ceiling and other stuff checkered. I’ll come up with a race kind of name & race promotions."
An that's how the first racing themed bar in C.R. was created.
But, we needed to be more than a racing bar,.....Much More & We ARE!

After a bunch of other less than fun stuff. Blah, blah, blah. Checkers tavern opened in July of 1994. I hired an employee towards the end of October 1994. I started what came to be known as Blue Sunday in January of 1995. We become a charter supporter & assist in the operation of the Hawkeye Downs Hard Charger Award Series in 1996.

The place is doing just what it was set up to do. I can operate it. It just keeps itself afloat. It's repaying the property owner the huge pile of money I owe him. And I get a basic living out of it. [Believe me, I wish I made ½ as much money as people think I do.]

PLUS, there are the things I didn’t expect. No, I’m not referring to the all the bad stuff from day to day [and there is no shortage of that]. I'm referring to the people. I have been fortunate enough to having met so many wonderful people. I truly can’t mention this enough. There are lots of great people from the area that frequent Checkers tavern, some most everyday. To all of them I Thank You. There are many wonderful people from all over the country and the world that have stopped in to Checkers tavern. To all of them I Thank You. To the one very special person, I met at Checkers tavern & eventually married at Checkers tavern, my wonderful wife Pam who also works with me at Checkers tavern, I Thank You & I Love You far beyond words.

In 2006 we expanded the bar just a bit. Making Checkers tavern even more customer friendly. We added 700 sq. feet, a bigger stage area for our Live Music & Karaoke, Bigger New Restrooms as well as a Full Kitchen featuring $6.49 Daily Lunch Specials ( includes drink) Nightly Dinner Specials, Fresh Burgers, WINGS (with numerous delicious sauces), RIBS hickory smoked right here PLUS Sandwiches, PIZZA (very soon)
& The BEST BREAKFAST at the BEST PRICE Every Sat. & Sun..
We Invite everyone to stop by & be pleasantly surprised by CHECKERS tavern & eatery.
For 18 years as YOUR Race Place & More,....Much More!

That's a bit of Checker's tavern history, actually the quite abridged version. (2006, updated 2012)


Jul 26