Whalen's' historic past went up in flames when a fire ripped through the landmark watering hole this past August. A favorite of NoCo locals and college students from UMSL (located just down the road), the bar had operated as Whalen's for a good 30 years and under various other names for a good 30 years before that. But spill not a tear in your beer over the bar's recent misfortune. David Field, owner of Whalen's, plans to reopen better than ever in the coming months -- not that the bar had much room for improvement. Located in a stone building designed to look like a miniature castle, Whalen's had long been a fortress of escapism, offering up ice-cold brewskies, deep-fried bar fare and enough good cheer to make you forget most of your troubles. The place also had the warmth of Grandma's house, with its stone fireplace and knotty-pine décor. We can only hope the owner will try to recapture that theme upon the bar's reopening.