News

6/recent/ticker-posts

Header Ads Widget

The Best Neighborhood Bars in Chicago

 

 

The Best Neighborhood Bars in Chicago

Worth the Trouble



Hello, Chicago.

So I guess the reason Chicago asked me to write this essay was the fact that I was at the Old Town Ale House the night that a film I was in won best picture at the Oscars. Which means I must love Chicago or bars or Chicago bars or booze or something. And, of course, that is the truth — I love all those things. Except booze. We have a more ambiguous relationship.

I started acting in Chicago when I was 16, which is a tad over 30 years ago. Everyone in the plays I was in tended to be 8, 10, 15 years older than me. I thought they were the greatest people in the world, and they took me under their wing. That’s when I started going to bars. (The statute of limitations allows me to say this without anyone getting in too much trouble, I hope.)



I remember my first trip to Moody’s Pub after a performance. Ravenously hungry, I ordered a burger. And to drink? … A beer. Soon enough I found myself at the L&L Tavern on a regular basis. That’s where everyone went after their shows in Lake View, where there were so many theaters. It was a dive bar full of geniuses and eccentrics like you might imagine at New York’s White Horse Tavern in its heyday with Dylan Thomas slurring his eloquent speech. And the jukebox — the first time I heard Iggy Pop sing “Down on the Street” was off the L&L jukebox. Sometimes I would climb up the side of the building it was in. The next time you drive by, just imagine me hanging off the side like Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan. Thrilling stuff.

I found my way to Old Town back when they had pinball and all the bartenders were older women: Pat, Jeanette, Michelle. They were kind but blunt, with no time for nonsense, but they managed to seem genuinely concerned about you.

I have to mention: Sergio Mayora! Weeds! Poetry night with Gregorio! And poetry night with Marc Smith at the Green Mill!

I think I passed my word count. The point is, I love Chicago bars. They can be a lot of trouble and lead to mountains of heartache, confusion, and malaise. But they’re worth it in the long run, as far as I can tell. — Mike

Michael Shannon has starred in movies and shows including The Shape of Water (that Oscar winner for best picture), Nine Perfect Strangers, and Bug. He has appeared onstage locally at Steppenwolf and A Red Orchid Theatre.

Vote for your favorite bar!

Candlelite Chicago

Candlelite Chicago


The large neon sign on Western Avenue, just south of Evanston, that perpetually wishes someone a happy birthday or anniversary is difficult to miss. Candlelite Chicago, founded in 1950 by Italian immigrants, was originally a gloomy, divey tavern that also managed to serve as a romantic hangout for a couple's night out. It is now owned by Pete Vernon and Patrick Fowler, who took over in 2012. It is a pub and restaurant that attracts people of all ages with its warm environment and exceptional thin-crust pizza made in the tavern style. An ex-Blackhawks player watching the game, your favorite NBC-5 or ABC-7 newscaster getting a drink at the bar, or Evanston's public officials simply trying to fit in with their constituents may all be seen on any given day.

ADDRESS: 7452 N. Western Ave.
YEAR OPENED: 1950
DRINK OF CHOICE: Beer, like Gatecrasher IPA from Evanston’s Temperance Beer Co., because it goes best with pizza
CLIENTELE: Everyone from local celebs and pols to families
SONG YOU MIGHT HEAR: “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and Run-DMC



Simon’s Tavern

Simon’s Tavern

The customers at Simon's took a little break to celebrate and greet one another when President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection victory was revealed on television. After that, everything resumed as usual, with middle-aged couples winding up their date night, youthful theatergoers having a good time with a little too much vigor, and the regulars keeping the bar stocked. Simon's is, in a word, unflappable. It maintains the same spirit whether it's crowded with Christmas goers searching for their glögg and ginger cookies or hosting a few locals sipping quietly on beers on a weekday. One of the city's oldest bars may be haunted, but if so, the ghosts here could be the chillest ones anywhere; all they may have left to do is finish their drinks.

The customers at Simon's took a little break to celebrate and greet one another when President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection victory was revealed on television. After that, everything resumed as usual, with middle-aged couples winding up their date night, youthful theatergoers having a good time with a little too much vigor, and the regulars keeping the bar stocked. Simon's is, in a word, unflappable. It maintains the same spirit whether it's crowded with Christmas goers searching for their glögg and ginger cookies or hosting a few locals sipping quietly on beers on a weekday. One of the city's oldest bars may be haunted, but if so, the ghosts here could be the chillest ones anywhere; all they may have left to do is finish their drinks.

ADDRESS: 5210 N. Clark St.
YEAR OPENED: 1932
DRINK OF CHOICE: Hot glögg in the winter, glögg slushies in the summer, or a beer and a shot year-round
CLIENTELE: Anyone who enjoys leaning — on the bar, on the jukebox, or against the wall waiting for the bathroom
SONG YOU MIGHT HEAR: The staff regularly switches the jukebox CDs, which can range from the Cocteau Twins to Lana Del Rey


https://www.chicagomag.com/bestbar

The Kedzie Inn

The Kedzie Inn

The Kedzie Inn accomplished the exceedingly tough challenge of becoming a new dive – it's just been operating since 2018. Most dive pubs require ID at the door when patrons are over the legal drinking age. Brisku's Bistro's former location was taken over by owner Jon Pokorny, who transformed it into the ideal tiny dive bar. From the outside, it seems like any other bar, but as you go inside, you'll discover an excellent whiskey menu, delicious tavern-style pizza, and a Wednesday open mic comedy night. There are many regulars at this sort of establishment, including Chicago Reader food writer Mike Sula, who established the Monday Night Food Ball, a regular event that features independent pop-up restaurants like Pink Salt and Limón y Limón.

ADDRESS: 4100 N. Kedzie Ave.
YEAR OPENED: 2018
DRINK OF CHOICE: G&W Private Stock bourbon. “We sell more of it than any bar in the city,” says owner Jon Pokorny. “Those scoundrels at Rogers Park Social have no claim to this title.”
CLIENTELE: A diverse crowd — much like the neighborhood
SONG YOU MIGHT HEAR: Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” plays during the halftime of every Bears game. Tim Wilson’s “Booty Man” is another favorite.

Vote for your favorite bar!



Post a Comment

0 Comments