Chicago: Bar Hopping in the Ukrainian Village
Before we started our Chicago bar crawl in the Ukrainian Village, we had dinner at Phil’s Last Stand. We had been eating fairly high end on our trip and I was ready for a Chicago dog. Of course I actually got a sausage done Chicago style with the peppers, tomato, celery salt, poppy-seed bun. It also came with a mess of fries. We had the option of doing cheese fries with each of our meals but decided one order of cheese fries would be good for the three of us. As it was, we didn’t — no, couldn’t finish the cheese. It was good but we had booze to get to!
Besides the dogs, Phil’s is know for its Fatso burgers. As far as I can tell, these burgers are named after a now defunct burger chain. Someone correct me if there’s a special meaning about these burgers.
We heard the fried shrimp was great at Phil’s so we got an order. They were good with the piquant cocktail dipping sauce.
For all those food challengers, here’s the Fried Shrimp po boy challenge. If you can finish this giant 2 pounds of shrimp po boy that’s been topped with with cole slaw, fries, drizzled with cheese sauce and served with even more fries, you get to eat it for free. Has Adam Richman been called yet?
Phil’s is claiming to have the best char dog in Chicago. Considering I liked my sausage, I bet the dog is pretty good too.
2258 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 — (773) 245-3287
Caddy corner from Phil’s is Mr. Brown’s Lounge. Ostensibly a reggae bar, I was more intrigued by the Caribbean food. Everyone seemed to be eating the oxtail. I wish I had left room because I love oxtail. Instead, we bellied up to the bar and had a couple of drinks. I was going to stick to mostly gin and tonics all night. I asked for a Beefeater and tonic but got a Jim Beam and tonic (see above). The taste, the brownish color eventually tipped me off. But since I am a whiskey lover, I didn’t mind. But our bartender Sylvester said he’d fix me up. And the ladies with me as well. I had a good time and would go back. Ignore everyone who warns you about that “reggae bar.” They were playing mostly Beyonce.
I had been excited the most about Bar Deville on this crawl because I’ve been following bartender Bradley Bolt on twitter for years. Walking in, I realized right away it wasn’t Violet Hour where he used to work but more of a working class bar. Perfect for our dive bar crawl.
Still, I suppose we expected some sort of classic cocktail knowledge from the servers. Our cocktail waitress was confused by the order of a daiquiri. She pleaded with my friend to get a margarita because she didn’t think they could do daiquiris. I suppose she thought we wanted some sort of blended crap. Then when I asked for a Negroni but with Cynar instead of Campari, I almost thought she was going to ask if I had wanted a beer (Perroni– that has happened before). I eventually had to tell her to just ask the bartender and they’ll know.
We entertained ourselves watching a guy in a Fernet-Branca track jacket try to find his friend (date?). He kept wandering from outside to back to his bar stool.
Our drinks arrived in a timely manner and there was no further awkwardness. We decided not to stay though as there was no way to get seats at the bar. It was a Saturday night. I suppose if I ever went back, it’ll have to be a non-busy night.We had been sharing a big booth with a large party. This is when I discovered women put their money and cell phones in their boots. I suppose that’s the winter equivalent of putting stuff in your bra.
On our first night in Chicago, we told a number of bartenders we were planning a bar crawl. Quite a few mentioned we had to go to Ola’s Liquor Bar. We had no idea what was in store for us but we had definitely not been prepared this was actually a liquor store with a bar. It was fantastic.
There was a mix of people at Ola’s. At first there were mostly young hipster guys then there was a loud friendly group in the corner. Eventually it all gave way to desperate old dudes who just stared at us. Ina was working the bar by herself and didn’t seem to mind the occasional outburst or two.
We quickly put in our drinks – Beefeater & Tonic and 2 Jameson and Gingers. $12.00.
What? That seems awfully cheap but I was assured that’s just how it is in Chicago.
We didn’t attempt the awful looking $1 shots though I did wonder about the Kummel. Perhaps next time!
Ola’s Liquor Bar947 N Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 — (773) 384-7250
Our final stop was J&M Tap. First round – Beefeater & Tonic plus 2 Jameson and Gingers. $11.50. Geez, they might as well be paying us to drink. This was even cheaper than Ola’s! And we loved Ola’s.
However, J&M did feel much safer. There was a bouncer who checked IDs and no one bothered us.
After my Beefeater & Tonic, I had a couple shots of Jameson. I mean, it was just so damn cheap.
This led to snacking. The girls had the free pretzels and candy but I was after something else.
The tamales man came by selling 6 tamales for $5. Oh man, I had to have ’em. I opted for chicken but I would go for cheese next time. These skinny, cigar shaped tamales were really good with a couple dashes of the provided hot sauce.
Check out Jennie of the Happy Hour Tour’s review of J&M Tap.
I’d say our Ukrainian Village crawl was successful.
957 N Leavitt., Chicago, IL 60622 — (773) 235-0499
© The Minty 2013