In the first part of our series of Eating and Drinking in Chicago, we start with drinking in Logan Square aka Hipster central. Logan Square is where the locals go to drink and eat – easily reached through the CTA Blue Line (yes asshole, you get off at the stop called Logan Square) or a $12 -$15 UberX cab ride. The trek is worth the journey if only to escape Banality Mile. Here is my roundup of where to drink – where to eat comes later as drinking is definitely more important.
2357 N. Milwaukee Ave.
This place looks like a dingey bar from the outside with hipster lights, and the inside is more of the same but in a good way. Featuring a red-lit interior, loud DJs, a $5 photobooth and their signature slightly too-drinkable prebottled cocktails, this charmingly dingy joint is run by the same people behind Scofflaw is an easy place to lose track of your night—and the use of your brain the following day. But you are better than that – get here earlier before the line ups and then bar hopping your way down Milwaukee. slipperyslopechicago.com
Hours: M-Fri 6-2 | SA 6-3 | SU 6-2
2363 N Milwaukee
This relative newcomer features 30 arcade games and pinball machines from the ’80s and ’90s,There is no cover charge, and tokens cost 25 cents for one play This is norm-core incarnate aka hell for some but I enjoyed it as much as a nostalgic high school dance memory, the place is packed and the drinks are relatively cheap. If you start getting hungry, they have parked a food truck in their front lobby to keep you full and drinking. If you can get over the picnic tables and 30 year olds clinging to their youth, you will learn to enjoy this place and maybe even play a little air hockey. Just stick to beer or vodka cranberries (just like in high school). http://emporiumchicago.com/
Hours: M-TH 5-2 | F 3-2 | SA 12-3 | SU 12-2
2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Part storefront, part pretentious art installation, part eclectic music venue, part blah blah blah. This place would be easily skipped if it wasn’t for the craft cocktails. The Whistler is a Chicago destination, just make sure you go early to beat the Friday and Saturday night lines ups or drink on a weeknight like a pro. Once tended by cocktail-savant Paul McGee, the bar continues on with a seasonal menu of fanciful craft concoctions; they make a good old fashioned. The beer selection is solid but in bottles only. And the prices are good. Expect everything from low-key rock, improv jazz, or whispery folk music occupying the tiny stage throughout the week. The bartenders move with careful deliberation (yes, that means slow), so be patient and wait your turn. No one likes an asshole for a customer. whistlerchicago.com
Hours: M-TH 6-2 | F 5-2 | SA 5-3 | SU 5-2
There’s a waterfall behind the bar—enough said. Most people go for the 4 AM last call but it’s worth staying for the 17 beers on tap and the craft cocktails. Unlike the above suggestions, this place tends to get a bit dancey and even a bit too sweaty. owlbarchicago.com
Hours: SU-F 7-4, SA 7-5