By Mason Johnson
I don’t begrudge Blackhawks fans their fun. Your team won! Awesome! You deserved the parade today.
I am however afraid to leave my house tonight. It’s Friday. I deserve a drink. And I have no desire to walk into every neighborhood bar just to find it filled with red jerseys and drunken Hawks fans. Again, Hawks fans deserve their celebrations! But that doesn’t mean I have to celebrate with them.
Below are a few alternate suggestions that hopefully won’t be too filled with drunken revelry.
2338 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
You’ll find more young musicians confused by the fact their train was filled by a bunch of people in Blackhawks jerseys (“Did they win a game or something?”) at Cole’s than, well, hockey fans.
Cole’s is easygoing. Feeling like a small college town bar that got somehow dropped in a big city, the hip and the young enjoy plenty of PBRs and cheap beers on tap at Cole’s. There’s a small stage in back, so you might have to put up with a performance or two, but Cole’s is pretty great at providing some of the best, free, up-and-coming bands in Chicago.
2319 West Belmont
Hungry Brain is a great bar with a dark, rustic feel to it.
I don’t really know what rustic means, but I feel like it applies well to Hungry Brain.
Cheap drinks, nice bartenders; they don’t accept credit cards, but they’ll be your friend for a night. Hungry Brain also has a stage, where you’re liable to see comedy, poetry, podcasts or music, though I don’t think anything’s going on tonight. This is a good place to go when nothing’s goin’ on. Just sit your butt down in a stool and listen to what the regulars have to say.
960 W 18th
Chicago, IL 60608
Sure, Simone’s has television screens, but you’re more likely to see old tapes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than you are a “sporting” event. (Note: I’ve been reminded that the back room with its flatscreens draws a decent sports crowd. Avoid the back room!)
The bar is a patchwork of retro, making you feel like you’re in the future as determined by 1980. They’ve got great food for meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus plenty of beers on tap. If you are nerdy or hungry or thirsty or all three or maybe just two out of the three, Simone’s is a great place to go!
That isn’t a fancy name for a bar. I think I’m going to go home, grab a six-pack (or two) on the way, then take a nice, warm bath. The water might get cold and the bubbles may disappear, but I’ll be too lazy to get out — I don’t mind being pruney. If I’m adventurous, I might even bring the laptop with me and watch Netflix. Who knows.
No, you can’t come with.
Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago