Admittedly, I kind of hate every bar I go to. Not because I’m a bar-snob (I’m a little too uncouth to be a snob of anything), but because I hate people. And places. Going places with people just makes me uncomfortable.
So what criteria are bars in this list judged by then? If I can walk up to the bar and take a seat without completely sweating through two shirts–if it’s comfortable enough to ease a bit of my anxiety–then it’s a good bar. Plain and simple. It also helps if they have random crap hanging on the walls. I like random crap. What isn’t considered though is food. We’re talking about bars here: if you want a great meal, go to a restaurant, you loser.
3224 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-2512
Whirlaway Lounge is the perfect neighborhood bar. Kept nice and clean, it’s one of the friendliest establishments around (thanks to Maria behind the counter). It’s also been around for about thirty years, protecting it from any new, annoying trends that might pop up. It’s so good-natured, that even the clientele is composed of decent human beings.
This is not always something you can say about a great bar.
2338 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Cole’s is my favorite bar. So, you know, there ya go. I don’t even know how to put my feelings for Cole’s into words; that’s like asking someone to define, finitely, why they love their spouse. “Yeah, sure, they take care of me and keep me in line and help me clean out my ears on occasion and that’s why I gone and married ‘em.”
My relationship with Cole’s is like that, except for the ear part. The place has a worn look that makes it feel more cozy than it does anything else, and it’s always spot-less. It’s like that cool state college bar that the frat guys DIDN’T go to (though I’m sure Sigma Phi Epsilon would enjoy Cole’s). A decent drink list and prices that aren’t too expensive also help Cole’s feel comfortable.
Cole’s also has a really sweet stage in their back room, making for great events that are always free. Check out a great band sometime, or get up there yourself on Wednesday nights during the best damn comedy open mic in the city.
The Orbit Room
2959 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618-7702
The Orbit Room is a place that always seems to be playing something I like over their speakers. Sometimes it’s a classic punk song, other times you’ll hear a mesmerizing crooner. It’s nice, kind of like the bar itself, which has the same gritty feel of a punk song, but also enough style and panache to suit the Rat Pack.
And I know I said food doesn’t matter earlier, but the Orbit Room has some great eats. My personal favorite: the Teriyaki Pulled Pork.
2421 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-2627
The Whistler is the place I go to with friends who actually care about what they drink. This is because they have some of the best cocktails in the city, and they’re not break-the-bank expensive. Gin-Gin Mule seems to be a favorite, a gin drink (obviously) with ginger liqueur, lime, ginger beer, angostura bitters and mint. Viking funeral is another popular one among my friends, which I assume is because of the name, but it also happens to taste good, so that helps.
Vikings are so cool.
Longman & Eagle
2657 N Kedzie Ave
Longman & Eagle’s shining quality in my eyes is their whiskey selection. I’m usually content to drink any ol’ crap, but it’s okay to change things up once in awhile. They also have great food, which totally has no bearing on their inclusion on this list, but I can’t NOT mention it. What kind of food you ask? “American fare,” which, as far as I can figure, means that they put a lot of bacon on things.
Bacon is almost as cool as Vikings.
Here we are, at the end, and I undoubtedly forgot to mention your favorite bar. By “forgot,” I mean to say that I totally, purposefully, left your favorite place out. I don’t like your favorite place. Your favorite place makes me feel uncomfortable. I worry that the customers at your favorite place stare their bad vibes into my back like rusty cutlasses as I sit at the bar. I don’t like the way they dress, or smell, or anything about them. One time I was at your favorite place and the bartender sneered at me. It’s not my fault the man/woman the male/female bartender was hitting on was more interested in me than them. I can’t hide my charm. That’s not how charm operates. I can be more charming, but never less charming, but you don’t understand how that works, because of your bad taste in bars.