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June 14, 2006 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Cool bars in Chicago near the Auditorium Theatre?

So, going to go see Radiohead the 19th/20th. A bunch of people would like to meet up before/after the show......all is fine and dandy except no one can agree on a place. Right now it seems to be the Elephant & Castle. Alot of people are pretty "eh" about that choice, but no one really has any other good ideas. The only criteria I really have at this moment is "Not a chain" and "less old-timey".

So, any ideas? I guess we want something hip but not too trendy, not overpriced if possible, laid-back, pretty close to the Auditorium Theatre, yadda yadda yadda. And, of course, I'll get extra "Thanks, Windigo!" points if I can suss out the Place Radiohead Are Most Likely To Show Up (*snort*)

Help me? Please? I don't really care where the hell we end up at, but yes, I'd prefer to not go to a higher-level (any level, really) version of TGIF, you know? Also, not the Billy Goat, either.
posted by Windigo to Food & Drink (5 answers total)
I live a few blocks away from the Auditorium.

One option is the W Hotel bar at 172 w. Adams. This is pricey, and not a Radiohead kind of place, but very cool. Swanky and expensive. DJ music.

Another is Kasey's at approximately 600 s. Dearborn. Again, not much of a Radiohead place, but it's genuinely old and smoky, and has a really good beer selection. They have a small outdoor seating area on the sidewalk, too. Keep in mind, it's an Irish bar with an emphasis on sports, but it's old and grubby, and has the best beer selection around. There's a jukebox, and music is always on. About four to five blocks from the Auditorium.

There's a Bar Louie in Dearborn Station at the corner of Polk and Dearborn, a block away from Kasey's. Bar Louie is a local chain, but the location is very cool - in the renovated lobby of Chicago's oldest train station (the building with a clock tower), which I think predates the civil war. Again, not exactly a Radiohead place, but not a bad bet, and they have a full menu of decent, not great, food. I'd recommend sandwiches/appetizers over entrees. Sports on TV, but always music on. Large, covered outdoor seating area.

Across the street from there is a quaint restaurant with a small, but cool bar and excellent beer selection called Hackney's. This is technically a local chain, but it's all family owned around the Chicago area, and their original place dates back to the 40s. Good food, full menu. Also has a nice but small sidewalk dining area.

Also near by but not recommended is the South Loop Club, a sports bar popular with local students.

There's a really old place at 134 s. Wabash called Miller's Pub. It's been there forever and it's huge. It's the kind of place with framed autographed photos of Sammy Davis, jr and Lola Falana hang on the walls next to Jack Brickhouse and Mike Ditka. They have a big menu and have stuff like lime jell-o for dessert. Weird old-school kind of place. Not really recommended, but it's really close to the theater and is a bit surreal. Guaranteed to never hear Radiohead here.

The band will not go to any of these places after the show, I can pretty much guarantee. Perhaps some younger Chicago hipsters (I'm old at 35 now) can help out with where the band might end up afterwards, but these are my suggestions for a pre-show drink or three.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:06 AM on June 14, 2006

damn. jeff nails it. i'd also recommend avoiding ada's --also on wabash.
posted by lester at 8:11 AM on June 14, 2006

By the way, don't go to Elephant & Castle. Fake, fake, fake, and it has a really low ceiling, which I find annoying. I've been there once, wouldn't go back.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:12 AM on June 14, 2006

Don't go to Elephant & Castle. It sucks. I have been there a dozen times and each time I swear I won't go back.

Miller's is actually a good place. I firmly believe they have the best burger in Chicago.

If you go to Hackney's, be sure to get at least one onion loaf and one Hackneyburger. It's not as good as a Miller's burger, but it's a Chicago tradition.

Manhattan's is another bar (Dearborn & Congress), and it was pretty darn good law school hangout in my day. Which wasn't that long ago.

You may also want to try out the venue search on Metromix, if you don't like any of the recommendations here (or if you want more info). I find Metromix to be pretty reliable.
posted by MeetMegan at 3:18 PM on June 14, 2006

I forgot about Manhattan's. It is a dive, to be sure, I've been there many times, with a decor circa 1982. No food. It's an ok place to slum, but I'd go for Kasey's or Bar Louie over it, especially with a group.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 5:31 PM on June 14, 2006

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