Experts in paranormal activity say that 2201 North Clybourn Avenue is rife with ghost activity. Now that Flounders (may she R.I.P.) is gone, the specters have new environs to haunt: the Drinkingbird. A retro sign bearing the new bar’s name is a good sign—who doesn’t want to play Joan and Don baring their inner struggles at the bar? Other gestures—the list of classic cocktails, the upscale bar food—seem to support this inference. There’s a pool table in the back and a cute little patio. Then you get a terrible server inexplicably dressed in cowboy regalia, and you’re seated next to a speaker blasting Kelly Clarkson.
Revise expectations: This is a Lincoln Park bar, not a Mad Men fantasia. And even by those standards, the Drinkingbird’s having a hard go of it. It’s not a great place to eat. At least not for those of us who prefer to eat an appetizer of pork rillettes before our burger, rather than as a dessert, when it finally arrived from the kitchen. (Protests to the server that the kitchen simply abort the rillettes mission were summarily dismissed.) It is, however, a decent place to drink, especially before or after a Webster Place movie. The Drinkingbird executes Singapore slings and Zombies and Tom Collinses faithfully; if only the rest of the bar stuck closer to the ’60s template.