Update December 2014: On my first couple review visits to Analogue, I fell hard for Alfredo Nogueira's Cajun food, like the light smoked fish dip, fluffy biscuits served with pepper jelly and a fried chicken sandwich on toast. But the cocktails were kind of lackluster, and certainly weren't the main draw. And then I went back, and back again, at first for the food, then both the food and drinks. The cocktails have gotten better and better over time, so much so that I'm revising my star rating, from 3 to 4. This is a comfortable, low-key cocktail bar, where you can get an excellent cocktail like a bourbon and sherry cobbler and a terrific plate of food. In the year it's been open, Analogue has already become one of my favorite bars in Chicago.—AC
Bar review by Amy Cavanaugh
I was talking recently with one of my favorite bartenders (who will remain nameless), who said I had to go try the gumbo at Analogue, which opened in Logan Square in December. “They put potato salad in the middle, which is just like they do in the South!”
And then I started hearing reports from friends, praising the smoked fish dip, the fried chicken sandwich and the Scotch egg, all of which have Cajun twists.
There hasn’t been nearly as much talk about the drinks, made by Violet Hour vets Henry Prendergast and Robert Haynes. The pair were aiming to open a cocktail bar that’s more accessible than the Violet Hour—“We kind of want to loosen it up here and have more fun with it,” Prendergast told us—and they’re doing it with a short list of drinks, which are well-made and feature four ingredients or less. (Although, a bartender did ask if I “knew what I was getting into” when I ordered the purl no. 1, a bitter beer cocktail made with blackberry, anise and gentian, which makes me wonder why there are cocktails on the menu they don’t expect people to like.)
And I did like the purl, just not as much as other drinks on the menu, like Strike Anywhere, a Manhattan variation made with Yahara Bay V Bourbon, DeMuth Vermouth, Montmorency cherry and Angostura. Analogue is the only place in the city you can try the new Letherbee Fernet, and in Double Take it’s mixed with Letherbee gin and Punt e Mes vermouth. But the standout drink is Good Morning, Captain, a complex cocktail made with Ed Hamilton’s funky Jamaican gold rum (which was one of our favorite finds at the Indie Spirits Expo last fall), blackstrap molasses, tobacco and a whole egg.
But after ordering a table full of food, I know why everyone has been focusing on Alfredo Nogueira’s (Flipside Café, Rootstock) menu—it completely steals attention away from the drinks. The smoked whitefish dip is bright and lively, and you pile it onto a Saltine and top it with hot sauce. The spicy Scott, Louisiana is a soft-boiled egg wrapped in Boudin sausage, which is served with pickled peppers and creole mustard. The gumbo is laden with shredded chicken and housemade Andouille, and the potato salad cools the spice. The only miss was the mushroom debris po’boy, which had so many French fries it tasted like a fry sandwich covered with mushroom gravy, lettuce and tomatoes so out of season they looked white.
Later in the evening, a DJ goes on in the booth over the door. Hoping to avoid that, we went early in the evening on two visits, but even at 7pm it’s really dark and the music cuts into conversation. We wished for more light and quiet to fully rhapsodize about the gumbo, but Analogue is primarily a bar and the trappings of the bar must come with it.
|Venue name:||Analogue (CLOSED)|
2523 N Milwaukee Ave
|Opening hours:||Sun–Mon, Wed–Fri 6pm–2am, Sat 6pm–3am|
|Transport:||El stop: Blue to Logan Square. Bus: 56, 74.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.5 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Perhaps it was my experience, but I wasn't too impressed with Analogue like others were when I went for Brunch on a Sunday. I went with a group known as "Geek Girl Brunch" which that in itself was a fun event with discussion of the movie: Captain America - Civil War among other fun topics. That being said, the atmosphere was nice, the seating was a little limited although it wasn't packed and they were able to accommodate our group of ten. The food itself was pretty decent. I had the chocolate chip French toast and I had a coffee cocktail called "Mom's Best Friend" which consisted of coffee and scotch. My meal cost close to $20 which is fine for a higher end breakfast but I have had better meals for lower prices and heavier proportions. A fellow diner ordered an orange juice for $4 and the serving was very small. Overall while its not the worst option out there, I didn't feel it lived up to its praise and I would rather go to breakfast at Ann Savers or brunch at Orange.
The cocktails and the Cajun-style menu are the draws for this sparsely decorated Logan Square spot. The sazerac, made with Rittenhouse Rye, is good enough to get me in trouble. And seriously, don't sleep on the biscuits and pepper jelly.
Went here for brunch with friends and was blown away. The homemade biscuits with pepper jelly are phenomenal. If you try one thing on the menu, it has to be the biscuits. The cocktails are superb, The More You Learn is my favorite. I got the Ham Hock Hash for brunch and it was fantastic. Definitely stop by and give this place a try.
Analogue is a wonderful spot for drinks, and in summer, the small patio is a perfect escape in Logan Square. As a vegetarian, the rotating cocktail menu is honestly why I come here, though the restaurant does usually have an option or two for those who are not into Cajun-style mainstays.
Most of the people I know are aware of Analogue’s great cocktails, which stands to reason as they’re among the finest in a neighborhood that is swimming with solid mixed drinks. Few of them know about the great Cajun-style food that is served from a small kitchen in the back. The menu is simple, unpretentious and filled with the kind of food your body craves after a stiff drink. Start with the flaky biscuits (served with an addictive pepper jam) and the fried chicken sandwich, served on white bread instead of a superfluous bun.
Analogue has super legit cajun food, a solid, strong cocktail list in a cute atmosphere, and a super friendly staff. Their brunch is one of my favorites in the city and usually not super crowded. They’ve got an iced Cafe Du Monde coffee and Fernet cocktail with cream and mint that is the perfect hangover cure along with fried chicken piled on fluffy biscuits. For dinner, their dirty rice is spicy and has incredibly deep flavor and their mushroom po’ boy is my go-to even though I eat meat. Make sure to grab any boozy slushy drink on tap!
Why are you reviewing bars if you're so ho-hum on the bar thing? That's just strange. And if it was so dark, how could you see the tomatoes?
I've been to Analogue a number of times. The staff is amazing, the food even more so and the drinks most of all! I've never had a less than superlative time. I'm sorry you missed the boat!