The cozy bar, located on the Evanston side of Howard St, has left a lot of the nonsense of the current cocktail movement behind. This is a good thing. Where Ward’s forebears still write shaming rules (“No light beer. No Grey Goose.”) and dictate that bartenders wear vests, Ward bartenders have no dress code, and their rules (“Please don’t shout”) are nothing but polite requests. This lack of pretense (which was always a benefit of drinking at the late Andersonville bar In Fine Spirits, where Ward owners Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer used to work) is just one of the charms here. Others include the frosty coupe the well-made Hemingway cocktail comes in and the high-flavor, low-maintenance bar menu. The room is small and warmly lit. The bartenders are friendly and serious. The cocktails are practiced and perfect. But at Ward Eight, none of this is presented as a big, important deal. Here, the spectacle surrounding cocktail culture has been rubbed away, revealing a way of serving drinks that actually feels new.
|Venue name:||Ward Eight|
629 Howard St
|Opening hours:||Wed–Sat 5pm–midnight; Sun 5pm–11pm (closed Mon, Tue)|
|Transport:||Bus: 97, 206.|
|Price:||Average cocktail: $9|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.5 / 5
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Costly classic cocktails and food in a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge.
Ward Eight is a dark and brooding spot imbued with a mainly cheerful attitude, almost purposefully hidden and marked only by a small, square deco lion's head trademark in black on white hanging over their door.
Often straight ahead jazz is playing, either recorded or live, a nice touch.
Stand or sit at their small bar, at a small, cramped table, or out back in nice weather. You are your waiter and must order and pick up drinks and food at the bar no matter where you settle.
They mix up some delicious if overpriced (especially for their location) drinks. It's truly unfortunate that for all their cocktail making expertise Cody Modeer the owner and his underling Jason can be such jerks as people. As other reviewers attest, their manner of dealing with customers can be truly offensive. Anders and most of the other guys are charming and delightful drinking facilitators and companions.
They have a good, very limited food menu, with sweet natured Pedro the bar grill expert at the helm.