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Photograph: Calbee Booth

Neighborhood bars

Use this checklist to find out if your favorite bar qualifies as a hoodie.


It’s in your neighborhood. Not on the perimeter, not on the main drag, but in the neighborhood. Like G&L Fire Escape (2157 W Grace St, 773-472-1138), it should blend in so well with the homes around it that you walk by a few times before noticing it’s there.

It’s on a corner. Think about it: How much less cool would Inner Town Pub (1935 W Thomas St, 773-235-9795) be if you couldn’t call it your corner tap?

There’s a stuffed animal’s head somewhere—a moose or a bear or, like at the Charleston (2076 N Hoyne Ave, 773-489-4757), a goat. And it has a name (Juan).

Random spreads of takeout—pizza, barbecue, Chinese, whatever—occasionally pop up on a corner table.

You’ve never seen the bar empty, not even at 11am.

The bartenders have no idea how to make a Moscow mule. Go ahead, we dare you to ask for one at Chipp Inn (832 N Greenview Ave, 312-421-9052).

The bartenders are friendly…

…but you get the feeling it’s best not to get the details of their life.

If it’s a place like Gallery Cabaret (2020 N Oakley Ave, 773-489-5471), there may be entertainment. But the “entertainers” are often people who live within a few blocks’ radius.

Somewhere in the bar, there are holiday decorations. From 1982.

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