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Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby jimmy two hands on Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:27 pm

One of my favorites was Johnny's on Lincoln, in either lakeview or lincoln park. Closed down maybe 5 years ago or more when Johnny died. He had to buzz you in to open the door, the jukebox had only a few working songs (Strokin' and some Milli Vanillli thing) and the pool table was covered in newspapers.
There's another one I haven't been to in years, I cant' remember the real name but people called it the Secret Squirrel, on a side street off Augusta in Ukranian Village. No idea if it's there anymore but it was great, it was mostly empty, you could have a conversation without yelling over some bullshit, and the bartenders would often give you a free drink if you'd been there for a while.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby El Protoolio on Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:46 pm

Secret Squirrel is the J&M Tap I mentioned. Was just there over the summer. There’s an article on this page that even refers to it as Secret Squirrel. It’s a common nickname.

http://www.jmtap.com
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Teacher's Pet on Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:48 pm

I'm jealous. They're closing all of our shitholes.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Janeway on Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:08 pm

that article was long as ass.

spyners and hidden cove was where you’d cash me insside!

but not anymore, that’s why i told you guys bout those places
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby yard barf on Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:08 pm

Tommy wrote:
bill bixby wrote:The shit-hole I came to add is "Richard's", on Grand.... For some reason, Chicagoans are still permitted to smoke (?) there, in 2018...


I avoid it for this very reason whenever I'm in the area. They are either somehow milking the "private club" angle or just paying the fines. Marsupialized goes there sometimes.


Rumor is, it's a mob bar and the cops look the other way. I've also heard that there's some serious gambling in the back room or basement or something.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Antero on Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:55 pm

We always hit the Falcon Inn in Hyde Park. Much more of a locals scene, we were the only students who hung out there. Haven't been there in years so god knows what it's like now, but back then you could get a pitcher (of Amber Bock, to which I now have a bizarre nostalgic attachment) and leave a tip with a ten dollar bill, there was cheap pizza through a hole in the wall to the place next door, and the jukebox was always playing rap or soul. I hope it hasn't gotten fucked up.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby strangeone on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:49 pm

Tommy wrote:Are we basically talking any dive bar, or is there a subset category of shithole?

I would say first of all, it's subjective for the mere fact that 'shithole' means different things to different people. That said, it comes down to experience. You have to, in my opinion, been to many a dive bar in order to figure out what the worst is. It's a certain set of parameters that only you can come up with through living through it. So what's a shithole to you ?

Here's another one: Captain's Quarter's, (now defunct) under the el and elevated train tracks at 39th and Western. One of the first places I knew of that served Warsteiner's on tap in the early 80's - anyway, they had a full sized Brunswick pool table, the only one in the area. Killer. I was there one night when some fucker jumped on the table and started air guitarin' to 'Whole Lotta Rosie' that lasted about 30 seconds until the bartender and a few patrons grabbed this guy and proceeded to pummel his face into the floor. Why do folks do stupid things ?
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby strangeone on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:54 pm

^
Last edited by strangeone on Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby sulfur)addict on Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:44 pm

Miller's Tap and Liquor Store on Roscoe was nothing short of the kindest, most exemplary dive this NYE as I waited for the acid to kick in and the Sun Ra gig to start.

Blackhawks game, affable neighborhood barflies ordering Malört, bartender who talked just enough and knew how to tell a brief story.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby numberthirty on Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:04 pm

El Protoolio wrote:That place on Clark st at Belmont across from where Dunkin Donuts used to be. L & L ?


I'm guessing you're talking about L&L Tavern?

I'm gonna go with The Fireside Bowl when they were still having show. That men's room was something else.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby strangeone on Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:39 am

bill bixby wrote:after hitting another shit-hole named Harte's (border of Chicago and Evergreen Park at 99th & Western)

Yeah, Harte's is a classic shithole. The place is a wooden shack garage that looks like it's going fall over. It's a wonder it still passes building inspections. (they must be payin' the fuckers off) The only thing I don't like about it is they keep it fairly bright with the lighting in there, especially around the pool table. While that does accentuate the shitty 2X4 garage décor, I don't like sitting there feeling like I'm in the spotlight. I like it dark and dingy.

Another classic in Cicero was Blue Star Lounge on Cermak. This was one of those low-level mob places that was known to slip you a mickey and you'd wake up on the sidewalk with your wallet gone. So you never ordered a mixed drink in there. Bottle beer only and you better watch the bartender open it. I remember being hit on by a much older lady that had huge tits and she was dressed in leopard leotards. I said no way, figuring I was being set up. Any other place, I probably would have banged the old broad.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Carl on Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:18 am

Antero wrote:We always hit the Falcon Inn in Hyde Park. Much more of a locals scene, we were the only students who hung out there. Haven't been there in years so god knows what it's like now, but back then you could get a pitcher (of Amber Bock, to which I now have a bizarre nostalgic attachment) and leave a tip with a ten dollar bill, there was cheap pizza through a hole in the wall to the place next door, and the jukebox was always playing rap or soul. I hope it hasn't gotten fucked up.


I don't think the Falcon Inn has changed much since my brother and I hung out there playing Galactica in the early 80s. It always seemed more welcoming to kids than, say, Jimmy's, so I hesitate to classify it a shithole. It was definitely lower-rent than the Flamingo or most of the other bars in Hyde Park.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby RSMurphy on Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:19 pm

I like how the OP is naming south side bars. Farthest southside bar that's so far south that it's southeast that I can think of is Mugs Bunny in Hegewisch. Probably closed now, but all the southeast cops and southside punk and metal bands like Tyrant's Reign and Johnny Vomit got plastered there in the 80s. Fucking Mugs Bunny.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby strangeone on Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:30 pm

RSMurphy wrote:Fucking Mugs Bunny.


Fuckin' Mugs Bunny ! The first time I was there was when a buddy of mine suggested it after some music shopping at Hegewisch Records on Torrence. Classic shithole dive bar if there ever was one. Only went there a few times after that. Too far from home.

Here's another: Tank's Pub at 124th and Western, Blue Island. Named after it's primary resident, Tank, who is one of the biggest dogs you have ever seen. English Mastiff, I believe. Rests his head on the bar while standing. Loves his women over the men, of course, and he will bury his face in a women's crotch if he gets a chance. Loves the smell of that pussy. Cheap beer, good pool table, older clientele with a cast of characters as typical in a shithole dive bar.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby RSMurphy on Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:01 pm

^ I bought Ultramega OK and Ecstasy and Vendetta Over New York on cassette at Hegewisch Records. Miss that store.

Little Jim's was a classic gay dive that has now evolved into some wannabe bullshit on the Halsted strip. Hardcore porn on the TV, blowies in the john...miss that place. Went there for the first time with a groupie/hanger-on for the Thrill Kill Kult named Rocky. Hot scene. On our way home the cab driver gave us a baggie of coke. Miss the old Chicago.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Janeway on Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:02 am

^yeah uber wouldn’t give you a goody bag like that or anything, they just don’t let you out until they get your number (eyeroll. im rolling my eyes at uber cause i never took one knowing something like that would happen cause it’s just some dude driving you someplace not like a cab at all. eyeroll)
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby Tommy on Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:27 am

El Protoolio wrote:Hidden Cove. One of the last truly shitty shitholes. It hasn’t changed in decades.

Candelite and the Mark II both on Western just south of Howard and right next door to each other. I love those places they’re so shitty. Don’t ever get a Manhattan at Mark II. They’re stupid expensive for some reason.

Christina’s Place up on north Kedzie.

There’s also J&M Tap in the Ukrainian Village. I was just there a few months ago. Still a dive.

That place on Clark st at Belmont across from where Dunkin Donuts used to be. L & L ?


The people at Hidden Cove take their karaoke way too seriously. WAY. TOO. SERIOUSLY. But you can always count on Strokin'.

Candelite and Mark II are the same as they ever were. Mark II is 4/5 am bar.

Christina's ain't what it used to be. A remodel, shittier people, and Guinness got bumped up to $3. Still a deal! I've played a ton of pool on that table. Not as much as Inner Town, but a LOT.

Almost went to J&M this weekend while we were looking to play pool. Have been recently, same as it ever was.

L&L was in the rotation for me for about a decade from '95-'05. Was known to be frequented by both Gacy AND Dahmer in their times. I've had some seriously fucked up end of night experiences here. Angie from Redgrave currently bartends here a couple of nights a week.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby El Protoolio on Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:59 pm

Re-reading this thread and my post makes me realize that I’ve been to a LOT of shitty northside dive bars in my time.

I am perfectly at peace with this. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Better than having spent the same 23 years since I could legally drink frequenting Trixie and Tad bars from Wrigleyville to the Viagra Triangle.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby yard barf on Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:14 pm

Tommy wrote:L&L was in the rotation for me for about a decade from '95-'05. Was known to be frequented by both Gacy AND Dahmer in their times.


Jesus, no kidding? I went there a lot too. Great bar. That intersection is unrecognizable now with the new condo monstrosity where Punkin' Donuts used to be.

The Foremost Liquors, at California and Milwaukee used to have a tap room (where Subway Sandwiches is now.) That was a dark, dark hole but pretty interesting in a uniquely dismal way. Tap rooms in general can be especially rowdy and stupid.

Anyone ever go to that tiny liquor store on Diversey, just west of the IHOP at California? They had 3 stools at the check out counter. You practically sat in the doorway, and drank next to the cash register. An old couple ran the place. They served shots out of little plastic pill cups. I don't know why, but it was a fun place to knock back a few. Someone would suggest going there, we'd all laugh, and next thing we knew, we were on our way over.
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Re: Best 'shithole' dive bars in Chicagoland

Postby El Protoolio on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:10 pm

I love the shitty old Chicago tap rooms. There used to be two Cut Rates on Division in Wicker Park. Cut Rate on one side and Cut Rate RITE on the other. I think the one on the north side of the street is gone but their mixed drinks were super fucking strong. Basically whatever booze plus a splash of mixer. And cheap. Holy crap.

There used to be this hot dog joint at 1223 Ashland that’s a mobile phone store now. It had a tap room in the back. It was so ghetto.

Speaking of ghetto, Rothschilds on Chicago near Ashland. Also on Chicago on the other side of Ashland is Loop Liquors. Real homeless guy vibes at both those joints. Both are so cheap.

Current King of the Tap Rooms for me is Ola’s Liquors on Damen near Augusta. What a crappy little rat hole in the wall in the middle of Gentrifcationville.

As for basic dives I forgot to mention Zakopane on Division. Also Life’s Too Short on the river but that might be gone now.

EDIT - Yeah the river dive is now some upscle place called “Estate”.
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