So I have to be honest. I am not a dive bar kind of guy.
I like my Crown Royal inside of a Manhattan, and I like my juke boxes filled with Sinatra. I like hardwood bars, beer in snifters, and I wear jeans with loafers.
I own more fedoras than I do shoes. Yep, I’m that guy.
But I also moved far north and by the lake because I love living by the beach, I love hearing the Red Line go past every four minutes outside of my bedroom window and love the realness of Edgewater. We don’t have the popular tourist bars, or large wing/cheesecake-chain joints (OK OK, we now have a whole foods with a bar at it). Just local watering holes where the bartender usually knows your name and there is probably an annoying game of trivia going on while the game is on.
One such watering hole is Ollie’s. Just hop off the Red Line at Berwyn and you can literally throw a rock at it.
Ollie’s is truly a hidden gem. No literally… it sits across across the street from residential apartments on Berwyn, if you blink you’ll miss it. You’ll do a double-take if you walk up on it by mistake since it’s in a largely residential neighborhood, but once you look up and see the Schlitz sign and divey exterior you’ll know good times will be had there.
When you go in and sit down, you’re greeted by Miss Ollie herself, who will gladly uncork an Old Style for you and give you a glass to pour it into (classy right!). You’ll also get a small bowl of pretzels (or peanuts, or whatever they put out) and get to listen to the regulars talk about the Cubbies and other random things going on around the city. There’s also a dance floor and jukebox playing on some nights along with a pool table on the dance floor. Usually it’s pretty laid back, but on the nights where the music is spinning, it actually can transform into a nice little lounge with music – and R-Kelly in heavy rotation. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from the typical half naked bartender/flights of beer brewed in-house type of place.
But don’t take it from me; Next time you’re up north in the city, get off at Berwyn and go in for an Old Style and partake at a piece of Edgewater history. Tell Ollie we said hi!
Link: Section of Berwyn named after Ollie’s Co-Owner
Link: Chicago Kayak Tours
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Link: Booze & Baseball at SluggersAd: The Love for Chicago Photo Shoot is awesome