Cozy neighborhood bar with regular live jazz. Cash only.
Hungry Brain is one of the coziest spots in Chicago. You've probably passed this small bar over and over and never realized it was there. Its interior is comfortable and lit with the glow of beer signs and Christmas lights. Soft chairs surround retro Formica tables adorned with candles, and before the smoking ban, big old-fashioned ceramic ashtrays. The liquor bar is stocked to mix the standards, but nothing too fancy. The bar instead focuses on a wide selection of reasonably priced craft beers. The stage by the front of the room is adorned with big comfy couches, but on Sundays is cleared off for sets by some of Chicago's best-known jazz musicians. There’s a couple of old-school arcade games tucked away into the Brain’s dark corners, a rock-leaning jukebox, and a relaxed cement patio out back during the warmer months. —Luca Cimarusti