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Street Level

What to do and where to do it in Lincoln Square and North Center




Atlantic Bar & Grill This all-things-to-all-people spot has all the usual trappings of an American Irish pub—fireplace, darts league, passable shepherd's pie, and a dozen beers on tap. The sister bar to the downtown Celtic Crossing, it's family owned and remarkably friendly. On a recent visit Rosie, a fire-haired barmaid with a real brogue, brought out house-made potato chips still warm from the fryer.  Sat 10 AM-3 AM, Sun 10 AM-2 AM, Mon-Fri 3 PM-2 AM, 5062 N. Lincoln, 773-506-7090, —Jonathan Mahalak

Bobbie's Runaway Up the street from the flashier Leadway is this tiny shot-and-a-beer dive, notable only for nightly beer specials (a featured $2.50 domestic bottle each weeknight; 5-for-$12 buckets on Sundays).  Mon-Sat 10 AM-2 AM, Sun 11 AM-10 PM, 5305 N. Damen, 773-271-6488. —JM

Cafe Muppet The exterior, with its tinted glass and neon beer signs, is strangely compelling: what mysteries lie inside? At least one—according to the bartender, there's live Bosnian and Serbian music on the last weekend of the month, but though that's when we were there the only music we heard was a barrage of hair metal from the jukebox. The squared-off bar in the back corner serves bottled beer only and is off-puttingly cramped, but it does leave room for the busy pool table, which seems to be a real draw.  Daily 9 AM-2 AM, 5155 N. Lincoln, 773-728-2354. —JM

C & S Four booths and a rail are all that make up Chuck and Sharon's cozy if unremarkable dive, where the '85 Bears remain the heroes of the day. Darts, video bowling, and a jukebox provide the entertainment. Cash only. Mon-Sat3 PM-2 AM, 5053 N. Lincoln, no phone.

Carola's Hansa Clipper The neighborhood's history as a German enclave is apparent in this friendly dive bar, which features seven German beers on tap and decor from the old country. Alongside, though, are nods to a changing demographic: bags tournaments on Tuesdays, an open mike on Wednesdays, Golden Tee, and a dog-friendly policy. Sat 10 AM-3 AM, Sun noon-2 AM, Mon-Fri 10 AM-2 AM, 4659 N. Lincoln, 773-878-3662. —JM

The Globe Pub This North Center spot seemingly shows every professional soccer game played anywhere in the world at any time (rugby, Australian Rules football, and plain old American sports get their due as well). Team scarves cover virtually every inch of wall space that's not behind a flat-screen TV, and European beers are available from a huge, ever changing list (the vast majority in bottles). The back room, another full-size bar, draws crowds for open mikes and a pub quiz. The menu is standard pub fare along with "traditional selections" like chips and curry and chicken potpie, with breakfast on weekends. The Globe is also the home bar of the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Red Stars; $15 will get you a shuttle to Toyota Park. Sat 11 AM-3 AM, Sun, Mon-Fri 11 AM-2 AM, 1934 W. Irving Park, 773-871-3757, —JM

Goldie's Bar The brown awning sports a martini glass logo, but the $1 Pabst pints all day every day are a better indication of the flavor of this place. Cash only. Sun-Fri 6 PM-2 AM, Sat 5 PM-2 AM, 3839 N. Lincoln, 773-404-5322. —JM

Heuttenbar The lederhosen have definitely been exchanged for business casual, but this alpine-lodge-inspired institution is an authentic alternative to the larger beer halls in the area. Proximity to the Brown Line and strong German beers like Spaten and Kutscher Alt on tap make for a lively happy hour, and during warmer months the mirth spills out onto the sidewalks through the open windows. Mon-Fri 2 PM-2 AM, Sat-Sun noon-2 AM, 4721 N. Lincoln, 773-561-2507. —JM

Hidden Cove Anyone who's been out too late north of Irving Park Road has at one time or another been pulled (or pulled someone) into this late-night karaoke bar, most likely with mixed results. Trivia and Golden Tee draw an after-work crowd, but on weekend nights the swaying masses still pack the place despite of the cheesy lighting and deep-fryer waft. Sat 11 AM-5 AM, Sun-Fri 11 AM-4 AM, 5336 N. Lincoln, 773-275-3955. —JM

Leadway Bar & Gallery The decor here is a tempest of metalwork, copper fixtures, brushed aluminum, tile mosaics, and paintings, along with other flourishes like the grille of an old Pontiac GTO protruding from the back bar, an aquarium stocked with piranhas, and a neon Homer Simpson. There's sidewalk seating for those on the verge of a stimulation-induced seizure. The Leadway serves reasonably priced pub grub and hosts an open mike on Wednesdays as well as occasional live music.   Sat 4 PM-3 AM, Sun-Fri 4 PM-2 AM, 5233 N. Damen, 773-728-2663. —JM

Margie's A refreshing relic of the area's blue-collar roots, this third-shift bar has done little to keep pace with gentrification save adding some flat-screen TVs. Frosty mugs of Old Style remain the preferred drink ($2, $1 on Monday), and regulars who know each other well enough to ignore each other abound. There are two pool tables; cash only. Sat, Mon-Fri 11 AM-2 AM, Sun noon-8 PM, 4145 N. Lincoln, 773-477-1644. —JM

Ricochet's Standard sports-and-pitchers place that pronounces itself an antidote to pretentious spots with expensive drinks and trendy food. The requisite darts, TVs, and cute-but-approachable female bartender are in place, but so is a sense that Ricochet's is comfortable in its skin and doesn't really care what you think. Sat 11 AM-3 PM, Sun-Thu 11 AM-2 PM, Fri 1 PM-2 AM, 4644 N. Lincoln, 773-271-3127,

Saint Pauli Club A velvet Elvis looks over the eclectic crowd drawn to this 4 AM dive, and the long, racetrack-shaped bar makes it easy to keep an eye on everyone in the place. A regular to my right slurringly informed me that the Saint Pauli Club was the best bar in the world. I can't remember exactly, but I think I slurred back to her in full agreement. Upon sober reflection, though, that may be a tad hyperbolic. Cash only. Mon-Sat 10 AM-4 AM, 5019 N. Lincoln, 773-769-1922. —JM

Sunnyside Tap This odd little time warp looks like it hasn't had a face-lift since around 1988. That means Spuds McKenzie and other vintage beer swag that doesn't show any sign of purposeful curation. The jukebox even holds 45s. The bartender says she doesn't keep regular hours, sometimes coming in as early as 9 AM, other times not till 1 PM, and while the tap's licensed till 2, she often closes early. Cash only. 4410 N. Western, no phone. —JM

Time Out Sports Bar This formerly forgettable divey sports bar on Rockwell is now a bustling spot with hardwood floors and cafe-style doors that open onto the street. It's also become an (apparently) fashionable après-softball place, with good beer specials ($6 domestic pitchers on Wednesdays and Fridays) and plenty of TVs.  Sat 3 PM-3 AM, Sun-Fri 3 PM-2 AM, 4641 N. Rockwell, 773-583-4888. —JM

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