During dinner last night at the West Loop’s Blackbird restaurant, a dinner cooked by visiting chef Suzanne Goin, who owns A.O.C. and Lucques in Los Angeles, a friend was lamenting the dearth of what she called comfortable “dive bars” in what she called her “neighborhood.” She lives in a Mies van der Rohe building at Lake Shore Drive near the Hancock Center.
She complained that it was difficult to go out for a night of drinking without spending a small fortune at swanky hotel bars. And many of them, she said, are often full of drunks from the neighborhood anyway.
So we came up with a list, a short one, of comfortable bars with a throwback feel to them in the shadows of the Hancock: O’Neil’s on Ontario, Mondelli’s on Oak, and the Zebra Lounge on State Parkway.
We also paid notice to the dives that have gone before us: Trotter’s on State, O’Leary’s on Dearborn, and Hotsie Totsie on East Division. Where have all the good dives gone?