THE HOST: ANTHONY SPINA
If you've ever been to a night at Beauty Bar, Debonair or Evil Olive, you've probably seen Anthony Spina at some point. His job as a rep for PBR in Chicago means he sees bars and packaged goods stores all over town, but when he has a night off, he'd rather stick closer to home. Spina (a former RedEye neighborhoods blogger) braved a Tuesday night—the only night of the week that scares him because it's so calm—to check out a few of his top picks.
The 'hood: Ukrainian Village & Bucktown
9 p.m.: Innertown Pub, 1935 W. Thomas St.
Decorations still up from New Year's. And Christmas. And Halloween. People snag tables and beers, and pop open their takeout dinners from nearby.
"You've gotta come look at this sign," Spina says, walking back to an oversize frame filled with throwback '60s-, '70s and '80s ads for Clark bars and Pepsi. "The decorations in this place are insane. And everyone just comes in from nearby, rather than heading up to Division to the pricier spots."
10:15 p.m.: The Charleston, 2076 N. Hoyne Ave.
Cabdriver gets seriously lost trying to find this spot. $5 PBR/Old Overholt special. Photo booth. Legit powder room for the ladies.
"This might be a little nicer spot; they've got DJs and a good vibe and cocktails," Spina says. "But it's still very neighborhood. You're not going to come out here from Lincoln Park. You're going to get lost."
11:45 p.m.: Danny's Tavern, 1951 W. Dickens Ave.
The first floor of a two-story house. Scattered couches. Smallest bathrooms ever. Major crowds for themed DJ nights. There's a wake happening when we arrive. Yes, a wake.
"I mean, it's literally a house," Spina says. On the walk out, he points out a small memorial being held for a regular of Danny's Tuesday night party who recently had passed away. "I mean, that's really what a neighborhood bar is. Where else would you be able to do something like that? People feel at home there."