Drop hypes its music schedule, which features a DJ seven nights a week. (Hilary Higgins / RedEye )
1909 N. Lincoln Ave. 312-291-9584
Rating: 3 (out of 4) Off to a good start
Oh, those dreaded two words: "Last call!" When I'm at a bar late enough to hear them, they're usually met first with confusion—"What time is it? Oh my god!"—followed by a scramble to order one last drink before cabbing home. Late-night bars are few and far between, making Drop, a month-old lounge in Lincoln Park, notable for its 4 a.m. (5 a.m. Saturday) license in a fairly residential 'hood. When my friend and I needed a less expensive, closer-to-home spot after celebrating her birthday at a downtown cocktail bar, we arrived at Drop in search of music and a few final rounds.
Enter the cave: Located below Bricks pizzeria, Drop is completely subterranean and more than a little hidden. Even after the friendly ID-checking door guy gave us directions through a low-ceilinged hallway, we still nearly opened the wrong door. The dimly lit space, formerly home to Katacomb, Amp Rock Lounge and B Bar, has a blueish tint and rock-like walls, which made me feel like we were about to party in the Batcave. It wasn't yet 2 a.m. and we had our choice of bar seats or low-slung tables and couches. The latter seemed designed for larger groups, so we opted for bar seats near the DJ booth.
Drop your drink: Drop does have a menu of draft and bottled beers ($4-$8) and a handful of cocktails ($10), but our high-energy bartender was most excited about the drop shots ($7-$10), a shot of liquor dropped into a glass of soda, cider, beer or even coffee. My first attempt at The Mule Kick (lime vodka dropped into ginger beer) was mildly embarrassing as I splashed the ginger beer onto the bar top and my purse when letting go of the shot glass. On my second try with a savory-spicy concoction called The Mexican Stand-Off (jalapeno tequila dropped into Corona and bloody mary mix), I was more cautious and managed to keep most of the liquid in the glass. Our bartender was happy to take special requests, too, mixing my birthday girl pal an off-menu shot that she said tasted just like orange soda. At the end of the night, even after springing for some of my friend's drinks, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the tab didn't make me cringe.
Settle in: Because Drop's website and Facebook page hype the DJ schedule, I was expecting a club vibe. It was more laid-back, though, with people laughing in circles and ordering beers and cocktails just as often as shots. Despite our being two overdressed women in a late-night bar, bartenders made us feel welcome and special without acting creepy—not always an easy balance. Late-20s guys and a girls-night-out posse clearly were toasting the long Memorial Day weekend, but no one was causing a scene. We might have worked up the liquid courage to dance if another group had started a dance area—or if we had heard Daft Punk—but groups were chatting rather than moving to the DJ's mix.
Bottom line: After other bars close their doors at 2 a.m., there are worse places to go than Drop. The staff is friendly, there's usually a DJ spinning, and even if you order one more drink than you intended, it likely won't break the bank. Do take caution, though, since those drop shots go down almost too easily. If you make it to last call here, you're probably only a few hours away from breakfast.
Reporters visit bars unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye. firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyeeatdrink.
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