The essentials: Weegee's Lounge

(Kaitlyn McQuaid / For RedEye )
November 18, 2013|By Kate Bernot | RedEye

Weegee's Lounge

3659 W. Armitage Ave. 773-384-0707

Looks like: A comfy, dim neighborhood bar with hazy red lighting and fantastic black-and-white photos

Sounds like: Vintage jazz and snippets of conversation

Best diversions: The gritty shuffleboard table and photo booth

I came for the shuffleboard. This is an embarrassing confession, and one that I have to get off my chest early. I had fallen in love with the silly beer-soaked "sport" in another city and was dismayed by Chicago's few-and-far-between shuffleboard opportunities. So what brought me to one of Chicago's greatest corner bars was not the killer classic cocktails, the supremely laid-back atmosphere or the solid beer list. No, it was the damn shuffleboard table. Forgive me, bar gods.

It's not the shuffleboard that keeps me coming back, though. (I'm far too bad at it, and buying the winners' drinks is getting expensive.) It's the spot-on cocktails, served in an unassuming, 100-plus-year-old building that flies far enough below the radar to keep the scene-seeking crowd away.

Weegee's location partially explains how the seven-year-old bar has retained neighborhood status despite serving some of the best drinks in the city--and for the reasonable price of $5-$12. On a stretch of Armitage that seems miles away from the 'hood's buzzier bars--though geographically, it's not far at all--Weegee's surroundings used to be considered, well, sketchy.

"When we opened up, that Logan Square is not the Logan Square we know of seven years later," said Alex Huebner, who owns the bar with his wife and could tell tales of gunshots and open-air drug markets.

Though the neighborhood has changed, Weegee's Lounge remains delightfully consistent--a deliberate choice on Huebner's part. While cocktail aficionados speak fondly of the bar, Huebner doesn't want to be known only as a cocktail destination. He cites the other sides of Weegee's, including "cocktails and conversations" nights with local figures, art shows and even a coming-soon collaboration beer, brewed with Off Color Brewing, made with hops grown outside the bar.

"It is what it is," Huebner said of his bar, and for once, this tired phrase seems accurate. "Weegee's was based on places that my wife and I like to drink at. I love the fact that I can still come in here, sit at the end of the bar with my wife and it's a place that we enjoy to drink at."

kbernot@tribune.com | @redeyeeatdrink

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