The Run Down

This guide is for the whisky connoisseurs out there. We're visiting a back room bar to peruse a list of over 400 whiskys and afterwards we head five minutes away for another round of rare spirits. But before all that, we've got to properly prepare ourselves by feasting on Asian versions of cheeseburgers and Italian beef sandwiches. Here are the details.

1. Asian Fusion @ Bixi Beer

2. Whisky and Dessert @ Longman and Eagle

3. Rare Spirits @ Billy Sunday

1. Bixi Beer

There’s Asian fusion and then there’s Bixi Beer. This brewpub in Logan Square comes from the mind of chef-owner Bo Fowler, who grew up on this kind of food. She was adopted from Korea by Norwegian parents in Minnesota, and these mish-mash of Asian and American flavors were the norm.

As you walk in, you’ll notice stairs to your right and a full dining area on the ground floor. The giant beer vats are on this level behind a glass window. In terms of the vibe, it’s definitely got a dark, modern, and upscale feel to the place. If you can swing it, try to get a table upstairs. It feels like a totally different restaurant. 

This is their Green Room. It’s a private dining area, but when it’s not reserved, it’s open to diners.

While the first level has a dark decor, the walls upstairs are painted white and it makes the space much brighter. If you have to wait for your table, grab a drink at the bar and hang out in their lounge right by the Green Room.They call this lounge the Opium Den. If I had to imagine the home of an early 19th century Chinese aristocrat who was down with opium, then this is probably the room they’d be hanging out. Now onto the food. This is a full service brew pub. Before our little whisky adventure, let’s warm up with a flight of beers. If you’re looking for traditional Asian cuisine, then go somewhere else. If you want a delicious bastardization of both Asian and Chicago staples, then take these pics as our recommendation.

Bixi Beer’s take on the Italian beef sandwich is pictured above. It’s basically an Italian beef in bao form. Sprinkled on top is giardiniera and schezuan spices.

In the back are beef fat fries. Of course, these aren’t any regular fries, they’re topped with furikake, a Japanese seasoning mixture, which packs a lot of umami flavor. It’s made from dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt. This is their Bao cheeseburger. What this proved to me is that you can put a hamburger patty, bacon, and cheese into anything and it will be delicious. This was no exception.We’ve got one last Asian fusion plate. This is their ssam plate, and pictured above is their 1/2 order size. This plus all the food above was just the right amount for four people.

As for the ssam plate itself, this is a traditional Korean dish where you wrap up meat and other fillings into a lettuce wrap. Bixi does it slightly different. It takes that idea but incorporates other fillings like Vietnamese crepes and Chinese BBQ pork. They combine all that and make a mega pan-Asian ssam plate.

2. Longman and Eagle

After a full belly, we’re about a five minute walk to our next stop, Longman and Eagle. While mostly known as a long running, award winning restaurant, we’re skipping all that and going straight to their whisky menu.Skip going through their front entrance and head to their back room bar. It has its own entrance just down the street.Once inside, it’s all open seating. There are a few picnic tables and another side room with small tables that fit two or three people. A super chill vibe, music filled the room but didn’t distract from conversation. Overall, a wonderful little hangout spot to throw back one or ten drinks.Order all your drinks from this tiny bar in the back. It’s basically a small counter top that separates the bar from the kitchen. Normally, if you want access to their huge whisky list, you’ll need to order from the bar up front in their main dining area. However, the bartenders in the back will hook you up. They don’t have the menu in the back, but here’s their full whisky list that you can look up on your phone. There’s over 400 whiskys and a bunch of different curated flight options.

Above is the “expatriate flight” that consists of whiskys from France, Taiwan, and India.

One last note, if you’re down for some dessert to pair with your whisky, they have a mean dessert menu in this back bar area.

3. Billy Sunday

We’re changing things up just a bit and headed across the street to another bar that has a fine selection of spirits. At this point, your probably all warmed up and ready for a more energetic scene. That’s where Billy Sunday comes in.

This small bar/restaurant is about a five minute walk from Longman and Eagle, and you’ve got hip hop playing in the background, the music is a bit louder, and there’s just a bit more energy in the room. There’s basically one long bar as you enter and small tables that line the sides. If it’s crowded, there’s a host up front that will help you find a spot to post up. Not only do they have whisky, but they have a whole bevy of cocktails and other spirits. Want canned sake? They got canned sake. While we didn’t get it ourselves, we did notice a boozy root beer float on the menu that we’ll need to try out for next time.

Back to what we’re here for — Whisky. Ask the bartender for “The Good Book.” You’ll get handed a leather folder, and inside is what looks like an antique manuscript. It’s a bound copy of of all the rare spirits they have in their inventory. Looking for a $625 glass of Glenlivet from 1943? Cool, we got you covered. Each one of the spirits has a short description. It’s a fun way to get to know all the stories behind each.We opted for the $12 glass of whisky. They provided us with a water droplet, and I’ll be honest, I had no idea what that was for. A quick google search helped me find this NPR article that explains the science behind adding water to whisky.

You can now use that helpful piece of info as you take all your friends on this whisky jaunt through Logan Square.