The Run Down
This guide has you spending your afternoon in Logan Square and Avondale. It starts with you feasting on elevated bar food in a quiet residential corner bar. Afterwards, you'll visit the second floor of a building that was left vacant for decades, but has found new life as a vintage bowling alley. Finally, you'll end the day at a nearby bar and performance venue for comedians, dj sets, or live jam sessions.
1. Small Bar
We’re starting things off with drinks and good eats at Small Bar, a corner bar that meets everything on our good neighborhood bar checklist.
It’s right in the middle of this quiet residential area on the Northeast edge of Logan Square and away from the neighborhood’s main commercial corridors. It’s one of those spots that, unless you were specifically searching for it, you’d probably never come across this place.
As the name suggests, the place is small with a couple of table tops along the wall and stool seating at the bar. They also have a small patio outside as well, which makes this a prime summer time spot to meet up. They have a legit bar food menu (i.e. burgers, wings, cheese curds, etc.) but it’s a tad bit fancier than most. That’s apparent when your half-pound burger comes with a housemade remoulade. A few last notes about the place.
– Kitchen closes at 9pm; Bar is open until 1am each night
– This place has a huge rotating selection of craft beers that probably runs 50 deep.
– They also serve Glassworks coffee and nitro cold brews
2. Avondale Bowl
After Small Bar, we’re headed about a mile west to continue the day at Avondale Bowl. This is on the main drag of Milwaukee Avenue and on the second floor of a building that, until recently, was left vacant for decades.
Back in the 1950’s and through the mid-90’s, this space operated as bowling alley but it closed down and for the next couple of decades it was boarded up and forgotten.
A few years back, however, a few local residents saw a for rent sign in the window and after clearing out the second floor, they found remnants of a bar and bowling alley. They ended up restoring it and it’s now back and better than ever as Avondale Bowl.
From the ground floor, you’ll check in with a host before making your way up these stairs to the main bowling alley and bar. The entire space is split into two sections. Half of it is taken up by the bar and the other half is a vintage eight-lane bowling alley. Even if you aren’t bowling, you can definitely post up at the bar for awhile.
Here are a few notes to keep in mind as you get ready to visit.
– Family friendly with minors allowed if accompanied by a parent or guardian, but it’s 21+for everyone after 7:30pm.
– Bowling is $30/hour M-Th; $40/hour F-Su
– Shoe rentals are $4
– Walk-ins for bowling are welcome, but you can also reserve on their website.
The 8 lane bowling alley is on the other side of the bar and what sets this place apart from others is that scoring is done the old fashion way on paper. A bit of mental math while boozing will only make you stronger. Here’s a helpful link to remind you how scoring works.
3. Sleeping Village
About a block away is our last stop in this action packed day. We’re at Sleeping Village, brought to you by the folks behind Logan Square cocktail lounge and live music space The Whistler.
Sleeping Village has a little bit of everything. There’s coffee for the non-drinkers, a visit-worthy cider selection for the non-beer drinkers and beer for more straightforward drinkers. Basically, you won’t be thirsty if you walk through these doors.
It’s not all about the beverages at this watering hole though. Their cultural programming here is top notch. Some nights you’ll find music acts like Haru Nemuri, a Japanese hip-hop and rock artist, and other nights they’ll use their space to do a Persian food pop up, like the one the one they recently hosted with Chicago-born chef and music artist, Liam Kazar.
Definitely try to plan your visit around one of their live events. Here’s their calendar.
That’s a wrap for your afternoon, but good thing is that all these places are open late so you can start things over as a late night adventure.