The Run Down

Twenty-five years ago, on the southern end of the Roscoe Village neighborhood, an eight-block stretch of Belmont Avenue was home to 'Antiques Row.' At its peak, upwards of 30 antique shops and resale markets clustered along this one-mile corridor. Nearly every other shop was an antique shop. The scene then was like a bustling flea market with vintage furniture and knick-knacks pouring out the door and onto the sidewalk. But nothing lasts forever; shops closed or moved one by one, and today there are only a few left standing. You're visiting three antique shops that continue the legacy of Antiques Row, and afterward, we make our way to a local tavern to take stock of our shopping haul. Here are the details.

1. Sport Collectibles @ Good Old Days Antiques

2. Antique Watches @ Father Time Antiques

3. Oddities @ Lazy Dog Antiques

4. Eats @ Four Moon Tavern

1. Good Old Days Antiques

We’re starting on the west side of Belmont Avenue and traveling east along Antique Row. The first stop is Good Old Days Antiques. This family-run shop has been here for more than 35 years. It’s probably only a handful of places that have stayed constant in a neighborhood that doesn’t stand still.

While today it sits between a collection of contemporary condo buildings, if you keep only the storefront in your frame of view, it’s a bit like looking at a time capsule taking you back a few decades. Head inside because you’ll be going back even further in time.

Behind the shop’s dark storefront windows, you’ll enter a room draped in stained glass hanging from the ceiling. The light from chandeliers and neon signs along the walls bounces off the stained glass, creating a barrage of colors that paint the space.   

Keep walking towards the back, and you’ll find their collection of early 20th-century knickknacks and antique radios that have been restored to working condition. 

This beauty of a radio will set you back $345. It’s a small price to pay to hear the live radio broadcast of the Bears winning the next Super Bowl. We can dream, right?

A door on the main floor will lead you to a set of stairs. We’re going upstairs first. 

You can take these creaky steps up a narrow stairwell to get to the second floor.

As you enter the second floor, you’ll run into a long hallway connected to a series of rooms. Photographs of different sports eras take up nearly every bit of wall space. This is a trove of local sports paraphernalia for longtime Chicago sports fans. Each room is filled with old books, photographs, vintage beer, and bar signs. For you treasure hunters out there, you could spend hours going through every bit of inventory.

When you think you have explored everything on the second floor, keep going because there’s a room you probably still need to check out.

Before you leave, take the stairs to the basement, where they keep an even larger inventory of neon beer signs and old bar decor. 

Finally, here’s a picture of our haul. It’s a vintage Dr. J lunchbox that we picked up on the way out.

2. Father Time Antiques

A couple of blocks down is our next stop, Father Time Antiques, a vintage clock shop that’s even older than Good Old Days Antiques. For over 40 years, a team of master clockmakers and watchmakers have used this small space on Belmont Ave as a workshop to buy, restore, and sell timepieces.

We’re going inside to catch a glimpse of the masters in action.

When you enter the front doors, you can literally hear the sound of time passing by. The walls are covered in antique clocks, and there’s a counter with hundreds of timepieces behind a glass case.

This is Jan Dunikowski, one of the master watchmakers examining a timepiece in his workshop. Originally from Poland, he has spent over 45 years studying and practicing horology.

Here’s a closeup of just a few watches displayed behind the glass counter. That Hamilton Doctor’s watch, second from the left, will run you $2,895. Based on the number of watches they had on display, there’s probably close to half a million dollars worth of inventory behind their case.  This collection of gold pocket watches is for all of you newly-minted cryptocurrency millionaires that need a new accessory for your next rich people meeting.

3. The Lazy Dog Antiques

Keep walking down Antiques Row, and you’ll run into The Lazy Dog Antiques, our last shop of the day. Compared to our previous two stops, this 16-year-old business is the new kid on the block. There’s a focus on midcentury furniture, but like any good antique shop, there are a lot of random finds to uncover.

In their back room, you’ll find larger furniture and an array of art deco pieces to round out your place. Here’s a fun fact while you browse. If, by chance, you’re a fan of Chicago Fire or any of the other Dick Wolf-produced shows set in Chicago, then you might be able to snag a set piece as a fair amount of production pieces are rented from here.  Keep wandering around, and you’ll stumble upon random collectibles like these 1970’s era patches and buttons.  A good rule to live by is to ignore signs that try to lure you into a basement. We checked it out. You’re all good. Here are some pictures as proof.

4. Four Moon Tavern

After a long day of shopping, we end things with a pint and food at a nearby bar. You’re about a five-minute walk to Four Moon Tavern, a beloved neighborhood bar where you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with even the slightest negative thing to say about the place.

It checks all the boxes you’d want in a great neighborhood bar: good local craft beer selection, super friendly staff, and quality bar fare that stacks up with any of the best bar food in the city.  This is their main bar area, decked out in wood paneling all across the walls and bar. It gives the space cozy cabin vibes, which may be why everyone working here seems so chill. If you’re looking for a quieter part of the bar, ask for a table in their back room that you can access through this hallway. 

We can’t end this guide without a shot of our bar food spread. On the left is the fish and chips, and on the right, we have a classic shepherd’s pie.  If you’re having difficulty deciding what to get, you can’t go wrong with fish and chips. It’s nicely battered and fried for a satisfying crunch on the outside while leaving the fish tender and flaky. A slight drizzle of lemon over the top, and you got a damn good meal to end your trip.