The Run Down

Tonight, you're going to head into Logan Square for dinner at one of the neighborhood's only rooftop patios and drinks at some "if you know, you know" bars. You'll start off the outing with Mexican food and a cocktail in a setting that’ll leave you booking a flight to Cabo. Not only that, but what looks like a normal restaurant from the outside is also home to a speakeasy open only on the weekends. The night will continue with another tucked-away bar where you'll enter a nondescript door lit by a sign with a small bird and question why you ever went to traditional, visible bars in the first place.

1. Tacos @ Lonesome Rose

2. Cocktails @ Golden Teardrops

3. Nightcap @ Meadowlark

1. Lonesome Rose

Hop off the California Blue Line stop and walk south, away from the hustle and bustle of the heart of Logan Square, approaching a dark blue building with an intriguing rooftop patio. This is your first stop. You’ll kick off your night at Lonesome Rose, a Tex-Mex restaurant with a Southwestern vibe. The restaurant feels like you combined a bright, airy greenhouse with a relaxed lunch spot.

A small sidewalk patio and rooftop offer the option to eat outdoors on nice days, and it’s worth waiting for the sun to come out to give it a shot.

Walking into the space, two things will catch your eye: plants that double as decor and the abundance of natural light made possible by it being a standalone building. Making a reservation is a good idea, as it’s a toss-up if you’ll be able to walk in and find a spot, especially on a nicer day.

Lonesome Rose is the kind of restaurant that has you jonesing for a pitcher of margaritas. But if that’s not your thing, no sweat. The bar is fully stocked, catering to non-drinkers as well as tequila fiends. The classic margarita is a good place to start, or switch it up with a spicy or mezcal rendition of the traditional refreshment.

Starting with an appetizer like the truck stop nachos, California Ave street corn or good ol’ chips and salsa is a must.

The main attraction is undoubtedly the tacos. The spot offers twists on classics like al pastor and carne asada. In the al pastor tacos, marinated meat had flavor bursting through the tortillas as if it couldn’t wait to get in your mouth. And you won’t be able to wait for your next bite, either. Paired with a Mexican Coke  or a cocktail, this makes for a summer meal you’ll return for.

2. Golden Teardrops

You won’t have to travel far for your next stop. Head outside and around the back and you’ll find Golden Teardrops, a speakeasy-style bar in the basement of Lonesome Rose, open Thursday through Saturday nights. The atmosphere is a far cry from the botanical vibe of its neighbor, luring you in with dark vibes, plenty of candles and vintage alcohol decor.

Though almost another world compared to Lonesome Rose, the dark bar still has eclectic decor and vintage advertisements on the walls display kitschy sayings — a Stroh’s ad begs “Check it out!” and a Miller poster convinces you it’s “Miller time.”

Just behind the bar, a sign boasts “weddings and funerals” in a neon white that’ll have you feeling like someone just shot a too-bright flash into your face.

Jazz music plays as a couple commiserates at the other end of the bar, Christmas ornaments and twinkling lights hanging above them. A ceramic Elvis stands behind yet another candle, a jukebox in the back corner is poised to play old-timey tunes to match the speakeasy energy, and Budweiser and Schlitz merchandise don the walls.

Light beers are advertised on the walls as part of the decor, but don’t be confused: the real star of the show is the cocktail menu.

Along with classic choices like a Manhattan, gimlet or martini, the Saturn, a gin-based cocktail with passionfruit, almond and lemon, is a refreshing and balanced choice. Other spirits, like tequila, rye and bourbon, are also available in specialty cocktails.

3. Meadowlark

Continuing the mysterious theme, you’ll head to The Meadowlark, less than a five-minute walk away. After allowing your eyes to adjust to the outdoors after being locked in the most fun dungeon, walk north on California Avenue and hang a left on Palmer Street, keeping an eye out for a small sign with a bird on it hanging above a nondescript door.

Here you are again, in a moody, candlelit bar. The Meadowlark, owned by Steve Lewis, is a hidden bar behind sister restaurants Union and Lardon, occupying the same building as Stand-Up Throw Down.

Heading into the bar area from the lobby, Harry Potter fans and dark academia enthusiasts will rejoice. The cozy space feels inspired by an old library where smart British people are discussing literature or world affairs. Dark, leather-bound books and green bankers lamps reserved for only the smartest rooms decorate the space.

Bartenders chat and make metal shakers dance as patrons enjoy cocktails and snacks. If you’re ready for dessert or a snack, consider the light bites like crispy cauliflower, pimento olives or sticky toffee pudding.

The menus change every six months to a year, and they’re each inspired by different elements, from scholastics and childhood (the menus were designed like composition notebooks) to the birds of the Midwest and the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Beverage Director Abe Vucekovich taps his team to create the beverages, which are what keep customers coming back, according to the owner.


Things to note:

– The Meadowlark takes reservations for groups of three to six, and it’s a good idea to snag one if you know your plans in advance. Otherwise, they’ll take your name when you arrive and text you when there’s a spot ready.

– The theme of the menu rotates seasonally, so check out the bar’s Instagram and website to get the most up-to-date information.