The Run Down
This is the first installment of our newest series we’re calling “Night Crawler.” Each guide in the Night Crawler series explores what’s happening in Chicago after the sun goes down, and for the inaugural installment, we were joined by Nande members and friends who came with us in the making of this guide. To follow along with our shenanigans, embark on this 3-stop cocktail tour in West Town and end this boozy night the right way with deliciously juicy burgers and whatever self-respect you may have left. Here are the details:
1. Cocktails, games and music @ California Clipper
2. Hot toddy and checkers @ The Sportsman
3. Shenanigans and cocktails @ EZ Inn
4. Late night burgers @ Fatso’s Last Stand
1. The California Clipper Lounge
We start the night’s festivities here at The California Clipper Lounge, which sits just South of Humboldt Park. This venue has been a relic of the neighborhood going as far back as 1912 when it was the Clipper movie theater. It eventually morphed into a family bar, then more of a divey establishment, then a few years ago it got a face lift that transformed this place into a speakeasy era style cocktail lounge.
We’re starting here, because they make a mean negroni, they have live music acts (on most nights), and they have a wall of board games to help facilitate the debauchery. Here are a few helpful notes to help you plan your night.
– Open from 8pm – 1:30am (Sun – Friday); 8pm – 2am (Saturday)
– Music acts usually starts anywhere between 9:30pm and 10:30pm
2. Sportsman’s Club
Our next stop is about 1/2 mile down the road to the Sportsman’s Club. No, this isn’t a sports bar. Rather, it looks more like a refined hunting lodge equipped with turn tables and hip hop playing in the background. The space itself isn’t huge, so if you’re rolling super deep, be prepared to post up in any corner you can.
Here are some other interesting factoids and tips.
– The tables at the booths have checkerboards designed into them, and checkers pieces are in each booth as well.
– On a blistering cold night in Chicago, order the Hot Toddy — it will warm you up like a nice soothing cup of hot tea and get you blitzed at the same time.
– Cash Only
3. EZ Inn
The last bar we’re headed to is the EZ Inn which is right across the street in a nondescript building. In fact, it looks like your run of the mill office or retail building, but inside it’s all bar. This place was recently revamped in early 2016, and before that it was run by a husband and wife team for nearly 40 years.
The “new” EZ Inn is a bit more polished, but it still holds its roots as a friendly neighborhood tavern and it still feels like it has that 70’s vibe still going strong. Their menu includes a classic selection of cocktails, beers, and boozy sodas (the sodas was new to concept for me, but legit tasty).
– Open Sun – Mon (5pm – 2am)
– Open Sat (5pm – 3am)
4. Fatso’s Last Stand
Finally, the last stop of the night is less than a 5 minute walk to Fatso’s Last Stand. We’re here because the only thing better than a juicy burger is one at 2am after many drinks.
We’re in luck because Fatso’s is open until 4am on Friday and Saturday and they just know what they are doing. They also do hot dogs, po’ boys, fried shrimp, and shakes. I’ve yet to experience the whole menu, but take this late night opportunity to go nuts.