Ethyl’s Party (Bar, Chinatown)

Location: 2600 S. Wentworth
Phone: (312) 326-3811

Wandering into Ethyl’s Party might be one of the best things to happen to me this year. The smokey little bar (which operated as a funeral home from 1908-1995) is allegedly haunted and is featured in Ursula Bielski’s Chicago Haunts book series. We stumbled in just after a meeting of The Midnight Paranormal Society, and though I didn’t see a ghost on our bar crawl, the combination of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” pumping out of the jukebox and the staccato plunk of rain water in the metal pots strewn around the bar was a bit creepy.

Luckily Ethyl’s didn’t come across as some dump riding the kitsch of being a haunted establishment. Our bartender, Beth, was more concerned with slinging drinks and jokes than yukking it up about phantoms and apparitions. The regulars weren’t interested in spirits (well, not the intangible variety), just the conclusion of the Blackhawks game. Drinks were cheap ($4 Maker’s Mark on rocks, $3 beers) and the hockey game was on a pull-down projection screen. There wasn’t an unfriendly face in the bar (alive or otherwise) and I’ve got to say, it was hard to leave. Gathering our things to head to the next bar had a sort of solemn feeling, like I’d never see Ethyl’s again. It feels like the kind of place we’d have a marvelous night at and then never be able to find a trace of in the future. That’s pretty much why I’m writing this little memory bread crumb. Here’s to our return.

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Gene Wagendorf III

About Gene Wagendorf III

Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.

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