Hungry Brain (Bar & Music Venue, Roscoe Village)

Location: 2319 W. Belmont Ave.
Phone:  773-935-2118
Website: (for info on shows)

Photo Credit: Jackie Berkery

Do brains not get hungry on Wednesdays? Our second attempt to start drinking at Hungry Brain was successful, we did get beer, but we were all alone.  Is everyone at home watching Modern Family? Fine. Fine. Be that way. I don’t need you here to have a good time. The jukebox has Shellac, the Dead Guy is cold and the UPChicago crew are plenty fun.

The plus to drinking at the Brain when it’s relatively empty is that you have your choice of comfy couches and booths. The furniture here seems like it was bought from Heaven’s estate sale. It’s all retro kitsch in the greatest, most mismatchediest way. Throw in a book exchange, a Ms. Pac Man/Galaga machine and Arkanoid by the bathroom and I’m good.

Drinks are pretty cheap and the staff is always friendly, the rare exception to the latter being if you drop by on a Sunday night for Hungry Brain’s jazz series. That isn’t to say that they spit on you when you walk in the door, but the bartenders have a tendency to get very Green Mill-hushy at anyone speaking louder than sign language. That said, even on busy nights this isn’t the kind of establishment where you’re going to find anyone yelling above loud music and trashy pick-up lines.

The ability to completely lose track of time without being hammered is one of the hallmarks of a great bar. There are some places that you just want to relax at without thinking about anything in particular, and the Hungry Brain is perfect for such an evening. The art on the walls often looks like something puked-up from a high school class in complete mess-ism, but fuck it, that kind of stuff always looks better after a few drinks anyway.

This article first appeared in UPchicago Bar Crawl #7: Roscoe Village


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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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