Innertown Pub (Bar, Ukranian Village)

Photo Credit: Gene Wagendorf III

Was the bartender working on a bonsai of some kind? Maybe that’s why they call Innertown “The Home of the Arts.” By they I mean, well, Innertown, but I guess that irrelevant. I’d been to this bar countless times before out Ukrainian Village pub crawl and never noticed that little slogan on the sign over the entrance. I kind of always thought a moniker like that would go to Rainbo Club, but I guess that’s a quibble. Sure, artists hang out here. And pool players. And drinkers. And anyone who likes to tinker with an old piano or read a bar dictionary.

Back up. A bar dictionary? I didn’t know those existed either. It wasn’t until UpChicago staff-writer Phil hijacked some hipster’s giant dictionary that I learned the term. The guy was cool about it and Phil was clearly a little embarrassed while explained to us all that he thought it was the bar’s copy. This is the the staff bar crawls can be a bit intimidating. Not because my fellow writers can drink me under the table, but because they’re used to hanging out and swanky ultra-literary places full of dictionaries and atlases and thesauruses and sun dials. That sort of thing puts me out of my element.

Grabbed some drinks and went to shoot pool. Free pool. David threw some Same Cooke on the jukebox, though whatever came after it was drowned out by Jackie playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on the old piano adjacent to the cigarette machine. Under a sign that read “Happy 4th of July.” And that’s Innertown- a hodgepodge of kitsch and weird pop culture, pictures of Elvis and glowing American flags and crisp gin and tonics. The prices are right and the people are mostly friendly if not occasionally indifferent. There’s one yellow-screened television in the corner that might be showing a game no one’s paying attention to, but it’s there if you need to check the score. The music is excellent but subtle, quiet enough for conversation but just loud enough to bob your head. Innertown is an excellent place to wind down your night and relax, or in this case, to grab another drink before heading on to the next bar.

This review originally appeared in UPchicago Bar Crawl #3: Ukrainian 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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