Phyllis’ Musical Inn (Bar, Wicker Park)
Location: 1800 W. Division St., Wicker Park
Phone: (773) 486-9862
Phyllis’ Musical Inn was the third stop on our West Division bar crawl. Its glass block exterior and small neon sign look far less appealing than some of the other stops along our crawl but, trust me, don’t let that discourage you. Inside, the bar reminded me of a garage sale, mainly because there’s a lot of random stuff all over the place. The wall behind the car is patterned with black wallpaper dotted with gold pianos, a fake hawk hanga from the ceiling in a corner near the door, a Pac Man machine sits near the entrance, there are robot paintings on the wall opposite the bar, Blackhawks memorabilia, and a fish tank. Yes, a fish tank — with live fish.
Still, it isn’t called Phyllis’ Musical Inn for nothing and, despite the odd decor, the stage, located directly against the back wall is what immediately took my attention. As its name suggests, the bar had live music on the night we went. Who was playing, I’m not sure. The duo, a short woman with a raspy voice and a man with a powerful harmonica and a gray-haired ponytail that reached his lower back, serenaded the bar. There were no introductions, as far as my intoxicated self can remember, no “thanks for listening” or “check out our Facebook page.” It was mysterious, in the same way the bar’s massive side patio was.
Phyllis’ Musical Inn has a spacious side lot patio surrounded by a brick privacy fence. The patio’s accessible from a nondescript side door near the bar’s single stall bathrooms. The wooden deck was filled with plenty of junky plastic chairs and tables and is perfect for a Saturday summer night.
Being a Tuesday, the bar wasn’t crowded. There were a handful of regulars who kept to themselves. They didn’t mind us sitting back in the throne-like chairs around a small table talking louder then we all probably thought we were, getting to know each other. The tamale guy, made his way throughout the bar and I couldn’t resist ordering some chicken tamales, five for $5. Delicious. With Bud Light for $3.75 and, what appeared to be, the majority of their beers available in bottles, rather then on tap, Phyllis’ Musical Inn is worth checking out.