Quenchers Saloon (Bar, Bucktown)
Ok, I’m looking to go out for a night in Bucktown. I could go to the Map Room and discover new beer. Perhaps a trip to the Gallery and listen to some local tunes. Or how about I hit up Quenchers Saloon and get both? Slightly off the beaten path up on the northeast corner of Fullerton and Western Avenues is a great joint for more reasons than just a handful of the free popcorn they have.
Often forgotten in the war of best beer bars in the city (generally a coin flip between the aforementioned Map Room and the Hopleaf, Quenchers has been kicking around since 1979, ever-expanding their beer choices for the thirsty patron. With imported bottles from 37 countries, Quenchers certainly gives its internationally themed neighbor a run for its money. Counting local, regional and national domestics, they have over 200 choices to try to decide from. Turn your gaze upward and read in awe the chalkboard full of options. Themes and events abound as well: January was Stout Fest, and they recently held a Belgian fortnight in March, featuring 20 obscure Belgian ales on tap for two weeks. The bar also plays leader to a three-mile crawl from home base to Wrigley Field (2011 details coming soon on their site). Luckily, the chill atmosphere relinquishes pretension, and offers the standard Pabst / Miller / Old Style fare for those looking for something familiar on hot day.
The bar holds quite a variety of live entertainment as well. Mondays are reserved for improv comedy from 8-10, followed by an open mic set. Tuesdays are generally host to jazz showcases, with pretty much every other night of the week open for rock acts. Occasional touring bands come through, but the venue works best as a stage for locals to cut their teeth on and build an audience. The shows always request a $5 donation which is beyond reasonable considering the return.
Other perks of the bar? A food menu with apps, sandwiches and pizzas. I’ve yet to try them myself, but I’ve heard the tater tot pizza is really something. Find out for yourself; food is served from 4pm to midnight every day. The bar opens at noon Sunday-Thursday, and 11am on Fridays and Saturday. Those looking to get their drink and work done can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. And of course, no bar is complete these days without the obligatory photo booth. Keep in mind the bar is cash only, but with an ATM on site.
Looking to get acquainted with Quenchers sometime soon? Head over there on April 23rd to catch the Chicago debut of unGoogleable (but luckily Facebookable) indie supergroup, Football, featuring members of the Ponys, Hot Machines and other locals. Grab a pint, a handful of popcorn, and voila: welcome to your new favorite bar.