Zakopane (Bar, Wicker Park)

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Location: 1734 W. Division
Phone: (773) 486-1559

As the last remnant of what used to be called “Polish Broadway,” Zakopane stands out as an old-school joint in the middle of the craziness known as Division Avenue. With plenty of trendy bar options, sometimes you just want a no-frills drink and a pool table. Voila!

The jukebox is perfect if you’re looking for some classic rock or polka and the wood paneling on the walls gives the whole bar a sort of lost in time atmosphere.

The staff? Well, every time I’ve stopped by this bar it’s always the same smiling lady behind the bar and the night of this crawl was no different. She walks the line between smiling and socializing with the regulars and being attentive to anyone who happens to wander in for just one. Want to put her in a good mood? Apparently all you have to do is throw on something you can dance to. We had to stop our game of pool to watch her bust a move to a salsa-ed up version of a Beatles song, the name of which escapes me. That’s alcohol for you.

While not the ideal place to take a date — there isn’t anything remotely romantic about Zakopane — it’s a great place to grab a table with some friends and tell dirty jokes. If you’re not funny, just buy a round of Żubrówka. You’ll get there.


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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