Bar Louie joins the likes of the Billy Goat Tavern, John Barleycorn's, and Charlie's Ale House as bars that have been so successful in Chicago as to warrant multiple locations within the city limits (and beyond). Unlike the the other mini-chains, Bar Louie offers patrons a designer establishment with upscale pub grub and a pleasant atmosphere. As the fourth in the chain, Bar Louie Wrigley is a welcome addition to Wrigleyville as it provides a break from sports bar madhouses.
Travel up north Clark Street towards Wrigley Field (the most beautiful ballpark in the country), and allow the giant white Bar Louie sign to draw you in. Bar Louie is located across from the Cubby Bear and next to the Salt & Pepper (a 50's style diner where you can get a huge breakfast or burger for under $5).
Step inside Bar Louie through the double doors and past the pay phone and ATM, and you will find a colorful, broken mosaic tile floor and wood-paneled haven. Take a seat in one of the tables along the wall where you can check out artsy photographs of drinking, sports and one of a blonde Dennis Rodman on the wall. If fortunate enough, grab a seat along the narrow corridor between the bar and the front windows, as the crowd-watching is sure to keep your attention for hours. Otherwise, grab a seat along the bar where you can spend your time gazing at the tastefully painted mural of old Wrigley Field. There is more seating past the narrow passage at tables in the smoky, wood paneled back room. In addition to showing all Cubs games, Bar Louie also shows Chicago Fire games hosted by the Barn Burners 1871, like "watch parties" found at the Map Room and Black Rock.
Bar Louie food is quite well known due to the success of the original location in River North on Chicago Avenue. The fare is described in the 2002 edition of Zagat's Chicago Restaurants survey as, "better-than-average bar food," and a meal will cost you about $16. The Wrigley location serves calamari, hummus, tabbouleh & tsaziki, giant muffaletta sandwiches, salads, pizza, blackened Cajun meatloaf, sausage and chicken etouffe, seafood jambalaya, pork chops, and New York strip steak. For the Cubs fan, the Wrigley location also has chili dogs and beef sandwiches. Bar Louie offers 30 beers on tap and serves a mean, "Louie-sized" martini.
Bar Louie is owned by Restaurants-America. In addition to the Wrigleyville location, there are 12 other locations in the Chicagoland area and they have opened up franchises in 12 additional states and the District of Columbia. Restaurant-America also operates Red Star Tavern, Bluepoint Oyster Bar, Grillroom, One North, Midtown, and Townhouse.
Since 1999, Bar Louie Wrigley has provided an upscale refuge for Cub fans looking to avoid overcrowded, beer soaked sports bars and desiring some good food. For more information on this, the original or other locations, check out the Bar Louie website.
~ Have a good story relating to this bar? Email us. ~
[back to the Chicago Bar Project]
Photo courtesy of Carla G. Surratt of Picturing Chicago