5308 N. Clark St. (5300N, 1550W)
Chicago, IL 60640
R.I.P. 2010 (reformatted as Acre)
For many years, the building now housing Charlie's Ale House operated as a Woolworth's followed by a Goodwill resale shop, and was owned by "The Mayor of Andersonville," a Greek named George Stotis who owned the whole block (he passed away a few years ago). The space was then gutted except for the original, classic Chicago tin ceiling and re-opened as a bar. This installment of Charlie's Ale House is part of a local chain that once had three other locations (Navy Pier, Wheaton and Munster, Indiana) and is not to be confused with Charlie's on Webster. Perhaps because of its perception as a "chain bar," Charlie's was not exactly welcomed into the neighborhood when they opened in 2002, but they have tried hard and won over many locals. One example of this is their support of the LCCP-Lesbian Cancer Care Project, where those who donate are immortalized by a small bronze plaque on the impressive Brunswick bar. The decor of Charlie's consists of an eclectic array of Americana, just like the neighborhood surrounding it, which is now comprised of later-generation Swedes, a somewhat older gay and lesbian community than you'll find in Boystown further south, and immigrants from the Middle East and Latin America. Charlie's also supports local artists: a mural was recently commemorated in the dining room and backlit picture boxes created by the local gallery, Las Manos. Charlie's is also well known for its beer selection (23 on tap, 42 in bottles), its weekend brunch, and being a favorite of ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama while he served as senator from Illinois.
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