Editor's Note: Colleen Flaherty's Tiny Lounge finally was taken from us by the wrecking ball in 2006, as part of the Addison Brown Line station expansion project to make way for a stairway leading down from the El platform down to both Patterson and Lincoln and for an elevator for handicapped accessability. Tiny Lounge is set to re-open next to Bowman's at 4352 N. Leavitt.
The Tiny Lounge may be one of the smallest bars in Chicago, but it is one of the best lounges offering a shagadelic selection of martinis, the most comfortable barstools in the city, and a swanky yet unpretentious atmosphere. Thanks to the efforts of owner Colleen Flaherty, the Tiny Lounge is all the more impressive considering that it used to be an old man's bar called Giannini's Tap.
Located on the other side of the Addison Brown Line El stop from the Cork Lounge, you can easily spot the Tiny Lounge from its blue neon sign. Like the Cork, Tiny's facade was constructed from stone slabs so common in the collar suburbs, with a large window overlooking Addison. Walk through the door and you will see a long wooden bar to your right and three black leather, crescent booths to your left, similar to those found at nearby Ivan's Lounge. Tiny's is one of the few places that has a free coat rack as you walk in, and local artwork adorns the walls. Beyond the bar and through the black velvet drapes is the tiny, wood-paneled back room with its comfortable crimson couch and ottoman-like chairs. White votive candles proliferate. Because most people don't know it's even there, I recommend grabbing the couch in the back room and staring into the flickering candle until the world disappears. If that's taken, pull up a stool at the bar. The secret to the immense comfort of these stools is that they are larger in diameter than your average stool and they are padded with springs. Surprisingly, the one-seater bathrooms are rather large, very clean, and have funky frosted glass doors.
As with any respectable lounge, the Tiny Lounge's specialty is martinis – enjoyed sans cigars. The martini menu includes the Bubbletini, Burnt Oranj Martini, Tinytini, and a chocolate martini served with a Hershey's Kiss and a dollop of Hershey's syrup. In recognition of the latter shagadelic concoction, the Tiny Lounge was one of five cocktail bars nominated for CitySearch: Chicago's "Editor's Pick" for Best Chocolate Martini (2000) and was select for Best Martini by The Official Chicago Bar Guide (2001). In addition, the Tiny Lounge offers an impressive selection of ale that includes many you may never heard of like Ayinger Brau-Weisse from Germany, Czechvar from the Czech Republic, Negra Modelo from Mexico, and Affligem Abbey Ale from Belgium. Tiny's usually plays dance music (at a volume not too loud, which is rare), but during a recent visit they played the entire, phenomenally good, High Fidelity soundtrack. Occasionally, there a band called Nova Bossa plays pressed up behind the bar.
I highly recommend the Tiny Lounge when you are in the mood for a bit of a chat, a cocktail or a Stella Artois. During the weekend, get there before 9:00pm, as the place fills up quickly. For those of you who are curious, the Tiny Lounge only holds up to 50 people, but does not claim the honor of smallest bar in Chicago. That honor belongs to the Matchbox. For more information, along with a 360° tour of the bar accompanied by self-selectable jazz tunes, check out the Tiny Lounge website, which is easily one of the best ones I have seen for a bar.
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