Beaumont is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the North Side bar scene. By day, a dimly lit, low-key Chicago classic. By night a Bacchanalian spring break dance party, and it's been this way since it opened in 1980, making Beaumont one of the most notorious late-night joints in a city full of them...
Beaumont is located on the west side of Halsted, just north of Armitage Avenue and The Store, and spans both storefronts of a red brick three-flat with an old-fashioned wooden façade. Step through past the bouncers ($5 cover at night) and through the recessed front door and you'll find that signature Chi-town barroom setup: a long wooden bar that runs along almost the entire north wall, antique light fixtures, floor tiled in white ceramic, and a tin ceiling.
Around midnight, the rear doors—almost unnoticeable during the day—open to reveal a warehouse-like space in the rear called Club 2020, once a theater in the 70s. I've personally spent more bleary-eyed nights here than I care to admit as, despite its name and address, the last thing you'll be seeing here is 20/20... Instead, you'll find an exceedingly drunk crew of Lincoln Park Trixies & Chads in their early 20s swarm in like moths to the flame. An elevated stage features Lincoln Park's version of Girls Gone Wild, televised throughout the bar, dancing to a Bud Light-soaked crowd doing the group-grope to a cheeseball mix that sounds like the greatest hits of B96, rivaling other late-night spectacles found at Finn McCool's, Hangge Uppe and Excalibur Nightclub. Pools of spilled Bud Light form on the cement floor and, speaking of which, a series of lounge chairs has replaced the pool tables once located along the west end of the room. Beware: they often usher you out a half-hour early (3:30am Friday, 4:30am Saturday) without announcing last call and usually right after you've ordered your last round.
Beaumont as it appeared a few years ago, as photographed by Carla Surratt of Picturing Chicago
"Expect: vomiting (not just in the bathrooms, on the dance floor, at the bar, on people), ugly drunk girls hitting on you, hot drunk girls rejecting you, horrific dance renditions, token 40 year old cougars on the prowl, packs of 8-9 dudes creeping in the corner/plotting who to rufi, bouncers who think they're in the secret service, and obnoxious/overplayed rap music."
– Bill C. on Yelp (March 29, 2009)
If you get there early enough (yeah right), you'll find an uninspired menu of the typical fried appetizers, handful of salads and burgers. Beaumont once served an all-you-can-eat brunch on Saturday a la nearby Stanley's Kitchen & Tap, but now opens at 3pm on Saturdays, and is closed on Sunday presumably due to the staff's atonement of the previous night's sins in confessional booths at nearby St. Vincent de Paul. I'm not sure when they put an end to this, but I loved their eggs benedict after Saturday morning indoor volleyball at the now-defunct North Beach bar at Sheffield & Weed.
Beaumont is the kind of place that attracts debauchery, adolescent behavior and excessive intoxication—and that's just when the Hash House Harriers stop by on a school night... For more information, check out the Beaumont website.
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