1944 N. Oakley Ave. (2000N, 2300W)
Chicago, IL 60647
"A really clean dive bar with really good food"
Since it opened just over two years ago, Floyd's Pub has quietly joined the likes of Charleston, Gallery Cabaret and Lemming's as one of those classic Bucktown pubs that just don't seem to exist anywhere else in the city. Some mistakenly make Floyd's as an Irish pub, but it's no more Irish than corned beef & cabbage when what's really served in the old country is called bacon & cabbage, the latter of which is more like turnip greens than boiled tasteless green cabbage. Instead, I've found Floyd's to be like a very dark version of Lottie's and a southern branch of Gannon's. Regardless of what it seems like to you, I think we can all agree that Floyd's is a great place for a couple of beers and whatever's on special for $6.
Floyd's can be found at the southwest corner of Armitage and Oakley, just down from that international bar of mystery Map Room, and not to be confused with the "other" Floyd's at 27 S. Western… in Carpentersville. Anyway, because of the building in which it is housed, Floyd's is actually part of a select group of taverns that includes Mac's American Pub, Southport Lanes and Schuba's: all three of these bars are housed within one of the original Schlitz bars, once owned and operated by the brewery so as to maximize the amount of Schlitz consumed in the city (that duty has since passed on to yours truly…). On your next visit, note the impressive Schlitz globe logo in all its colorful three-dimensional glory on the north wall of the two-story, orange brick building. I love it.
A modest wooden "Floyd's" sign hangs over the many-paned glass door and is the only advertising of the bar, which also happens to be second to the neon Sol beer sign in the window when it comes to noticeability. Try to avoid one of the slender, green-painted columns holding up the corner of the bar as you walk up, and as you step through the door you'll find a long, narrow room. The long bar of cherry wood lies to your left along the south wall and features the usual barley suspects compared with Floyd's cocktail artistry that includes their specialty mojito, Moscow Mule, Georgia Peach, and Floyd's Ice Tea – all of the above are more enjoyable while gazing at the nicely appointed black velvet Elvis portrait and old Schlitz posters hanging on the burgundy-painted wall above the backbar. You just don't see enough velvet paintings anymore, do you? For those of you more "modern" types, the several flatpanels located throughout the bar should comfort you, as the lads in the house will not have to suffer through an evening without Sports Center. In addition to the high-backed, wooden barstools at the bar, you'll find seating at one of a few very large wooden cocktail tables across from the bar, along the northern wall of exposed brick and in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto Oakley Avenue. Outside in summer, a pleasant sidewalk café wraps around the corner of the bar and regulars often stroll through the aforementioned windows on their way to the can.
You'll find the "kitchen" in the rear of the pub, just down from a pair of one-seater johns. The kitchen is really more of an open, diner-like grill and on one Thursday night when I was there, they were cooking up so many $6 burgers (on special) that the smoke filled up the entire backroom, leaving it deserted and the electronic dart and Golden Tee machines feeling lonely. Speaking of specials, Floyd's Pub features something different from the menu for about $6 Monday through Friday from 5-10pm, just ask the bartender or your waitress for the deal du jour. The fare consists mainly the usual appetizers (mini-burgers, wings and quesadillas), half-pound burgers and sandwiches including their Taylor Street Sub, as well as such comfort food options as fish & chips, meatloaf, spaghetti & meatballs, and rosemary roasted chicken. Nothing costs more than $10. Digestion is aided by the alterno-tunes emanating from the jukebox, bringing you back to your mid-90s heyday.
Since it opened on July 23, 2004, replacing the short-lived tapas restaurant "Cloud Nine," Tony Glanz's creation has met approvingly by a pretty good crowd of predominantly Bucktown crowd of regulars nightly, more with a sporting interest than what you'll find at many of the other bars in the area. Whoever you are, just watch out as I once saw kids on the roof of the building kitty corner hurling water balloons at cars and pedestrians. The spectacle reminded me of my three-man slingshot days in which the cars traveling along Lambert Avenue were terrorized. For more information on Floyd's Pub, you'll have to give them a call at the number above as they don't have a website. What is it with Bucktown pubs not having a website? With all the techno-Bohemians in the neighborhood, it's the 21st Century, daddy-o! It's the same thing as with why I've been eating an inordinate amount of bananas lately – we just don't know… Anyway, parking is a bit tough, so take a cab or the Blue Line to Western, whose stop is right around the corner. For more information, you'll have to call as Floyd's Pub doesn't have a website. Until then, don't be cruel.