Lange's Lounge is one of those less-than-inviting neighborhood bars that you've passed hundreds of times but have never been into. However, if you take a chance and step inside, you'll find a mellow atmosphere conducive for conversation, swigging Bud, shooting some stick, and ogling 40-year-old women. Lange's mostly draws older neighborhood-types who suspiciously eye younger patrons that mainly descend upon the place in groups as part of Southport Avenue pub crawls. Regardless, the place offers a refreshing change from some of the pretension and fratishness found at nearby Mystic Celt, Justin's and the Schoolyard Tap.
At the corner of Southport Avenue and Cornelia, Lange's is a fixture of the north Southport entertainment corridor that runs between Belmont and Irving Park Road. In fact, the bar has operated for 40 years next year, going back to 1968 the making Lange's the longest continuously operating tavern in this part of town. The bar can easily be spotted thanks to its glowing red awning with "Lange's" written in white cursive script. Lange's consists of a single room with a large, square wooden bar that dominates it. Above the bar is a wooden hood that holds a variety of kickshaws and board games and is adorned with little white lights. If you're looking for a good selection of microbrews, you'll need to head elsewhere as Lange's only features a smattering of domestics. Grab a seat at the bar or at one of the plethora of barstools around the room. The front windows are often obscured with thick wooden blinds and the walls are adorned with "My Goodness, My Guinness" posters. And have no fear, they have a Golden Tee machine.
While it's a decent place, Lange's does not seem to have any particular attraction beyond aged locals looking for a quiet pint and a bit of chat with their buddies when they get tired of the bar across the street at D'Agostino's. Although it's just this that could be considered the attraction of Lange's: one of the last neighborhood joints in the area. And, because you won't find any information on Lange's on Metromix or Centerstage Chicago, or even a listing in the phone book, it seems the owner of Lange's wants to keep things just as they are and relatively unknown. So, just between you and me, keep Lange's in mind as the condos go up and your favorite neighborhood place fills up with a new branch of the black leather jacket club.
"I was just reading some more of your bar reviews and I think you sold Lange's on Southport a little short. I love the place. And I hear the actual bar in there is something like 100 years old. Of course you're absolutely right: no one wants to talk to me when I'm there and there's not exactly a lot of physical character to the place, but there's nowhere better to sit and read, or to have a quiet conversation with someone you bring in with you. And as I think you noted, they do have Golden Tee. That goes a long way with me."
Matthew Richmond of the now-defunct Tap Magazine (January 29, 2003)
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