Lincoln Station is one of the newest tenants in the crowded bar corridor between Webster and Wrightwood, on Lincoln Avenue. Lincoln Station's differentiation from all of the other meat markets and sports bars in the immediate area is to create an upscale sports bar atmosphere, much like that found at Goose Island Wrigleyville, John Barleycorn's and Sedgwick's. And, for the last few years, they have done a pretty good job of doing so.
To find Lincoln Station, head over to Lincoln Avenue between Wrightwood and Fullerton. Look for the wide, two-storefront bar in the brick building with the long wooden sign with "Lincoln Station" gold lettering. Lincoln Station is just a few doors down from the independent movie house, the Three Penny Cinema, and across from the Biograph, where the infamous Lady in Red fingered John Dillinger.
As you walk in, a long wooden bar lies to your right with numerous wooden high-backed chairs. More bar stool seating is available in front of the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows looking out at Lincoln Avenue (where the cute girls like to sit and people-watch). A tasteful, wooden Lincoln Station sign painted in red with gold lettering, lies above the track-lit, glass shelves that hold all the booze (which makes their wide selection of martinis possible). This is where one-time Lincoln Station bartender, "Slim" Tim Hackney was rated the fastest bartender in Chicago in the Skyy Vodka Bartender Competition. French posters (ala Lucky Strike) hang opposite the bar along walls painted in beige. White ceiling fans hang above the black linoleum floor. At the far end of the front room hangs a giant big screen, which entertains those sitting at a smattering of wooden cocktail tables, and at red vinyl booths below the large cubist mural. If you don't have a good view of the big screen, don't worry there are 12 televisions elsewhere throughout the bar. Unfortunately, they often choose to show Cleveland Indians and Browns games (as if bw-3 less than a block away didn't have this already covered), as well as the Ohio State Buckeyes and, strangely, the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.
The back room at Lincoln Station lies beyond the large frosted glass doors framed in wood. Here you will find a pool area with three mahogany, red-felted regulation-sized tables. A red banquette with tables for pool groups and hangers-on are located along the north wall, across from mirrored beer signs hanging from the dark red walls. At the west end of the back room are two rows of more red vinyl booths. A few additional cocktail tables lie between, and the inevitable Golden Tee machine lies in a corner of the west part of the room, under the big screen. Red-beaded lamps, a variety of patterned drapes, and little white votive candles round out the décor. This area is occasionally used for private parties, so you may want to call ahead if you want to shoot pool. Additional seating can be found outside in the small, narrow sidewalk café available in summertime.
Food served at the Station includes hamburgers, meatloaf, ribs, pork chops, soups, salads, chili, and chicken wings ($0.25 each on Mondays). More interesting fare includes a salad known as the Takaoka Salad, consisting of chow mein noodles, red peppers, and grilled chicken on a bed of mixed greens tossed with ginger dressing, and a potato stuffed with an assortment of cheese, vegetables and meat. If you're peckish but not famished, I recommend the "Taste of Lincoln Station" plate while it isn't cheap, it is pretty good. Lunch is served, beginning at 11:00am, and the grill closes twelve hours later at 11:00pm.
The crowd at Lincoln Station is not much different from those found anywhere else in the area: young neighborhood types and suburbanites that like to get loaded just like the bar's two young owners. However, compared with these other establishments, the atmosphere at Lincoln Station is far more relaxed, unpretentious and more conducive to have some pub grub or a game of pool (without having to ask 15 people to move out of the way for each shot, like at the nearby Burwood Tap). On a recent visit, a male patron fitting this demographic was seen walking sideways at 10:00 p.m. on a Thursday night. Amateur! Lincoln Station also pulls in local athletes from those that are sponsored by Lincoln Station which is not a bad deal. Lincoln Station offers $200 in cash, two-for-one pitchers on game nights and free pool for teams promising to visit the bar before or after games.
Artwork inspired by Lincoln Station
Lincoln Station is a good place to go during the week, or as a place to meet up before more adventurous (or lecherous) activities. For more information, to inquire about team sponsorship or to purchase bar merchandise (right...), check out the Lincoln Station website. Go... Sabres?
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Photo courtesy of Andrew M.