160 E. Grand Ave. (500N, 200E)
Chicago, IL 60611
"Come and Knock on our Door. We'll be waiting for you. Where the kisses are hers and hers and his, Three's Company too."
The Reagle Beagle, which served as the official hang-out for the characters on the fabulously dated sitcom Three's Company, has been re-imagined as a retro lounge & restaurant, complete with kitschy décor, themed menu and signature drinks. A definite change of pace from the "usual," if you can get past (or get into) the shtick, the Reagle Beagle can make for a groove-a-licious time.
Trivia: Three's Company ran for eight seasons (1976-84) amassing a whopping 174 episodes.
The Reagle Beagle is located at on Grand Avenue, wedged between upper Michigan Avenue (from which you descend via a long outdoor staircase where you see a Reagle Beagle menu on a stand) and the original (and overrated) Boston Blackie's. An oversized sign with bright yellow lettering helps to offset the less than stellar entrance, adjacent to the city's labyrinth subterranean roadways. This area is generally busy and safe, but if it's late and you've had a few, leave with a friend and alert authorities if you spot any C.H.U.D. The bar itself is essentially a horseshoe, separated by an incongruous, marble-tiled elevator lobby that serves as a pre-entrance. Step through the inner door, have your ID ready to step back in time...
Trivia: Billy Crystal auditioned for the role of Jack Tripper.
The interior is dim with red the dominant hue and plush seating in abundance. A small section of low couches and cocktail tables is accessible immediately upon entering. The space is perfect for mid-size groups of 10-20, which is why you'll often see bachelorette parties reserving the area. A long wooden bar runs along the eastern wall with room for almost two dozen. The bar itself is slick and minimalist, with a textured stone bar-back and funky blown-glass light fixtures hanging directly above the counter. The problem: the lights hang directly at face-level for anyone of reasonably average height. So, while the bar looks cool, that heat lamp baking your grill sure isn't. Directly behind the bar is the roomy main lounging area, which wraps around in an "L." Assorted booths, tables and low sofa seating fill the space, with a gas fireplace along the western wall. Wall coverings almost exclusively consist of framed photos of '70s and '80s television shows. If you can think of a popular or annoying show from that era, you'll find a photo hanging somewhere. The grooves are largely Top 40 hits of the period, ranging from disco to rock to pop. Strangely, there is no room left over for a dance floor, which puts a severe crimp on mingling opportunities and makes us miss Polly Esther's...
Trivia: Suzanne Somers (Chrissy) was fired at the end of the 1981 season over salary disputes and clashes with fellow cast members. Her character was never mentioned again.
Reagle Beagle's compact lunch and dinner menu is rather burger-intensive. There's the Ralph Furley, Janet Wood, etc. I feasted on the Jack Tripper—bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and onion rings—and I have no complaints. The Beagle claims to have "Not Yet Famous Burgers" and I'll agree. The real fun begins with their signature drinks. There are a dozen selections as sweet as they are colorful, all made with "call liquors"—i.e. named brands, as opposed to the no-name house swill. Standouts include the Mr. Tea (vodka, rum, tequila, Chambord, blue curacao, sprite) and the Brady Bunch Punch (light rum, dark rum, triple sec, assorted fruit juices). The beer list is fairly limited, but the Reagle Beagle is not that kind of place. Guys, this is your free-pass to indulge in a frou-frou drink or white wine spritzer without becoming automatically gay (maybe). Other than a rotating selection of burgers at lunch, you won't find anything on special at Reagle Beagle. So, while the vibe may be 1984, the prices are firmly 2009.
Trivia: Three's Company spawned two short lived spin-offs: The Roepers and Three's a Crowd. Neither lasted a full season.
The crowd is evenly distributed between locals and tourists, with most seemingly in a celebratory mood. The vibe is not quite like a true singles bar (see: lack of dance floor), but you can find more than sexual innuendo if you play your cards right. You'll find a good cross-section in terms of age and backgrounds and the "Larry factor" (the sleazy lounge lizard character from the show) is relatively low. The staff on both sides of the bar is extremely friendly and accommodating, which is by no means a given these days. Bravo, Reagle Beagle.
Interesting concoctions, cool staff and a throwback atmosphere make Reagle Beagle a place worth checking out. If you like the Beagle, you might want to cab it over to Hangge Uppe or go super-retro and find your way to the hippie-heaven, Sterch's. For more information, check out the Reagle Beagle website. Far out, man.