photo: Courtesy of Nick Filandro
One thing remains constant at Weeds: The owner greets every person who comes in the door. Impossible? Not when he's cast as a statue in a corner of the bar. This likeness of Sergio Mayora, Weeds' charismatic proprietor, only begins to give a sense of the dive's offbeat charm.
Even though we didn't get to meet the man behind the monument, he did indeed make us feel welcome. Though it's not polished or pretty, this place has one of the most congenial atmospheres in Chicago. Go there to talk to friends and have a good time, not to troll for barstool tail.
The bar itself juts into the room and looks as if it was cobbled together by three people using Time-Life books. Its quirky shape provided plenty of room to sit and take in the atmosphere.
A motley collection of paraphernalia, like posters and signs, hangs on the walls. Rather than emanating chain restaurant kitsch, though, the hodgepodge results in a rec-room feel. A few bras dangle from one stretch of the ceiling, the last remnants of a tradition in which female bargoers donated their undergarments to the cause.
Drink prices, while not too expensive ($3 to $4 for most beers), seemed incongruous with the blue-collar surroundings. The drinks had a lowbrow edge, too, with nary an exotic microbrew to be found and Cuervo as the liquor of choice. Taps may run dry, and if that sounds upsetting, head elsewhere. The prevailing attitude is to brush it off and pick a different beverage.
Weeds boasts a generous patio space, where people can engage in a game of beanbag toss. It also hosts an open-mic poetry night on Monday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and live music is a Friday and Saturday night staple, with bands playing rock, blues or even reggae. Be warned, though: Getting to the bathroom sometimes involves dodging a zealous bassist.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kent Green