Finally, summer's here and the time has come to make new alcohol-drenched memories. Of course, they tend to fade the morning after (thanks Dewar's), so why not preserve those heady moments for posterity? This week we found some bars with old-fashioned photo booths ($3 apiece), changed a twenty for a stack of ones and crawled away with lots of silly mug shots for our Flickr page.
From the outside Skylark looks condemned, but inside you'll find a roomy bar steeped in 1950's Americana. Retro knick-knack racks and Lassie photos dot the walls, and the furniture up front would look at home on the set of Father Knows Best. A handful of booths and tables offer ample seating for the hipsters and scruffy neighborhood regulars that make this their second home. After chugging a Holy Moses or Mad Hatter from the tap, make your way past the kitchen to the photo booth (look for the reindeer lawn ornament), but stub out that cigarette first since Skylark reserves the surrounding seats for non-smokers.
It's only natural that this gin joint would sport a photo booth. When owner Alex Huebner isn't showcasing contemporary black-and-white work, he decorates his place with Arthur "Weegee" Fellig's gritty snapshots from the '40s and Prohibition-era pics lifted from the Berghoff. In keeping with the noir theme, Huebner serves classic cocktails like the Sidecar ($8) and Crazy Aunt Mary ($9) while be-bop by Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakely sets the mood. Call us hardboiled, but we went for the Rusty Nail ($9), a mix of Dewar's and Drambuie with a twist of lime that sadly left us too tipsy to win at shuffleboard.
The Long Room
Aptly named for a bar that seats 25-plus, this eclectic Ravenswood dive carries a surprisingly good selection of suds, including imports like Trois Pistoles ($6.50) and Orval Trappist Ale ($10). Top that off with $1 cans of Pabst on Tuesdays, an easygoing crowd and a small-but-satisfying beer garden, and you've got the makings of a best kept secret. It took a minute to locate the photo booth, hidden in a lounge-y nook in back, but we appreciated the long mirror that let us wet our cowlicks and check our duds before squeezing in for headshots.
Lincoln Tap Room
Drenched in blood reds and lined with high-backed leather banquettes, Lincoln Tap sits somewhere between rock club and snazzy cocktail lounge. The legendary jukebox of old (with everything from the Clash to classic country) has been ditched for a TouchTunes, so what you'll hear now is anybody's guess. Still, the low-pitched vibe survives as do daily drink specials like Monday's $2 Makers shots and Thursday's $3 pints of Fat Tire. Watch yourself peeling out of the photo booth as it sits feet away from the Tap's two pool tables, especially on Wednesdays when games are free.
Thank the rock gods for Schubas. Almost any given night you can catch live acts ranging from Rage's Tom Morello to Southern Culture on the Skids to an AC/DC cover band. Come early for sound check and see the band huddled around the bar fueling up with $2 bottles of Schlitz or filling American fare from the Harmony Grill next door. Gear up for the gig yourself with sweet corn and crab cakes served with remoulade or a spicy buffalo chicken sandwich. Though seating is tight everywhere, a tiny ledge in the photo booth lets you wedge in a few more friendly faces; it's perfect for dragging a passing rock star into your impromptu photo shoot.
Not through mugging? Check out the photo booths at these bars:
Play Rat Pack at the Holiday Club.
Dance, get thrown from electric bull, then dance some more at Hogs & Honeys.
Explore the astounding selection of Microbrews at Sheffield's.
Just chill at Rainbo Club.
Yes, even Excalibur has a photo booth.