The owners of Grand River have taken over The Ashland, with plans to rechristen it as Ashland 15, opening sometime this summer.
Too far north to succumb to Wicker Park hippitude, too far south to hang with the Roscoe Village sports bar crew, The Ashland is everything in between, named after the street which it calls home.
Connoisseur micro-brews come in souse-friendly, 35-ounce steins ($8 on Mondays and Tuesdays), yet you can still score $1 PBRs. Karaoke rock stars perform next to Golden Tee players. And every other demographic play nice on a fleet of video games from Atari to Wii, in its back atrium of sorts, when not united by Chicago sports teams on one of its five televisions.
Cohesion abounds, mostly instigated by a humorous staff, known for pouring cocktails with names like The Bruised Smurf that promises "You'll get smurfed," and sanctioning local graffiti men to have at the building's facade.
The only thing negating its current all-accessible cool, is the lack of a food menu; the owners are promising popcorn and hot dog machines as a future cure.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul