You may remember Hi-Tops as a sports bar/nightclub that brought Division and Rush Streets to Wrigleyville. Well, just like the girls you may have witnessed celebrating birthdays by grinding one another on elevated platforms, the bar grew up, relocating near DePaul in a much smaller site; the old space since became Harry Caray's Tavern
Notice the marquis remains the same, and some framed moments in sports history also made the transition. Aside from these artifacts, Hi-Tops presents an entirely new face. The scent of fresh cedar suggest new tables, hardwood floors and a wood-based bar done modern. An overflow room holds additional tables lined against block windows and exposed brick. A second, full-service bar awaits crowds reminiscent of the space’s previous tenant, The Gin Mill. Hi-Tops general manager Todd Suban described the Mill as "a smoky, throwback tavern that needed a little love." The old Gin Mill sign hangs on pumpkin-colored walls near the back.
On any given evening, Hi-Tops attracts a number of sports enthusiasts and college students. Some watch the game on one of the numerous flat-screen televisions; note there are as many screens as there are tables. Others exchange dialogue over a couple Blue Moons tucked near the wall. And yet another tackles his homework (free wi-fi available). All the while, a friendly staff continuously top off drinks as necessary.
Unlike the former Hi-Tops, the compact size allows staff a more hands-on approach in really getting personal with clientele. Rekindling old memories, dropping down and getting your eagle on likely won't occur, but Suban says it's not discouraged either. And once the game ends, the sports crowd retires home transforming the bar into a place for mingling with tea lights dropped on tables. Come Tuesdays for half off food and drinks or Wednesdays for $2 half-pound burgers and $3 draft beers. No cover.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez