It's hard to miss the bright red phone booth planted amid Pint's ample patio seating just steps from Wicker Park's six points. Formerly home to the short-lived Irish pub J. Patrick's, Pint's interior remains largely intact, but the mahogany's been dressed up with a nook for lounging and some swank velour couches on the low-lit mezzanine.
Besides the usual brew suspects, you can sip some import gems like Smithwick's Ale or Hacker Pschorr. Regulars favor the slightly bitter DAB lager, served lukewarm. If you want to get hammered on the cheap, go for the $2.50 Pabst on tap or ask about the special. Otherwise, bottles and draughts run $3.50-$5.50 with mixed drinks costing around $6. The kitchen dumped the British pub grub like bangers and mash for American equivalents such as buffalo wings and burgers, but the menu standouts include the Guinness-battered cod sandwich and glazed teriyaki salmon. Complement the goat cheese quesadillas with vodka lemonade for a sweet and savory drink 'n dine combo.
Crisp, clear tunes of XM radio radiate Bose digital jukebox in the back, but it's never so loud that you can't hear yourself drink. Bring your iPod on Wednesday nights for iDJ, a stroke of genius that lets patrons plug in their players for personalized 15-minute sets. A few booths even sport plasma TVs, and by August, live bands on stage will stream straight to the flat screens at your table.
While the pleasant wait staff occasionally verges on saucy (I caught hell from every waitress working for playing Hank Williams on the juke), Pint welcomes everyone, from clean-cut clientele to skaters clad in Misfits Ts. Thursday nights are busiest, but prepare for packed weekend nights when concerts at nearby clubs let out.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Foreman