When you think of a bar, do you think martinis and jazz-fusion or beer and old rock? If it's the latter, you'll be all right at one of P.J. Clarke's three locations. Recently opened outposts in Streeterville and Lincoln Park reflect the spirit of the original Gold Coast location, and all are proudly in the tradition of the dependable neighborhood joint. Pony up to the long bar and choose from an impressive variety of imported and domestic brews, or pick your poison from the extensive booze selection--which is particularly endowed in the single malt scotch department. And hey, if you want that martini after all, they'll whip one up for you; no hard feelings. Despite the local watering-hole aesthetic, the crowd is more young-and-looking-for-love than solemnly sipping, particularly on the weekends.
If you care to sit and eat, P.J. Clarke's will hook you up with fare much better than your average pub grub, going so far as to serve a meal all good and proper-like. Donít expect endive salad and foie gras, however. What you'll find instead is a menu full of comfort food: big salads, hearty soups, burgers, steaks, meatloaf, pot pie--all the stuff that Mom used to make. As seems to be the thing with bars, each location has a private party room that can be rented for parties and such.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Ryan Learmouth