When the folks behind Cozmo's got sick of the nightclub business, they decided to open a low-key neighborhood sports bar in its place. Considering the edge that Stooges Bar and Grill seems to have over other Chicago-area sports bars, this was a brilliant decision. You see, the food at Stooges isn't just good; it's fantastic. A char-broiled burger with a mountain of seasoned curly fries will set you back a whopping five bucks. The same exact meal is available for one dollar every Monday. The rest of the menu consists of typical bar fare with a little flair—like empanadas, chicken kebabs and the Stooges specialty, a deep-fried hot dog. Not a thing on the menu costs over $7, and portions dwarf the common perception of "bar food."
The DePaul-area bar has a loft appeal; exposed brick walls and duct work maintain the understated vibe, while the extra-long bar and smattering of flat screen televisions are purely for function. The back room—which offers a pool table, dart board and digital jukebox—is transformed into a karaoke lounge every Tuesday, when the drinks (from domestic drafts all the way up to top-shelf Patron) are only three bucks all night. The owner himself plays DJ for the weekly karaoke parties, which have proven to be the bar's most popular events. A touch of the old Cozmo's can be gleaned from dance parties every Thursday and Friday night, during which live DJs play everything from trance to alternative music.
Perhaps the most refreshing element of Stooges is the crowd. Truckers and blue-collar types stop by for weekday lunch, the college crowd pours in for dance nights and locals belly-up during Bears games, making it impossible to pigeonhole the ever-evolving scene at this promising North Side bar.
Centerstage Reviewer: K. Tighe