Lakeview’s got plenty of Irish pubs; too many, if you ask brothers Mitch and Leo Gundogdu. So to add a splash of something unique to the neighborhood, Mitch and Leo brought some New York flair to the former Mennonite bible school they converted into Ole Lounge. “Most bars around here have the same drinks, same music, same crowd,” says Mitch, who, along with his brother, spent years working at his parents’ now-shuttered Lincoln Square restaurant. “Leo and I wanted to use our experience to create our own space.”
Inspired by a bar they visited in the Big Apple, they attached birch trees to the ceiling, which, when lit from above, cast forest-like shadows on the walls. On Thursday through Sunday nights, a live DJ spins anything from acid jazz to hip-hop, and a peepshow kitchen allows patrons to view a sliver of chef Joel Cooper’s action.
Hot and cold tapas rule the menu, and featured dishes include pincho de pollo (six skewered chicken breasts with caramelized onions), mejillones al vapor (steamed mussels with spinach chorizo in a wine-based broth), ensalada rusa (classic Spanish potato and tuna salad) and marinated olives with fennel, orange, lemon, chili flakes and olive oil. On the drink menu, red and white sangria is rounded out by options like a strawberry-raspberry mojito or tequila with grapefruit soda. Most dishes cost $5-$10, while drinks average around $7.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg