I had heard the Green Door was once a speakeasy, and I'm not sure that's true. But I do know this: It's old, and it has specials, which makes it more than qualified as a place for me to spend a Thursday evening.
Green Door Tavern, 678 N. Orleans, is an interesting mainstay—the building is roughly 130 years old and seems almost out of place among its hip condo neighbors. Inside, however, it's cozy and warm—during my visit, I sat within feet of a toasty fireplace—and filled with people. Small tables dot the bar landscape, and an attentive wait staff comes around often for drink orders.
And with its abundance of nightly specials, you'll be glad they do. The promise of cheapness drew me in with two friends on a recent Thursday. We were in need of some serious catching up—and some serious drinking. The week had not been kind. But vodka? Extremely friendly.
From cheap beer to reasonable cocktails, Green Door serves nightly specials along with far-above-average bar grub. Thursday is $5 martini night, and as long as you chose from a pre-approved list of about a half-dozen varieties, you can get drunk off a few Abe Lincolns all night.
We started out with chocolate martinis ($5), which were creamy and sweet but too rich to continue with all night. Next, I tried an apple martini; the price was right (also $5), but it was a little too tart, and, despite the bar's name, somewhat disturbingly green.
So I moved on to a Cosmopolitan. (And yes, I know three martinis is a lot in one sitting but they weren't huge and I'd had a bad week.) Like Goldilocks' third bowl of porridge, the Cosmo was juuuust right—not too sweet and not too strong. (And $5.) I promptly followed it with several more.
We then decided to order some snacks, and at Green Door, there's plenty to choose from: sandwiches, salads and other hearty fare. Shortly after, six mini hot dogs arrived with fries (an added and unexpected bonus) and a giant plate of greasy, delish onion rings—each for less than $10.
We ate, we drank some more, we laughed and then—wait for it, wait for it—drank some more. And then, the biggest surprise of all: My friends generously paid for all the $5 martinis we'd consumed. I was truly and genuinely touched.
And also, a little bit drunk. Those martinis packed a punch. There truly are some bargains behind the Green Door—color me impressed.
Want more information about the Green Door Tavern and its many specials (like $3 bloody marys on Sunday)? Check out its website, www.greendoorchicago.com.
Erin Brereton is our resident urban cowgirl on a bi-weekly search for life on the cheap. If you know of the mythic happy hour that she missed, do clue her in.