You’ve probably walked past the joint a million times without noticing it. Its windows are tinted black and the signage is inconspicuous. A ghostly font identifies the place. When you walk in, there are stools and microphones in the corner that intimate a festive ambience. But generally, it’s a quiet place where Balkan ex-pats meet to watch a football game, play chess, enjoy some cuisine from back home, or sip an espresso, though usually something harder. The clientele is mostly an older crowd with storied faces. On occasion, the guitarist from the Chicago Brauhaus can be seen in the back of the restaurant smoking an electronic cigarette. The gem of this unassuming café is the chebapi plate, a generous serving of the most delicious, savory sausages accompanied by brown bread, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. The only thing missing is rakija to wash it down. But that’s not a problem, as the Bourbon Café has no shortage of substitutes.
4768 N. Lincoln, 773.769.3543, facebook.com/BourbonCafeChicago
Best of Chicago 2014