Excavating a storefront near Ashland and Chicago, just east of Loop Tavern in West Town, newly opened Beatnik, a cocktail bar and restaurant chocked full of eclectic, extravagant decor “inspired by the bohemian lifestyle and aesthetic sensibility of the 1950s in America and Europe” also harks to an earlier area in a wall to the east of their large, year-round enclosed patio beneath glass. The rude traces of a painted wall, appearing to be part of a long-forgotten tobacco store remain visible, an expanse of scumbled black, a serene if sooty trace of ruin, of small commerce and smokes smoked decades ago. CORK TIPS are advertised at roofline below the skylight, and the emblematic signature of Chicago’s leading early twentieth-century sign painters, “Thos. Cusack Co.,” winks in a corner near the street.
1604 W. Chicago, 312.929.4945, beatnikchicago.com
Best of Chicago 2017