4035 W. Fullerton Ave.
Price of Old Style: $3.25 bottles
The Levee has the best bar in the city, and needs to be patented. It's unique curvature allows for someone to sit 8 barstools down from you and basically have a face-to-face conversation. The other face to my face was Dixie, a 62-year old African-American man who couldn't have been more than 5'1", 120 lbs, married a white woman back in the early 70's, was a huge Sox fan, loved Screwdrivers, seemed like he had a huge chip on his shoulder, but couldn't be a nicer guy.
The owner of the bar, Warren, with his deep bellowing voice, teased Dixie a number of times about his small stature, but it was all in good fun. Warren, noticing our new faces, wasted no time chatting us up to get to know us better. "You guys from around here?", he started with, and the conversation began.
We found out that Warren has owned The Levee for over 32 years, is an ex-Marine, and has lived in the Hermosa neighborhood his whole life. He has six kids, and his oldest, Kim, was tending bar this evening. He told us stories about coaching national championship 16-inch softball teams, his annual vacations to Mexico, and how he could get tickets for any team in the city. He's even inducted in the 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame! Warren is the main reason this place is still around...he creates an atmosphere that allows for great conversation, and then delivers with amazing stories. We could have stayed there all night.
Knowing we had other bars to visit, and needing a little change of pace, we strolled into the back room. I had actually been to this bar before, and I knew there was a basketball hoop hidden in the back bar area by the pool tables. Would Warren be up for a little bet? Of course he would... Best out of 10, lowest score buys the next round. Unfortunately, my brother didn't have quite the hot hand that Warren and I did (9 out of 10 for both of us), and lost the bet. We went back to our seats, and got ready to buy the next round, but Warren beat us to the punch and there were three shots of Jameson waiting for us at the bar. "Thanks for coming in, guys...hope to see you again". Cheers, Warren. We hope to be back soon.
Here is video of our contest, and by the way, this was the warm up...we were both pretty bad here. Check out the shot by Warren at 0:54 -- he definitely received a home-court bounce...
--There is a large bush outside the bar trimmed in the shape of a beer bottle.
--The barstools are from the old Soldier Field skyboxes, bought in an auction while they were renovating the stadium.