Chicago >Arts & Entertainment > Old Town Social
455 W North Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.910940 -87.640812
Neighborhoods: North Side, Lincoln Park
Head in for tasty charcuterie - try the lamb salami and the hot dog flight - and stay to watch your game in the bar.
Welcome to Old Town, Old Town Social. We've been waiting for good food AND good booze.
OTS takes the "sports bar" (if we can even call it that) to a whole new level. Their homemade charcuterie has a cult following all over Chicago, and the celery caesar is unlike any salad ever seen at a restaurant with TVs.
Wine and Cheese Night - mare... – Some girlfriends and I arrived here a little after 6 to stand in line to be herded into a crowd of wannabe trendy thirty something females. One shuffle around the room and it was evident we needed a table. We found out the only seat available was outside at a long Medieval Times table, slammed between a fence and another group of two tops, BUT the hostess assured us we could still be a part of the wine tasting.
After being greeted, by a pleasant waitress, we decided to order a bottle of wine and a couple of apps. The wine tasting had not even started yet and, with the looks of the inside, it would be a while until our server had time to bring us anything. After scanning the menu we decided on some Pome Frites and Garlic Aioli (fries with garlic mayo) and a white Vermont Cheddar 'plate'. Satisfied with our appetizer selection we move to the wine list. We have a choice of either paying $172 for a bottle of white from the Gods or the choice of TWO reds or TWO whites, both $40+. We settled on a wine which actually did turn out to be pretty tasty, but was a $52 thirst quencher.
As we sat outside in the late summer humidity, groups of ppl started to leave because of the lack of service and poor set up inside. During this time two of my friends went inside to get some snacks and the wine tasting began. Much to their dismay they entered into a room full of lines with all of the cheese and wine in one small corner area, forcing everyone to vie for their own morsel of each. Sometime later they arrived with looks of silent victory just because they made it out of the lines alive! They warn me NOT to go in there myself. They were nice enough to bring two glasses of wine and some small pieces of cheese on napkins for us to share, and actually could not bring three glasses because OTS ran out! Normal at a wine tasting to have no plates or glasses, right?
At this point we have received our fries which are just whatever. We chat and drink and watch as more groups of ppl leave in frustration over the lack of service and planning. At this point we know our wine tasting, and any future visits, are non existent and we discuss where we can go next to make up for this experience. BUT, as we wait we see a man bringing our cheese 'plate' and have hopes this will make up for everything else. Plus, now we have crackers to eat the other, now melted, cheese with.
The food runner places a large board in front of me with oily, grilled bread and the smallest nibble of cheese I have ever seen. We all stare at the slice of cheese and then immediately ask for our bill. Because we had already ordered this we try to dig into this 'massive' piece of mouse trap cheese with our fingers, at this point we still have no silverware or napkins. We each dig a corner off, which is just barely enough to taste, and gather our cash.
While the server at the end of the patio was non-existent during the majority of our visit and several guests had to yell at our server for help, it seems we did luck out on the wait staff at least. She was nice enough to bring us one of the selections of wine in tasting glasses because we had clearly not gotten what we came for.
I have been to OTS before, experiencing similar problems of inattentive, arrogant bartenders and herds of thirsty 9 - fivers. Visit number two sealed the deal on my WHERE NOT TO GO IN CHICAGO list. With SO many options and SO many more comfortable outdoor patios and wine tastings this is certainly not somewhere you want to waste your time on!
Key Learnings for OTS:
- When you have a wine and cheese party - be sure to have stemware, plates and silverware... it helps
- When your wine and cheese offering is only a $5 at the door on a Thursday night - expect a mass of ppl
- When you set up your food, do NOT arrange it next to the wine. Make it easy to grab from the table and create an even flow around the room between food and beverages
Signed - Still Thirsty
Too Loud – Could be a good place, but, around 10:30 p.m. the bar dims the lights and cranks the music. You have to scream to talk to someone, which makes if difficult to meet people. I'm not sure why they do this, as it is a bar, not a club.
Great Neighborhood Bar – Great food and drink, good looking crowd, and definitely a destination"hot spot". The Muffaletta is the best I've tasted.
I'm liking what I see – I was recommended to try this place out by a couple friends who know their food. So I went with my cousin and we split our meals to get a better idea of what the menu was all about.
For starters, we got a chopped salad and the spanish muscles. For the main course, my cousin had the BLT and I had the House burger your way (with a fried egg on it).
The chop salad was VERY VERY good and the muscles were excellent. The muscles had sausage mixed in there. It was a really nice blend of flavors.
I tried my cousin's BLT first, and I have to say that I have never had bacon that good in my life. It was cut thick and so flavorful. I liked the bread they made the sandwich with and I think it had a fried green tomato in it which was pretty cool. All together it was a great sandwich. The burger was really good too, I have never had one with a fried egg on it. I think I would get it the same way again. We shared a side of hand cut fries that came with an aioli. They were nice and not greasy at all.
I give the service an A, our server was very nice and attentive. The decor was really cool. I liked the small little booths that have the curtains. Our server told us a little about the place and she mentioned that the TVs are all retractable. I have to check them out on a late Friday night! Overall, this is a place I would come back to.
I went last night and had the amish chicken - the BEST broiled chicken I have ever had. Seriously. No Joke. I really liked that it was mostly deboned and I would love to find out how they got the skin so crispy and the meat soo juicy. It was topped with their hand cut fries. Plating was very nice too. We had some starters that were pretty good too. The flat bread was so good, we ordered a second (guys night out to watch the bears game) and the duck wings were surprisingly good, I liked the dipping sauce. It was like a greek tzatziki sauce. I tried some of my buddy's giardiniera and it was again really good.
Industry vets created a grown-up hang with a vintage feel. – This bar/restaurant masquerades as a neighborhood joint, but with an eclectic menu full of from-scratch dishes and an extensive selection of domestic and imported craft beers, it's much more. The 10,000-square-foot former warehouse and audio shop is full of turn-of-the-century touches, including vintage sofas, hand-blown glass fixtures and a carved wood fireplace. During the day, sports fans gather around the numerous flatscreens. A slightly older evening crowd munches on dishes like smoked trout salad, crispy duck wings and grilled sausage and waffles. Late-night draws a younger, stylish group congregating in U-shaped leather booths and at the marble-topped long high-tops.
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