Roger Ebert on one of the best bars

The Old Town Ale House in Chicago. Many storied. One of my favorite places too. Ebert blogs "I returned to the North Avenue drinking scene on New Year's Eve 1966, opening night of the legendary O'Rourke's, two blocks directly west. Its last call was 2 a.m. The Ale House had a 4 a.m. license, so many of us walked down the street to continue. O'Rourke's was the newspaper bar. The Ale House was the bohemian bar. Customers flowed freely between them."


  1. I’ve been there; it’s quite nice, probably the best place left in the now thoroughly-gentrified Old Town (at least that I’ve found). I’m out of the drinking game now (as Ebert has been for a while), but I’ve still got one of their T-shirts, showing a baby with a martini, captioned “When Men Were Men.”

  2. O’Rourke’s was his main bar, of course. He did a great piece on it for Granta. I spent a fair amount of my early childhood at O’Rourke’s, where my parents used to be regulars.

  3. If you like Boing Boing and you’re in Chicago, go to Empty Bottle / the Blue Line scene in general… Don’t waste your time with the crap in Old Town.

    1. The rest of Old Town is pretty much a waste sure, but Old Town Ale House is still a really cool bar with a lot of history. It’s pretty much apples and oranges since EB is a club (a great one), more than a tavern.

  4. Haven’t been there since I was a teenager.  I can remember one time, drinking at the bar with a couple of police a few stools down.  I was 13.  Rules didn’t mean much there.

  5. Living in Chicago in 1962 in Old Town (in a decrepit carriage house), my husband and I made the Old Town Ale House our home away from home (it was few blocks away), where he played chess for beers, and we made a whole bunch of friends. New Year’s Eve (1962/63) was beyond memorable — riotous good fun. I am glad it’s still there. 

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