Bars with DJ booths tend to verge on entering club territory as the night goes on. At Dorian’s (1939 W. North Ave., Wicker Park), a large stage for live tune-spinning serves more as source of a really, really chill soundtrack to unwind to over a strong cocktail. Great music is at the heart of this dimly lit spot, which is tucked behind the facade of a tiny record store complete with listening stations. The shop is stocked with selections from the collection of programming director Joe Bryl, who at times gets behind the turntables at Dorian’s to play some classical jazz or downtempo head-nodders.
One might think that this retro den, with its wood-paneled walls and cushy booths, would serve only stiff, classic tipples like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. But Dorian’s menu shows its playful side, filled with drinks with creative touches, from a cocktail topped with Fruit Loops to vessels shaped like snowmen, whales, and a large flamingo. It’s the kind of bar where you can end up spending the entire night as the atmosphere quickly draws you in.