Telegraph Wine Bar in Logan Square—A Few Tips for Patrons

MESSAGE ALERT: How to decipher the buzzing new spot

Inside Telegraph
Dot dot dot: Locals lean in over small-batch wines at Telegraph

On a previous visit, I had pegged Telegraph, the new wine bar in Logan Square, as the neighborhood’s grown-up alternative to whiskey-sipping hipsterdom. And yet, on this Thursday night, I couldn’t decide which look our waitress was going for: Hee Haw chic or “we’re just as cool as Longman & Eagle” defiant. In her gingham shirt, round glasses, and pigtails, she could have hopped a bus to summer camp at any moment, but instead she companionably suggested I try a Panevino red from Sardinia ($11 a glass). I took her recommendation and rejoined a conversation with my four friends, who were clustered around the high communal table in the bar’s west room.

We were starving, and as we nibbled a tartine of cannellini purée and fried squash blossom ($7) that we wished were twice as big, we tried to decide whether to treat Telegraph as our restaurant of the evening or as a predinner wine stop. When one friend spotted an appealing but unequivocally diminutive half chicken ($17) en route to a diner at the other end of the table, our minds were made up: We needed heartier fare. Having a former Avec sous-chef, John Anderes, in the kitchen is surely a boon, but the tab tends to add up quickly for a place that’s been pitching itself as an unintimidating local option.

Related:

3 MORE AUTUMN DRINKS TO FALL FOR IN LOGAN SQUARE

The Rye Ask Rye at The Double. Twelve ounces of Two Brothers’ Cane and Ebel red rye ale souped up with a shot of Templeton rye; $10. 3545 W. Fullerton Ave.; thedoublechicago.com

The Vermont Cocktail at The Whistler. London dry gin, apple and apricot brandy, maple syrup, lime, and Angostura bitters; $8. 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.; whistlerchicago.com

The Woodburning Stove at Weegee’s Lounge. New Holland amber rum, Koval ginger liqueur, almond syrup, and a sprinkling of nutmeg; $12. 3659 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-0708

Apéritifs it was. Fortunately, there are plenty of unusual choices on sommelier Jeremy Quinn’s pared-down and frequently updated list of what he calls “new Old World wines,” most crafted at small European vineyards with an eye toward sustainability. There’s not a traditional pinot noir in the house, but who needs one when you can try a poulsard from the tiny estate of Evelyn and Pascal Clairet in Jura, France ($9 a glass)? My group loved the selection; we just would have liked a bit more of each to embrace. When one friend ordered a 2008 Wimmer-Czerny sparkler from Wagram, Austria ($16), we regarded the vessel it was delivered in—a cross between a martini glass and a wineglass—with suspicion. “It looks cool,” said my friend, peering at the contents. “But how much wine is actually inside?” Telegraph is either prone to miniature portions or we’re victims of appetite creep.

In any case, the space makes a pretty place to ponder such questions. Both of the bar’s side-by-side rooms overlook the square, and the furniture, custom-made in Mexico (where co-owner Tom MacDonald, the man behind Webster’s Wine Bar and The Bluebird, has lived for the past year), is easy on the eyes but hard on the ears once voices start to bounce off the hard surfaces. Ladies, wear pants if you plan to try to shimmy into a banquette, whose awkward metal legs make a dance out of where to put your own.

In fact, on future visits, I would forgo a table altogether and opt for a more romantic arrangement: two seats for my date and me at the front bar, where conversation requires leaning in rather than shouting, and a direct line is available at all times to one of Quinn’s fellow oenophiles, whom we’ll ask to bring us something worldly and exotic. And not too stingy on the pour.

Telegraph 2601 N. Milwaukee Ave.; telegraphwinebar.com

 

Photograph: Chris Guillen

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3 years ago
Posted by VanessaV

Seriously? Chicago Mag, I expect better. How can you go to a place like Telegraph and not even try the food? You really missed out - that half chicken dish is huge! Wasting this precious space by commenting on what the server is wearing (who cares? are we in middle school?), the decor, and where to sit rather than the exciting and delicious food is just a waste - they are killing it in the kitchen!

Check out Julia Kramer's Time Out review for the real deal: http://timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-bars/14903243/restaurant-review-telegraph

3 years ago
Posted by pknut

Agreed. This place offers way more than a "scene" – these kids are serious about their food and wine.

3 years ago
Posted by RichT2139

Ha! I thought the same thing when I saw this. I couldn't care less about what a waiter wears (and what, exactly, is gingham?) but I am psyched that Telegraph is in my hood, 'cause the food and wine are great and the three times I've been in I've had great meals and drinks for less than the other two big name spots just around the corner (but I like them, too!). Love the space, the service, the food and drink, and that's what's important to me...

3 years ago
Posted by Amalie

Hi there, readers. My monthly 'Cheers' column is dedicated to nightlife, and for me, that means setting the scene and giving people a feel for what it's really like to experience a place rather than running down the menu. Since Telegraph has positioned itself as a neighborhood wine bar, and Cheers is a nightlife column, it made sense to us to approach Telegraph as we did and leave the food to the experts in the magazine’s dining department.

Also, gingham = checked fabric favored by hipsters, prepsters, and picnic tables the world over.

1 year ago
Posted by quilty

so, what i've gleaned from your "review" is that a) you, and your frilly friends, are very frugal when it comes to dining out. i hope they give you an allowance soon, amalie. it tends to benefit dining reviews where one wants to know about the breadth of the menu. b) you have absolutely no idea about the world of wine whatsoever. really, you've never seen/heard of a "coupe" for champagne. also, the pours are the same as any other wine joint. hope y'all got yer fill at El Cid.

1 year ago
Posted by quilty

oh, forget it, i just read that you review "nightlife". awesome.

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