I hadn’t planned on spending my Tuesday night staring at boobs. But I had planned to spend it drinking beer, and after a failed trip to Bronzeville’s newly opened, and seemingly newly closed, Swagger Lounge (5048 S. Prairie Ave.)—the door was boarded up; the lights were off; phone seems to have been disconnected; does anyone know what’s going on here?—I still wanted a pint. And in true Chaser style, I wanted it some place new. Enter Tilted Kilt, a chain started in Vegas that has, ahem, busted its way into the Loop.
And how. The cocktail-waitress uniform at this Hooters-gone-Celtic pub consists of a micro-mini plaid skirt with a matching bra nominally covered by a belly-baring button-down, tied Britney Spears–style. Our bartender, however, was dressed head-to-toe in black, from his T-shirt to his kilt. We suspected my husband, Ben, might have gotten entirely different—i.e., female—service had he not been seated next to yours truly. In the end, I would have taken a scantily clad female over our server, who, while perfectly friendly, didn’t know his way around the taps or a margarita recipe. (What is it with bars opening without training their bartenders?)
When I did get my long-awaited pint of Leffe, it came in a hefty 20-ounce glass ($6). The pour was manly—as was pretty much every single nook and cranny of the place, from its sea of sports-bearing flatscreens, to its pool tables, dartboards, and Golden Tee, to the photos of Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, and other 007s (whom the overwhelmingly male patronage, no doubt, is encouraged to look upon as brethren). Even the wine list, with its Menage à Trois Red, seems designed to boost testosterone. Not that the crowd needs it. I didn’t see any devastatingly handsome types (except Ben, of course), but I did see plenty of guys flying unabashedly solo, no doubt enjoying the scenery.
What didn’t strike me as particularly masculine was the cocktail list. Last time I checked, Caramel Appletinis didn’t scream “let me be your babydaddy.” Even the Bomber menu, which sounds like it should put some hair on your chest, includes the Lunchbox ($6.95), a fruity blend of Southern Comfort and amaretto dropped into beer and orange juice. But none of the bargoers seemed to care. At the end of the day, a place like this is less about the glass and more about, well, the ass.