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Barley & Brass Tries and Succeeds to Be Everything at Once

Cocktails, beers, comfy booths, and a grass-fed burger with gouda. What else does a Wicker Park spot need?

Bartender at Barley & Brass   Photo: Peter Ranvestel

Barley & Brass (2015 W. Division St., Wicker Park), like so many places these days with ampersands in their names, wants to be a little bit of everything—the cool cocktail bar you can take a date to, the spot you can linger over craft beers, the neighborhood gastropub. And it actually succeeds at being so much all at once.

Pull up to the bar for a boilermaker with house-made cinnamon whiskey to kick off a serious night of drinking, or lounge in a comfy corner booth until close with a grass-fed burger and kegged cocktails to keep you company. (The bar comes from the team behind 25 Degrees, another successful practitioner of the little-bit-of-everything approach to a night out.) It’s a multipurpose, casual space (previously the home of the short-lived Fame Bar, though it’s mostly unrecognizable from its last incarnation) with just enough of an edge.

Here’s what we saw when we stopped by Saturday night.

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