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The Drifter Gets the Speakeasy Vibe Down Pat

The decor is spot-on, because most of it is actually Prohibition-era.

The bar at the Drifter   Photo: Peter Ranvestel

There are plenty of bars that try for that whole Prohibition-era speakeasy thing. The Drifter (676 N. Orleans St., River North) has an advantage over all of them: It was, in fact, a bar back in that particular time. Everything about that vibe that present-day restaurant designers are paid top dollar to recreate? The Drifter, which is tucked below the Green Door Tavern, still has the originals in sterling condition.

You’ll have to deal with some of the other speakeasy trappings: There are no signs, and you have to knock on the door to be admitted. (After you get called off the wait list, that is.) And there’s kitsch aplenty, from the tarot-card menu to the freewheeling approach to bar entertainment (we caught a glimpse of a burlesque show, but they’ll do a little of everything).

Here’s what else we saw when we stopped in Saturday night.

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