If you've ever been to the Hideout, you know how it got its name. Nestled in an industrial park between the Kennedy and Chicago River, the former bootlegger bar is impossibly hard to find, to the degree that guessing you made a wrong turn along the way is a Chicago rite of passage.
The bar's new satellite location on the Riverwalk is the opposite. Located in a leasable retail space at Wabash and Wacker, the bar isn't just easy to stumble upon (go down the staircase at State and Wacker and turn right), but visible to anyone leaning over the river's north-side railing.
The accessibility showed at last night's grand opening, where bluegrass quartet the Wandering Boys played to an at-capacity crowd of 250. "It's way more people than we thought," said slightly ruffled co-owner Tim Tuten between running beers to tables. "The Hideout is just this little bar on Wabansia where everybody knows everybody. Here, there's all these people we don't know telling us they work downtown. It's fantastic."
If a downtown location is the antithesis of the Hideout, the Hideout Riverwalk is also the antithesis of downtown—relaxed, cheap, and packed with locals. The shady patio (pictured above) dons eight picnic tables and three hightops where patrons can see free live music most nights—the Tutens' restitution for taking a year off their annual block party. Inside are nine more tables and a bar built into a wood replica of the Hideout's 24 foot–wide Wabansia storefront.
Beer starts at $4 (PBR) and climbs from there (Lagunitas tops out at $7) with wine and cocktails available in the $9-$10 range. Pasties from Bridgeport Pasty are available for $8 a pop, and fruit & veggies go for $4–$6. There's also a beautiful $6 beer & Malort deal available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The bar crowd skews after-work if every day were casual Friday, and smacks of the type that runs for the train when they want a post-office drink. "We're not doing this for tourists" says Tuten, whose choice to move downtown was met with skepticism by some Hideout devotees. "We're doing it [so] Chicagoans that live here can have a regular bar. There should be affordable beer on the river."
The Hideout Riverwalk's band lineup isn't entirely nailed down, but they'll operate on a residency schedule for the first month. All shows are free and begin at 5:30 each day but Wednesday and Saturday, when the city promotes its own freebies at the Riverwalk Theater between Clark and LaSalle. The Wandering Boys will play Thursdays, Devil in a Woodpile will play Tuesdays, Fridays will feature rotating jazz, and Sunday shows, which begin at 1 p.m., belong to the Hat Stretchers. After the first month, the Tutens will book their remaining six weeks in the space like the regular Hideout (check back for an updated schedule). If all goes well, they'll apply again next year, which could mean a Summer 2016 with a Hideout Block Party and Riverwalk fest. Fingers crossed.