Peek-a-Boo Bar and Grill

The newest trend in nightlife might be more of an anti-trend: the return of the local bar. “We’re bringing the old neighborhood back,” says Chris Spina, the 55-year-old owner of Peek-a-Boo Bar and Grill (440 N. Aberdeen St.), a martini lounge with a jazzy vibe that opened on a quiet corner in West Town in November. “Before we opened, [family friend and Rosebud founder] Alex Dana walked all four corners of the area and said: ‘I have a great name for this place. Call it da Peek-a-Boo,'” Spina says in his thick Chicago accent.

Another new neighborhood joint that seems as if it’s been around for years is Patsy’s Place (2825 N. Lincoln Ave.). Though located in the more nightlife-centric hub of Lincoln Park, it’s just as easy to miss—and to love. The owners of The Dark Horse Tap & Grill (3443 N. Sheffield Ave.) turned this former sushi place into a friendly little dive, with black-and-white family photos and comfort food to soak up the booze. The bar was empty when we arrived, but by the time we left at 3 a.m., the space was packed, and we were double-dipping our fried dough in the same cheese trough as the staff. Just like family.


Photograph: Chris Guillen