Thalia Hall, a historic graystone on a corner in Pilsen, was ground zero for Bohemian culture in Chicago a century ago. Today, instead of Czech immigrants reminiscing about the homeland, artsy locals flock to the rehabbed spot—now home to apartments, a vintage home goods and furniture shop, and an indie grocery—to scope out its new tenants.
The beer-focused restaurant Dusek’s occupies the main level, while Punch House, a come-as-you-are bar with decor recalling your family’s rec room circa 1975, inhabits the basement. Both are the handiwork of Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden (Longman & Eagle, Empty Bottle, Space). The duo plans to open a music venue above Dusek’s in early 2014.
Punch House’s cocktail list offers quaffable originals alongside classics. Space Juice for Jered (pictured), a mix of tequila, grapefruit juice, lime, Aperol, black pepper, sage, and sparkling wine, is a standout. Down a glass ($8) or get your thirsty crew to spring for a crystal bowl of it ($59).
Snag a horseshoe-shaped booth or belly up for a view of the 225-gallon tropical fish tank (that’s right, no flat screens here). Come to think of it, Punch House is about as bohemian—by the new definition, that is—as it gets. 1227 W. 18th St., 312-526-3851