Though part of the continuing westward march of Chicago’s nouveau bar scene, Swill Inn (415 N. Milwaukee Ave., River West) takes part in none of the movement’s pretensions. Its owners specifically opened the spot to purvey cheap but quality fare, and it delivers in that department, with 75-cent wings on weekdays and $9 cocktails. Come for special weekly menu items, like $1 oysters on Monday and Fish Fry Friday, and stay for dessert (toffee buttermilk cake, anyone?).
Lightly renovated from its former life as the Paramount Room, the interior is homey, if a little eclectic: The wall displays everything from Lucky Strike adverts to, inexplicably, a portrait of a young Claude Debussy. There’s one TV over the bar — enough to catch the game, but unobtrusive for folks who prefer conversation to the Cubs.