East Room (2828 W. Medill, Logan Square), a weeks-old speakeasy just off that exploding stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, has all the hallmarks of a trendy bar. There's no signage marking the entry; rather, patrons line up under a single red bulb at a side door. The crowd skews toward skinny jeans and beards. Everything is dark, with arthouse films projected onto one wall and plenty of exposed brick. And there's plenty of repurposing, like a (still-functioning) elevator that's been stuffed with benches and pillows and is used as a secluded nook.
But don't let the description lull you into dismissive eye-rolling. East Room is cool without trying too hard, a friendly hideaway that's focused on keeping the crowd happy and liquored up for a bargain (no "craft cocktail" menu here, just solid bar standards and a beer and a shot of Paddy's whiskey for $5 depending on the night.)
Here's what we saw there while scoping it out on Saturday.