Three steps inside Pub Royale (2049 W. Division St., Wicker Park, pubroyale.com) and you're smacked with the smell of curry wafting from the kitchen. But don't think the latest Heisler Hospitality (Sportsman's Club, Lone Wolf) is some kitschy send-up of all things Indian. The spot's a little more subtle than all that—yes, the drink menu includes a spiked mango lassi, and yes, that is some sitar music woven in between Rolling Stones tracks, but the place is a surprisingly cool respite from the increasingly clubby confines of Division Street.
With the bright yellow front doors propped open, the interior felt positively breezy, perfect for taking in a sizable beer menu or some of the Indian-inspired bar snacks. Add in plush seats and a low-key crowd and you could be looking at a contender for Bar of the Summer.
Here's what else we saw when we stopped in.