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Sally's Lounge; a typical yet interesting Chicago dive bar

Chicago's Sally's Lounge on Western
Chicago's Sally's Lounge on Western

With its plain front and glowing hanging Old Style sign, you get the impression that Sally's Lounge is a typical corner Chicago dive bar. The interior reinforces this with a simulated wood tile floor and white wood paneled walls displaying Heineken and Coors mirrors, Bud Light posters, Miller Lite hanging lamps, and the usual array of neon signs. However the actual bar, positioned in the middle rear of the room, is one of the most interesting thing about Sally's Lounge. While the white Formica top and wood trim, along with brown vinyl backed stools may not be anything special, it's the horseshoe shaped bar that stands out, encouraging patrons to interact as they sit across from each other.

Sally's Lounge on Western
Sally's Lounge on Western
Dean Pappas

Besides it's unique bar, other factors give Sally's Lounge it's charm including a late 60s/early 70s light fixture hanging over the bar, an old mural on the back right wall of dogs in coats drinking at a bar, and wood tables/desks that sit on wood stages/platforms in the front.

The jukebox box plays a variety of music including REM, Queen, Johnny Cash, Lady GaGa, Miles Davis, and Pearl Jam. Other entertainment options include pool and an Adams Family pinball machine Along with two flat screen televisions.

Marcus, the owner, bought Sally's Lounge in August 2008, but the bar has been in operation since the 50s. Marcus calls Sally's Lounge an “upscale dive bar” that offers free WiFi and is both bike and dog friendly. He also related the story of how $20.00 and a bag of Coke was found in a hidden compartment in the base of a W.C. Fields wood statue that has long been a fixture at Sally's Lounge. Marcus also mentioned that actress Jennifer “Flashdance” Beals filmed exterior scenes at Sally's for the new Fox show “Ride-Along.” This was also noted in Michael Sneed's May 2, 2010 Sun-Times column.

Domestic bottles are usually $3.00 with imports costing an additional $1.00. Well drinks are in the $4.00 range with top shelf brands costing $6.00. But if your seeking specials, Sally's Lounge certainly isn't lacking. On Mondays well and Bushmill drinks are $2.00. Tuesday offers $1.00 off Tequila drinks and shots and $3.00 Coronas. Wednesday brings $4.00 Stella Artois, Dirty Blonde Ales, and $5.00 Old Style Pictures. Thursday's are ladies nights where women can get loaded for half off all night, as well as receiving a free cocktail if they are wearing a mini-skirt. Friday's whiskey drinks were discounted $1.00. Old Style pints are usually $2.00, but on Sunday's you can knock a dollar of that already reasonable price. Bloody Mary will set you back $4.00. No food is served, although they once had a popcorn machine, but that didn't work out according to bartender Karin. Keep in mind that Sally's Lounge is a CASH ONLY establishment with an ATM.

Karin mentioned that locals frequent the bar, but there is a good mix of all types of people. Saturday's are their busy nights. On this rainy Friday night there were just a few patrons who seemed to be regulars and well-known by Marcus.

Sally's Lounge has a casual vibe that may evoke the feeling that your hanging out at a friend's basement. There's a drink special for everyone and Marcus seems to really want his patrons to feel comfortable. It's an unpretentious bar where people go to have a few drinks and have some carefree conversation. And they have “bendy.” When was the last time you had a bendy straw at a bar? That alone is reason to have a few at Sally's.

Sally's Lounge
3759 N. Western (at Grace)
Chicago, IL 60618
773-463-7120
facebook.com/sallyslounge

Sunday to Friday 4PM-2AM
Saturday 11AM-3AM

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