Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whiskey Bar & Grill

When I think of a bar called Whisky, I think of the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, a bar on the Sunset Strip that has long been considered the center of the L.A. rock scene. Many bands that went on to become huge played here in their early days and there have been many songs that have been written about the Whisky (including Rolling Stones "Going to a Go Go"). While the Whisky is connected intimately with L.A., it actually started in Chicago in 1958. The original bar on Rush and Chestnut is long gone but there is another bar on Rush Street called the Whiskey Bar and Grill. It is not connected at all with the original although it seems to want to play on the apparent connection. The walls and furniture are of dark reclaimed wood and there is a big, heavy looking, hardwood bar in each of the two rooms. The booth seating is brown leather and one wall has portrait photographs of famous rock stars like Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, and Janis Joplin. There are also two big communal tables in the main dining area. The place looks to me like it's trying to be a rock star dive bar like the LA Whisky. The problem with copies is that they are just that and if the copies aren't that good, then it lowers the value that much more. While there should be some roughness expected from reclaimed wood, there seemed to be a lot of wear around the edges and on the leather upholstery. There are also depressions in the upholstery where many people have previously sat. The rock star dive is just becoming a dive.

I came here for breakfast on the morning after St. Patrick's Day because I thought coming to a place that tries to project a rock star vibe on the morning after a night of decadence would be rather entertaining. The place was fairly full when I came in and many of the people looked pretty rough. As you may have already guessed, I was pretty unimpressed with the look of the place. I was equally unimpressed with the menu. There was nothing on the menu that I wouldn't expect to see on any diner menu in Chicago. I ended up ordering the Huevos Rancheros. I could have had the choice of fried or scrambled eggs (I ordered scrambled) that were cooked with salsa verde and chorizo, and served on corn tortillas with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and pico de gallo. Fried potatoes were served on the side. While the food wasn't bad, it just wasn't impressive and played at about diner level. The picture above, while it is huevos rancheros, is not actually the dish that I had at the Whiskey Bar and Grill. It is a placeholder trying to take the place of the original, kind of like the bar.

While it was kind of entertaining to watch people on the morning after, neither the decor nor the food will bring me back to the Whiskey Bar & Grill. If I have a desire for the type of morning food that they serve here, I will go to a diner.

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