The Chaser

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Find Me An Apartment (and a bar): The Chaser faces a Chicago real estate quandary

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Amalie Drury

It's my job to write about Chicago and all of its people, places and things. If it's new and it's cool, I'm checking it out.

The Drawing Room is a craft-cocktail mecca, home of the Old-Old Fashioned.

Could The Drawing Room ever become The Chaser's neighborhood bar?

It's Friday, so I thought I'd take a break from frantically searching apartment listings on Craigslist to kick back and consider one very important real estate question: which bars could I stand living near?

You see, the new owner of my longtime building on Mohawk Street has some pretty wild ideas about how much a certain writer can reasonably be expected to pay for a drafty, dark, noisy "1BD" (quotes denote fact that bedroom is actually a converted sun porch) with a teeny tiny shower whose water pressure renders the removal of Pantene Pro-V from The Chaser's luxe locks a daily battle. He clearly doesn't realize what a valuable tenant I am (unlike my sweet former landlord, Bob, who used to show people my byline in magazines and tell them there was a celebrity living in the building--a major ego boost). 

I am, therefore, moving. I think. On June 1. 

But first I have to find an acceptable place to live, and it'd better not be near a bogus bar. 

For years, my closest option has been the River Shannon on Armitage Avenue. It's not the coolest hipster hangout on the planet, but it works for the following reasons: 

1. Two blocks away
2. Reasonably priced drinks
3. Good barstool availability 
4. Free popcorn
5. Giant Jenga

Now that it's looking more and more like I'm being priced out of my preferred four-block radius in north Old Town, how will I ever find an apartment that fulfills both my living (updated 1- or 2-bedroom w/ hardwood floors, a dishwasher, easy parking, bay windows and close proximity to lake on leafy residential side street) AND drinking requirements (unpretentious neighborhood bar w/ non-shady age-appropriate crowd, amiable bartenders and giant Jenga/Wii bowling)?

It's beginning to feel like a mission impossible. I've looked at 11 apartments so far, most of them dumps. And I'm not going to name names because that would border on unprofessional, but wow, there are a LOT of bars where I never plan to become a regular. Meanwhile, here are a few feasible options: 

APT: A top-floor (read: attic) 1BD on Kenmore near Belmont
BAR: Matilda (their 23+ age requirement is right up my alley--I hope the crowd skews even older) 

APT: Overpriced high-rise unit at 3600 N. Lake Shore w/ creepy mirrors on every wall
BAR: Joe's on Broadway (3563 N. Broadway; never been there, but most Yelp reviewers describe it as a "solid old-man dive bar")  

APT: Supremely dirty but big 2BD on Grace near Wrigley
BAR: Rockit Wrigley (I've always been a sucker for those sweet potato fries) 

APT: Yet-to-be-discovered dream habitat in Buena Park, the 'hood that's currently reeling me in with its charming street names (Bittersweet!), cute library and great lake access
BAR: Bar on Buena (it made Chicago mag's 100 Best Bars list back in February, so it must be good, right?)

APT: Vintage 1BD on Bellevue in the Gold Coast (seeing it this weekend), where I could walk to events but where my car, Black Beauty, might feel out of place among the Lamborghinis 
BAR: The Drawing Room (this could be a positive step toward curtailing my drinking habits, since I can only afford so many of those premium Old-Old Fashioneds) 

Please, readers, I need you now like I've never needed you before. Find me an apartment, I beg you. And a bar. Or just tell me where you live/drink and why I should move there, too. 

Yours Truly,
The Chaser

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2 Comments

Liz K said:

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We're near Sheffield and Armitage and while Kincade's is closer, we are very happy to avoid the frat crowd and walk the extra couple blocks to Marquee Lounge. Love their craft beer selection!

Amalie Drury said:

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Yeah, Liz, I've been there a couple of times lately! It's definitely the more grown-up option. Maybe I should look on your street for For Rent signs.

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