A large, vintage-looking building resembling an old English ale house sits unassumingly on the corner in a quiet section of Lakeview. It bears a resemblance to something described in a Dickens novel, a place where you'd expect familiar faces, friends and perhaps a few cads running about, all seeking to eat, drink and be merry.
Two connecting establishments are housed within, distinct in mood and personality but out to achieve to same goal. Jack’s Bar & Grill, a classic neighborhood sports bar, and the 404 Wine Bar, an upscale dining and socializing space, both aim for comfort. "We try as hard as we can to make Jack's an extension of the home," says owner Phyllis Carlucci. "The large space dictated the dual concept and there was just great appeal in opening a comfy, inviting restaurant that was unique and unlike anything else out there."
Guests are immediately greeted by a friendly staff, and the immense dark wood bar setup conjures images of "Cheers." Huge flat-screen televisions and lush, leather couches in every room signal that you've come to the right place to catch the big game or perhaps just enjoy a good meal. The menu carries classic Americana comfort food; customers rave about the signature chicken pot pie. For $15, you can feast on a crispy baked pastry shell stuffed with a garden delight of carrots, mushrooms, corn, peas and potatoes, and of course, savory chicken. The pot pie joins other specialty items like macaroni and cheese and fish and chips on the pricey end of the menu; standard fare like salad, soup, sandwich and appetizer staples won't cost more than $10.
Conveniently, you can order from either Jack's menu or the more upscale wine bar menu anywhere at any point during your visit. You can easily start out the night guzzling beer and munching on chicken wings as the Bears play, and end the evening with engaging conversation over a glass of a deep red wine, its subtle flavors brought out by the appropriate cheese pairing. Anyone you bring here is sure to find something to like, but no matter who you come with, you're bound to leave having made a few new friends.
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray