A product of Pilsen
's ongoing gentrification, this massive hipster gastropub combines the restaurateur powers of Streetside
cookie-cutter pubs, with a little hipitude hand from the owner of Danny's
. The result is pretty commercialized faux-dive, hodge-podging every kind of found material from seat belts and pinball machines to steel cages and church pews, but saves grace with a kitchen nod to the Mexican roots of the neighborhood and top-notch microbrews on tap for under $6.
The gaudiness peaks at the end of a bar top fashioned from a bowling alley, commanding a handful of high school chemistry tables graffito tagged to the nines. Though the manila file-folder menus do connect some dots, and give the eyes a rest with bistro-worthy pub grub, fusing those 'hood roots with black bean and banana stuffed empanadas, lots of Chihuahua cheese inclusion and baked goods from nearby Kristoffer's. Cocktails get straight back to the kitsch, with Pop Rocks rims and sarsaparilla numbers ($6-$11).
Or skip the eat and drink entirely and attend one of the many exhibitions in the back room dubbed "Simone's Lab," where local artists install a little uniformity on the walls.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul