If you find yourself in Wrigleyville looking for a place to go when you're not in the mood for the frat scene (and you wouldn't mind grinding on the dance floor to reggae), we've found your oasis—and it's been there for 21 years. It's the Wild Hare, and it draws one of the most diverse crowds you'll find (certainly in Wrigley).
On any night, a group of 35-year-old women celebrating ladies' night will share the two-level space with the dreadlock set, a few yuppies and a Eugene Levy look-alike wearing a tropical-print shirt and feeling the music (but not the rhythm) of Gizzae, a reggae band that performs regularly. And that's okay; everyone's welcome at the Wild Hare—as long as you don't wear baggy pants, sneakers or a hat and can pay the $5-$15 cover.
Partly because of the varied crowd but mostly because of its early 2007 renovation, the Wild Hare now feels like a bar you'd come across while vacationing on an island. The vibe hits once you travel past the open main floor to find a faux hut facade and a fake palm decorating the back bar. A DJ booth that's fashioned as a replica of the ultimate Jamaican sound system (a truck loaded with speakers that rolls around town) sits to the right. Further back lies the stage, where live entertainment performs in front of a video screen projecting images of Bob Marley.
Drinks come in plastic cups and run $6-$8, so beer (most cost $4-$5) makes for a cheaper option. Music at the Wild Hare doesn't stray much from reggae and world beat, so if you're more into dancehall (think Sean Paul riddims), you'd probably do better elsewhere. But reggae-heads and those looking for an island vibe in Chicago will have a blast.
Centerstage Reviewer: Maya Henderson