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Sportsman's Club - Humboldt Park

Sportsman's Club - Humboldt Park
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  • Sportsman's Club - Humboldt Park

    Post #1 - January 18th, 2014, 4:46 pm
    Post #1 - January 18th, 2014, 4:46 pm Post #1 - January 18th, 2014, 4:46 pm
    This new bar from Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner (owners/Bar DeVille) + Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue (both formerly of Barrelhouse Flat) opened in late December. I checked it out earlier this week and thought it was a great, mellow place to spend some quality drinking time. The space is dark and woody, and contains many original, vintage elements. The preponderance of mounted game heads throughout the space, which reflect the bar's name, are new additions. There's a beautiful long bar on one side, several booths with backgammon boards as tabletops on the other and even a back yard, which should be spectacular once the weather turns. A reel-to-reel player provides the tunes, which were outstanding. On this night we heard everything from Tom Waits to Gram Parsons.

    From what I recall, there are 4 cocktails on a rotating menu and a couple more permanent items. Some are classics like the Bijou, others like the Bourbon-Pecan-Lemon are originals. There's also a bourbon-based, namesake libation, The Sportsman, that's very tasty. There are also handful of thoughtfully-chosen beers offered. It's a tavern, so no food is served.

    Wade and Jeff are both skilled barmen who make tasty drinks, and they're also great hosts. If you like a mellow bar with an easy vibe, quality drinks, friendly hosts and fine tunes, I recommend checking out Sportsmans Club.

    =R=

    Sportsman's Club
    948 N Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue --Aaron Franklin

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #2 - January 18th, 2014, 6:49 pm
    Post #2 - January 18th, 2014, 6:49 pm Post #2 - January 18th, 2014, 6:49 pm
    Both the bourbon pecan lemon and the Armagnac/Amaro cocktails that I had when I was there were terrific. Wish it was just a touch closer to home (please oh please will someone do something a little further north??) but I really enjoyed the quiet, neighborhood-joint vibe and the bar staff were knowledgable and 'tude-free. Look forward to returning soon.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #3 - January 19th, 2014, 12:59 pm
    Post #3 - January 19th, 2014, 12:59 pm Post #3 - January 19th, 2014, 12:59 pm
    It's great. It gets absurdly crowded on weekends now though, even in bad weather. If it keeps going the way it's going they are going to need a bouncer. Perfect proof this area has an eager bar crowd.

    Wish more people would look into opening around here rather than the more bar-saturated Logan Square, but my understanding now based on being more involved with neighborhood politics is that it is NIMBYism that keeps bars way from so much of the area. The neighborhood associations of the neighborhoods just east would be at home in a Prohibition Area meeting of the Lady's Temperance Christian Union.
  • Post #4 - January 19th, 2014, 5:36 pm
    Post #4 - January 19th, 2014, 5:36 pm Post #4 - January 19th, 2014, 5:36 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:The neighborhood associations of the neighborhoods just east would be at home in a Prohibition Area meeting of the Lady's Temperance Christian Union.


    I don't blame them. The steady stream of awful sports bars popping up along Division between Ashland and Western is enough to make me more than a bit wary of any new liquor license application. It looks like the area has been moving more toward the Lincoln Park demographic than Logan Square. I just wish some of the dive bars on the back streets would up their cocktail game. I still have a nostalgic soft spot for those places, but my taste in alcohol has "matured." :wink:
    The meal isn't over when I'm full; the meal is over when I hate myself. - Louis C.K.
  • Post #5 - January 19th, 2014, 11:53 pm
    Post #5 - January 19th, 2014, 11:53 pm Post #5 - January 19th, 2014, 11:53 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:It's great. It gets absurdly crowded on weekends now though, even in bad weather.

    This doesn't surprise me. There aren't many quality bars in the immediate vicinity and the place isn't very big. I think it's going to become a special place very quickly. Like many of us, I'd love to have a bar like this within walking distance of my home.

    =R=
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue --Aaron Franklin

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #6 - January 20th, 2014, 12:45 am
    Post #6 - January 20th, 2014, 12:45 am Post #6 - January 20th, 2014, 12:45 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Like many of us, I'd love to have a bar like this within walking distance of my home.

    =R=


    And the only people allowed in were those I approved ;).
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #7 - January 22nd, 2014, 9:39 am
    Post #7 - January 22nd, 2014, 9:39 am Post #7 - January 22nd, 2014, 9:39 am
    Luckily, I do live walking distance from here and I'm very glad they opened in the neighborhood. It has become pretty insanely busy on weekends, but the crowd ebbs and flows at a frequency that is hard to understand. I think a lot of people have been coming for a pre-show drink or 2 before attending shows at the Bottle, so I have noticed the crowd thin around 10 a few times....only to pick back up soon after. I do fear that there will be a line as the word gets out and the weather improves.

    I also echo Ronnie regarding Wade and Jeff, fine gentlemen and bartenders. Worth mentioning is their Amaro machine, which I've never seen before. To my knowledge they are infusing Amaro with a number of different fruits/spices/etc on any given night and they will also add the leftovers from the night before (if any are left).

    The 4 daily cocktails are priced at $10, with the Sportsman being $8. You can drink on the cheap with a Low Life (High Life + shot of whiskey) for $5, and the drafts are usually priced between $5 and $9 (think Schlitz might be $3). It would be nice if all the cocktails were at the $8 price point like Scofflaw, but I can't complain. I just hope the popularity encourages more investment in the 'hood.
  • Post #8 - February 23rd, 2014, 11:22 pm
    Post #8 - February 23rd, 2014, 11:22 pm Post #8 - February 23rd, 2014, 11:22 pm
    Stopped by last night for a quick drink and to check out the place. I had the Sportsman cocktail, and my companions had the Amaro machine and a cheap whiskey with a beer back of Hamm's (an inspired off-menu choice). I really enjoyed everything about this place: the drinks were simple, balanced and reasonably priced, the staff were friendly and approachable (even though the place was packed), and the bar itself is super cool. The bartender told us that the bar and art deco back bar is original to the predecessor Sportsman's dive. Basically, they just cleaned and dressed the place up and were in business. Neat.

    But the clientele itself was rather odd. Definitely NOT the same crowd that would be going to a show at the Empty Bottle. The best way to describe it was yuppie, or more precisely, the people who I imagine buy those new-construction condos in Ukie Village and outfit them completely in Crate & Barrel. But then again it was Saturday night, so what could I expect?

    I’m glad this place exists, and I’ll probably hit it up the next time I go to a show at the Empty Bottle or am otherwise in the neighborhood on a weeknight. I love being able to order grown-up cocktails in a place that clearly slings a lot of High Life. They really hit the dressed-up dive bar niche on the head. And the aprons that the bartenders wear are positively adorable.
    The meal isn't over when I'm full; the meal is over when I hate myself. - Louis C.K.
  • Post #9 - February 28th, 2014, 10:50 am
    Post #9 - February 28th, 2014, 10:50 am Post #9 - February 28th, 2014, 10:50 am
    Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?
  • Post #10 - February 28th, 2014, 11:10 am
    Post #10 - February 28th, 2014, 11:10 am Post #10 - February 28th, 2014, 11:10 am
    PIGMON wrote:Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?


    It depends on whether I've got real Benjamins in my pocket or not.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - February 28th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Post #11 - February 28th, 2014, 12:33 pm Post #11 - February 28th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    It's all about the Benjamins
  • Post #12 - February 28th, 2014, 1:20 pm
    Post #12 - February 28th, 2014, 1:20 pm Post #12 - February 28th, 2014, 1:20 pm
    PIGMON wrote:Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?


    Yes.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #13 - February 28th, 2014, 2:44 pm
    Post #13 - February 28th, 2014, 2:44 pm Post #13 - February 28th, 2014, 2:44 pm
    Teresa wrote:But the clientele itself was rather odd. Definitely NOT the same crowd that would be going to a show at the Empty Bottle. The best way to describe it was yuppie, or more precisely, the people who I imagine buy those new-construction condos in Ukie Village and outfit them completely in Crate & Barrel. But then again it was Saturday night, so what could I expect?



    Hrm, interesting. Maybe the word is getting out, because the few times I've gone with one of my friends that fits that description much more than I do, he constantly jokes about how he is the only person in there without a beard.

    PIGMON wrote:Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?


    Definitely, but it's not going to stop me from going to a great bar that is close to my house. I would much prefer card acceptance.
  • Post #14 - February 28th, 2014, 2:51 pm
    Post #14 - February 28th, 2014, 2:51 pm Post #14 - February 28th, 2014, 2:51 pm
    PIGMON wrote:Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?


    It depends on the context. At any dive or "tavern" (like Sportsman's) or taco/hotdog stand or whatnot, I expect that they won't take cards. It helps to provide efficient service/you pay as you're served/these places have slim margins the way it is, etc.

    I start to get annoyed when more upscale places are cash-only. I think it is an amenity that they can afford, especially when I'm dropping more than a few $$ for a night of drinking and food. An example is Analogue. I don't see any reason why they would be cash-only, other than to save a couple bucks and inconvenience me.
    The meal isn't over when I'm full; the meal is over when I hate myself. - Louis C.K.
  • Post #15 - February 28th, 2014, 3:59 pm
    Post #15 - February 28th, 2014, 3:59 pm Post #15 - February 28th, 2014, 3:59 pm
    ziggy wrote:
    PIGMON wrote:Does anyone else give a shit about whether a place is cash-only or not?


    Definitely, but it's not going to stop me from going to a great bar that is close to my house. I would much prefer card acceptance.


    Ah, see, above I thought the question was do you want to know - like if someone posts info about a place. I want to know because I tend not to carry a bunch of cash. So if I stop in on a whim, then find out it's cash only, I have to go find an ATM or leave.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #16 - May 18th, 2014, 10:06 pm
    Post #16 - May 18th, 2014, 10:06 pm Post #16 - May 18th, 2014, 10:06 pm
    Cocktails are great here but what really stood out last night was the service. Grabbed the last few open seats at the end of the bar closest to the door around 6:10 on Friday night. Our bartender was Jacie (Jossie?). She is a knowledgeable, enthusiastic, attitude-free, palette-perfect gem. House cocktails there are always terrific. She also mixed up a great dealer's choice for a friend who can be a bit hard to please in that arena. And seeing that we had finished our meal (see this post), Jacie's equally engaging co-worker came out from behind the bar and whisked away our bag of trash from under our seats. This took place with a bar full of folks and plenty of other things for them to do. It's the little things...love this place. I take back my earlier comment. I'm glad it's not closer to my house. I'd be in big trouble.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #17 - August 22nd, 2016, 11:55 am
    Post #17 - August 22nd, 2016, 11:55 am Post #17 - August 22nd, 2016, 11:55 am
    Mrs Willie & I really enjoyed our drinks early evening this past Saturday. The two barkeeps on duty were very personable and engaging, made it a very fun place for drinks.

    They mentioned something about BBQ/Grilling being done every Sunday by visiting chef(s) on their back patio during the summer. Didn't get any particulars other than that they stated it is very popular.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #18 - August 23rd, 2016, 9:28 am
    Post #18 - August 23rd, 2016, 9:28 am Post #18 - August 23rd, 2016, 9:28 am
    Didn't even realize Ronnie started a thread on one of my favorite bars in the city.

    We popped in for a cocktail late afternoon/early evening on Sunday. My thought was to relax in the garden, but it was hopping due to the BBQ, so we found a couple stools at the bar. Love the Sportsman cocktail and a nice value.

    Very glad to be moving into the neighborhood very soon.
  • Post #19 - August 25th, 2016, 1:24 pm
    Post #19 - August 25th, 2016, 1:24 pm Post #19 - August 25th, 2016, 1:24 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:They mentioned something about BBQ/Grilling being done every Sunday by visiting chef(s) on their back patio during the summer. Didn't get any particulars other than that they stated it is very popular.


    Yes, very popular....like very hard to find a seat most of the time popular. But very popular for a reason; great food, drinks, and times....as per usual there (except for the food part, I suppose).

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