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No Love for 40s

Despite lacking a drink list and hawking 40s, LBC wins over Dana with its upbeat tunes.
Monday Jul 30, 2007.     By Dana Kavan
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Drink of the week: A 12-ounce Mickey's Malt Liquor at Lakeview Broadcasting Company.

The damage: $3

Thousands of bars in Chicago, why this one? After hearing my friends rave about the pizza at Spacca Napoli, reading a shining review of the lamb shank at Big Buns and Pita and once again catching the Check, Please! re-run featuring creative tapas spot Haro all in one week, I've started to bemoan my list of must-visit restaurants. Bars, on the other hand, I rarely obsess overónot the new swanky lounges or pubs with 100-plus-strong beer lists. This seems counter-intuitive, seeing as though I write about boozing, but my drunken endeavors usually begin sans plan. I've wanted to check out Lakeview Broadcasting Company since it opened, though, having heard it hires models to play Connect Four behind glass cases. Apparently it is possible to love what you do and do what you love.

How it went down: Walking in LBC's doors, I sensed I had stumbled on a house party. The bar looks like a rehabbed three-flat, complete with sliding glass doors leading to a balcony and small rooms. I headed up the stairs and scanned the second floor's bar for a drink list, but had no luck. Boring brews like Heineken filled the cooler, so I looked to the bartender for advice on what to order. Her response: "I don't know." Okay, then.

I shelled out $5 for an Amstel Light, but then noticed the rest of the bargoers clutching drinks that dwarfed mine. They were downing 40-ounce bottles of Olde English Malt Liquor. Sadly, 40s go against my firm beliefs that beer should be served cold and at least not taste any worse than Busch Light. Even when I spring for a classier 40 like Corona, half-way through it reminds me of gargling warm salt water to cure a canker sore. Still, I was able to convince myself to lower my flavor-standards, and opted for a miniaturized Mickey's Malt Liquor for round two. The more-manageable 12-ouncer, in a round bottle that resembled a Red Stripe, was surprisingly easy to swallow with its light flavor and 5.9-percent alcohol content, almost 2.5-percent stronger and $2 cheaper than my Amstel.

Would I want to become a regular? Though the lack of a drink list disappointed me, LBC sold me on its music alone. Catchy, upbeat mash-ups pumping through the retro boom box above our heads kept us moving, as did the energetic Boystown crowd. And while I doubt I could make a living playing Connect Four anytime soon, I find comfort in knowing I've checked one more spot off my list.

Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.


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