Bad Dog is big. The simple (yet delicious) offerings on the menu complement the various dining sections and ambience options. There's front window seating if you like to people-watch along Lincoln Avenue, a long stretch of bar with overhead TVs if you're into sports, booths tucked around the corners for a little privacy, an elegantly and simply designed back room complete with a fireplace, and, of course, the thing most Chicagoans crave by spring: an outdoor patio. With a menu that changes seasonally, the chef prepares everything from the most amazing cream of asparagus soup ever(!) to portabella and grilled vegetable sandwiches, blackened tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes and a choice range of pizzas, offered at half-price for late-night diners. Whether you want a full dinner with vintage wine or a simple snack of appetizers (crab cakes or seasoned french fries) and a beer, Bad Dog's unintimidating menu speaks volumes.
The friendly and funny servers work like they mean it, and are paramount in helping Bad Dog find its place as the somewhat fresh face on the block (compared to Ricochet's 20+ years, for example). Bad Dog specializes in treating its customers like an audience, not just eaters. Every Sunday around 10 p.m. the tavern hosts an open-mic comedy night, and music fans can see rotating live shows Monday through Wednesday and every other Thursday.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha