This location is currently closed, but will supposedly re-open at some time in the future.
photo: Courtesy of Nick Flandro
Proudly waving the flag of St. George, this hardy Lincoln Park pub stands out from its many neighbors as the old man among college kids. Named for the dozens and dozens of Red Lion Pubs back in England (many of which opened in the 16th century), Chicago's Red Lion works hard (and succeeds) at authentically replicating the standard London watering hole, without the obnoxious self-obsession that so many "authentic" places seem to have. A dark, tight space peppered with Boddington's and Samuel Smith's ads, an old phone booth, a fireplace lined with model ships, and even reported ghost sightings—all of it adds up to an Englishman's home away from home.
The food is true to the theme as well, landing just on the safe side of lethally calorific. The fry cook works overtime preparing orders of fish and chips, and items like bangers and mash and steak and kidney pie keep the saturated fat content at a respectably English level (there's also a renowned BLT that, according to the menu, has enough bacon for Henry VIII). English ales and lagers fill the beer menu, and plenty of single-malt scotches are yours for the buying. The bartenders will even chat you up on "current events" (like the Battle of Britain or what Churchill's been up to) if you look lonely or bored.
A second floor dining room opens up for crowded moments and private parties, and in the summer, the back roof turns into a large beer garden, which can be hard to find; steep stairs in the rear lead the way or there's access from the second floor. Whether you're starved for a nice shepherd's pie, or some sanity in the midst of Lincoln Park, the Red Lion won't disappoint.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Mac McCormick