Ah, Iggy's: I have such fond memories of the old River West location, where I spent many a Saturday night imbibing (many) cocktails with friends.
The old Iggy's seemed to be the perfect mix of an odd location, stylish bar and diverse crowd—and then, as perfect things so often seem to do, it suddenly changed. Iggy's packed up its trendy little bar bags and moved to Wicker Park.
I didn't go to the second location while it was in existence, but I have been dying to check out the latest incarnation of Iggy's (dubbed Iggy's3)—and its alleged $2 Tuesday-night beer deal—since it opened on Dearborn Street last year.
And yet, at the same time, I've been afraid to. Would it have the same quirky charm and cool crowd as the original outpost? Would it offer the same casual lounge feel? Would it be quite as red? The answer to those questions: no, no and yes.
The new Iggy's is red, alright: the outside, the inside, the accents, all crimson. But that uber-chill lounge feel? That's a little harder to locate in the new spot. Make no mistake: This is a restaurant. There is not a lot of room to hang out, and tables are coveted space.
We were there on a slow night, so we were able to easily nab a window seat. And OK, I thought, so the layout is different. No big deal! But after a few minutes, I began to feel like just hanging out over some cocktails was a big deal.
Our waiter was attentive; he arrived each time someone new did and whenever the last gulp of a drink was downed. Some of the attention was great: When I asked for a glass with my 312, he also brought me an orange garnish. But some of it was bad, namely when, after our first round, we began feeling rushed. True, the restaurant doesn't have a ton of tables, and if diners came in, we were pretty sure we'd lose ours, but they really weren't flocking through the doors, and the waiter's disappointment over us foregoing dinner for $2 bottles of 312 was clear.
To placate him, one of my friends asked for some bruschetta. Another inquired about the macaroni and cheese. Upon the waiter's stellar recommendation that it sells out almost every night, she ordered some.
But the food—like the atmosphere—was just a little disappointing. The tomato-and-basil bruschetta was just OK, and the my friend complained that the mac and cheese tasted like it came out of a box.
But you can't argue with $2 beer; that's as cheap a drink deal as one can hope for. So we ordered up another. But we didn't stay long; although the four friends I was with and I had a lot to catch up on, we felt like we'd crashed a dinner party, and deal or no deal, we didn't really feel comfortable staying to hang out.
So we left, full of 312 and fond memories of the original location. No disrespect meant to the new Iggy's; it's probably a great dinner spot, and it's probably a bit more festive on the weekends. I guess I just miss the old days when the focus was more on cocktails and conversation than on service and sit-down meals (which to be fair, are not bad things). But time, just like happy hour, marches on...
Want to inquire about Iggy's? Go to iggys.com, call (312) 829-4449 or visit the place at 800 N. Dearborn St..