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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicago Beer Joint TWISTED SPOKE Features "$2.50 Tuesdays" and "Smut and Eggs Saturdays"

Stopped by the Twisted Spoke (located at 501 N. Ogden Ave. / 500N, 1300W /Chicago, IL ph#312-666-1500) the other day for dinner and a brew...suprisingly they offer a large list of beers to choose from and since I happened to be there on a Tuesday, Jay our server, pointed out that all five dollar beers on the menu are only $2.50, hence "$2.50 Tuesdays" for these selected beers. Early on Sunday mornings from Midnite to 2:30 AM "The Spoke," as locals refer to it, features "Smut & Eggs", a showing of porn films from the 1970s while you munch on an early morning breakfast after a Saturday night of partying. The bar is easily identifiable from the street as a human skeleton sits astride on a motorcycle on top of the building.
As Sean Parnell has written for The Chicago Bar Project, his review states : "...It is much more than just "biker friendly" as it is often described in many of the standard, mind-numbing reviews. At the Spoke, you'll find some of the best burgers in town, one of the few rooftop patios around, excellent Bloody Marys, and the strangely alluring "Smut & Eggs." The Twisted Spoke comes to you out of the same madness from which sprang Twisted Spoke Lakeview, Pie Hole, and the dearly departed Bone Daddy, and, by itself, has become one of the best bars in Chicago. What is "biker friendly" anyway? Twisted Spoke is located at the corner of Ogden and Grand Avenue in West Town where, up until recently, most bar owners have feared to tread. The only other bars inhabiting the area also known as River West are the Matchbox, Emmit's Pub and Richard's, so it can be a bit difficult to find a cab afterwards; the bartenders can call you one if you have trouble. Otherwise, it's pretty difficult to find parking in this part of town due to all the new condo construction (your best bet is on Ogden and don't park in the empty lot across the street or the tow trucks will get you). Bone Daddy, under the same ownership, used to be located just up the street on Ogden but shut during the summer of 2003...the Twisted Spoke sports a facade encrusted with rusted metal plating and a wall of narrow, plate-glass windows that open out in summer. This is a result of the Twisted Spoke's recent "remodeling." Considering that the previous version looked like the farmhouse in the original version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the new Twisted Spoke is far more inviting and much less scary. However, they did keep their skeletal Hells Angel mascot: a vintage motorcycle-riding, wheelie-poppin' skeleton, which can be seen revolving from a long black pole at the bar's helm. Four motorcycles can be found half buried within a "planter" lined with the same rusted metal as the bar itself, making what has to be the most unusual "garden" around. More motorcycles, of the unplanted variety, can usually be found lined up in a neat little row just outside the bar. A motorcycle handlebar serves as the outer door's handle and mind your step as you walk in as there's a short, fairly steep cement ramp. Once inside, you'll find the hostess's stand just beyond several framed accolades, including Top 10 rankings for Best Hamburger, Best Fries, Best Barbeque, Best Late-Night Dining, Best Outdoor Dining, Best After Work Dining, Best Neighborhood Bar, Best Place to See and Be Seen, Best Singles Bar, and Best Cheap Eats by Citysearch: Chicago in 2001. A scuffed cement floor leads to both cancerous and non-cancerous sections of the dining room, with its curving black banquette along the east wall and low-slung, galvanized metal tables and black vinyl chairs across from it. Cardboard beer six-packs contain the condiments and a corrugated metal ceiling can be found above. The wall above the banquette features track-lit, black & white photographs that look like Glamour Shots of Baby Boomers on motorcycles. Various antique motorcycle parts, including helmets, piston blocks, crankshafts, rims, license plats, sprockets, and horns dot the walls and columns around the room. Back around to the left of the hostess stand, you'll find a short hallway that leads to an exposed brick bar area in the eastern portion of the Twisted Spoke. This area features a pool table, a couple of cocktail tables, a motorcycle propped up on a brick landing, and a smallish wooden bar that runs against the southeastern wall. A very good selection of microbrews can be found behind the bar that includes
Stella Artois, Anchor Porter and Sprecher Bavarian, served from over a dozen taps and even more can be had in bottles. Each month, one of these beers is featured by "Butch" for the recession-friendly price of only $2; they don't tell you what beer it is but rather, "We have 53 good beers, 1 bad. It's best not to ask questions. What is it? What it is is $2." Most other beers are $2.50 on Tuesdays. The Spoke also serves up an excellent selection of bourbon in the spirit of brethren bar, Delilah's —you know a bar takes its bourbon seriously when they have Jim Beam on tap like they do at the Twisted Spoke (Beam cocktails are $2 every day). The bathrooms, labeled "Chicks" and "Dicks" (each with a listing, including Nixon, Daley and "Daley (again)," can be found across from the bar, down a short curving hallway...".

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