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Chicago

Golden Teardrops

time
Thurs - Sat: 7pm - 2am
  • Thurs - Sat: 7pm - 2am
  • Sun - Wed: CLOSED

A dimly lit basement bar with limited hours, Golden Teardrops is Land And Sea Dept.’s newest concept, a kind of moody but clever sibling to the cheerful, all-day and night upstairs affair of Lonesome Rose. Minimalist design and spirit-forward cocktails make this place hauntingly intimate, a good, dark corner to tuck yourself into.

OUR ARTICLE

BY: Joe Demes Contributing writer

There is no more ubiquitous adornment for a bar than a neon sign, both exhilarating and unnerving all at once, warm and bleak. Imagine the sign as your only source of light in a dark room behind a mysterious door, the writing on the wall setting the tone for your entrance and departure.

an equal mix of stirred and shaken drinks, both classics, and contemporary riffs. But you can’t beat a tall glass of Hamm’s on tap for $3 either. We dare you to tell us otherwise.

Golden Teardrops’ centerpiece, a brightly lit neon sign installed in front of the back bar’s mirror which reads “WEDDINGS & FUNERALS,” hits that perfect note between joi and mal de vivre. (They are, as the establishment puts it, “Two occasions where … the best and worst things can happen.”) That kind of concept – one of oscillating between extremes – is hard to execute, let alone make for a solid bar. But the good people at Land And Sea Dept. (Longman & Eagle, Lost Lake, Milk Room, Parson’s Chicken & Fish) managed to hit that sweet note that, like their namesake (a reference to a song by the 50’s doo-wop band The Flamingos), makes your experience feel almost out of time.

The cocktail menu speaks to this move towards equilibrium: eight quarterly rotating cocktails, all high-proof wonders at incredibly reasonable prices ($9-12); three beers on tap and a selection of bottled and canned options, from craft tall boys to a pony of High Life; and a stocked back bar. When we visited, the menu was an equal mix of stirred and shaken drinks, both classics, and contemporary riffs. But you can’t beat a tall glass of Hamm’s on tap for $3 either. We dare you to tell us otherwise.

The décor strikes a delicate balance between inviting and secluded. The main source of light is slim votive candles placed around high-top tables and the back wall, with a couple of lamps above the bar, while the space’s mirrored tiles inlaid with threads of gold provide the illusion of spaciousness without feeling hollow. The centerpiece also provides a significant source of glare; coupled with its backing mirror directly across from the reflecting tiles surrounding the lone recessed booth, the infinite regress illusion of seeing “WEDDINGS & FUNERALS” appear over and over again creates a moth-to-flames kind of warmth with its dark humor.

Golden Teardrops is not your loudest best friend’s rowdy, grip-and-rip-them-shotskis kind of bar. Nor is it anything like Lonesome Rose: the brick-pink and midnight blue Tex-Mex spot upstairs, where we suggest you have a bite to eat beforehand. (Strong drinks do a number on empty stomachs.) Whether you come here alone or with others, you’re moving into a limbo between the noise of the world outside and the stillness of your own home. This is a calm bar, best for a night out that won’t feel like a night out; you are, after all, going downstairs, into a dark room. But no matter which way you go – through the main entrance, around the corner and down back alley stairs, or through the front Lonesome Rose towards the unmarked black door – the light will let you know you’ve arrived.

FIELD TIPS

Hours of operation are limited to four days a week: Thursday through Sunday, from 7pm-12am. Make the most of your time here, responsibly

Golden Teardrops is very much its own thing. It has no food menu of its own, and you can’t order items from the upstairs establishment to be taken down to you. Eat before you come here

Still looking for a bit of a party? There’s karaoke on Thursdays and live DJs on Sundays

The neon centerpiece is your Instagram wet dream, but don’t forget to turn your flash off

Cyties - Hit the Concrete

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