Gin is the name of the game at Scofflaw and oh boy do they know how to play. Just a bit south of Logan Square, the bar boasts a colorful (oh it’s a pun, you’ll see) and approachable menu, as well as stacked food options and some of the comfiest seating west of Milwaukee Ave. Nothing to laugh at here, so stop laughing right now.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Joe Demes Contributing writer
We count upwards of a hundred bottles of gin on the top shelves of the backbar at Scofflaw — 108 exactly, if we’re not crosseyed from the drinks already. It might seem overwhelming, but there’s an effortlessness about the selection and the speed of service that makes more feel like less. It’s true of their other concepts (Slippery Slope, Heavy Feather, The Moonlighter), all of which have an equally curated vibe that is neither overwhelming nor underplayed. Scofflaw takes a Victorian-style approach to their decor and aesthetic, but that doesn’t make it cold or stodgy. Ample seating and good low lighting make the place homey, and the attentiveness follows through in their principles of service. Whether you’re saddled up at the bar, taking up room in the back seating area, claiming space on the patio, or have arrived early enough to snag some of the high-backed armchairs (with a lovely view to boot), the staff at Scofflaw knows how to take care of business, and well.
at midnight, guests are treated to warm, homemade cookies as a kind of nightcap.
Enter the cocktail menu: fronted with a seasonal menu, and backed by the extensive spirits list, it’s easy to find something here for any mood, occasion, or taste you’re looking to satisfy. As a gin bar, the name of the game is just that: along with a side menu of upscale B-sides, as they call them, there’s a classic list of gin-exclusive cocktails that hit all the right notes and numbers. Besides this, the food menu has a stellar variety of options. Ranging from a reasonably-priced burger to upscale charcuterie, there’s room to play; nothing goes above $12, and you can pick and choose your own meat and cheese board at $5 per item vs. opting for the chef’s selection. Not to mention that the menu caters to vegetarian options, which at those prices almost encourage you to skip the burger and fries (not that you shouldn’t, but do yourself a favor and eat a fucking plant every once in a while; all that red meat will catch up to you). Plus, they cater to and welcome the late-night crowd equally as the dinner rush: at midnight, guests are treated to warm, homemade cookies as a kind of nightcap.
It’s a small gesture, but one that says a lot. Where most bars might be hunkering down for the last rush, Scofflaw encourages you to stay and relax. There’s the implicit understanding that your experience drives the experience as a whole, and that if you’re happy everyone else will be. Of course that’s a principle that drives any successful bar, but showing that attitude rather than just saying it is what keeps a place in business. This, among reasons, is exactly why Scofflaw has garnered national attention. It both embodies a destination spot with a neighborhood attitude; despite having upscale potential, Scofflaw is very much a Chicago bar done right: good drinks, killer food, excellent hospitality, and all with the kind of care and attention devoted to the menu that ought to be devoted to patrons.
Really looking to drink on the cheap? Check out their classic gin cocktail menu: 10 drinks for the low low price of $8 each
Want a souvenir to bring back home with you? Pick up a bottle of their proprietary Old Tom gin to take away
Hope you don’t have a gluten allergy, you new-year-new-me Whole 30 fancypants muppet you; the kitchen gives out freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at midnight, so stick around and save room for yum-yums
Speaking of food: dinner stops at 11, but half the menu is available all night. Don’t sleep on the cheeseburger