St. Pauli Club

September 13th, 2010: As seen on Chicago Sun-Times (PDF)

Photo: Amy Cavanaugh


A Lincoln Square dive worlds away from the hood’s campy, lederhosen brethren, St. Pauli Bar is a drinking man’s 4 a.m. bar. Inside you’ll find a charmingly depressing slice of the ’70s most oak-drenched ambitions, where old men mutter to themselves between sips of Spaten and ogle those who think it’s strange.

The trick is to welcome that strangeness, as it’s simply one of the many wise wrinkles in this 30-year-old establishment, launched by a surly, yet extremely sweet German-American named Margaret – who still tends the waist-level bar-in-the-round – as a social ode to a native beer she adores, St. Pauli Girl.

There are never more than three beers on tap at a time, Spaten and the namesake St. Pauli usually in permanence, with the third being a crapshoot, whatever Margaret has on hand for the month (all under $4). And first-timers to middle-aged regulars dancing to Neil Diamond rarely leave without a requisite shot of German-brand apple schnapps. Just bring cash, or those old-man sour glances really will get strange.

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