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Oscar Best Picture Star Watched Victory From Bourdain’s Favorite Chicago Dive Bar

The Shape of Water’s Michael Shannon pulled up a stool on Sunday to a TV with no sound

Actor Michael Shannon at the world premiere of 12 Strong in New York.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

While film fans across the country held Oscar parties on Sunday, actor Michael Shannon, who starred in The Shape of Water the eventual Academy Award winner for Best Picturedecided to find a bar stool. Shannon, who began his acting career at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, watched the show from the Old Town Ale House, one of Chicago’s most iconic dive bars. The infamous watering hole is a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and the late film critic Roger Ebert.

The bar, with its woodgrain paneling and colorful paintings, is usually open until 4 a.m. and popular with Second City performers as it’s a less-than-five-minute walk from the iconic improv comedy club. Ale House owner Bruce Elliot, a friend of Bourdain’s who took him on a televised eating tour of Chicago, posted a photo of Shannon via Twitter. Elliot’s quirky paintings of celebrities and others hang on the walls. He noted that they were watching the awards at his bar without sound as the jukebox was playing music. They switched on closed captioning.

Old Town Ale House is a unique dive full of history and stories. Many loyal customers have been coming into the bar for decades and are kind enough to educate visitors on old Chicago, politics, and theatre. Besides The Shape of Water, folks may know Shannon from roles in TV’s Boardwalk Empire and in the superhero movie Man of Steel. He was in Chicago to direct Traitor, a play that closed on Sunday at the Red Orchid Theatre, a venue which he co-founded.

Old Town Ale House

219 West North Avenue, , IL 60610 (312) 944-7020 Visit Website