New neighborhood “cocktail tavern” the Dandy Crown opened over the weekend, bringing two levels of drinks, art, and 60s-style Motown, blues, and soul music to River West. It’s from the owners of A.J. Hudson’s Public House, one of Chicago’s best international soccer bars, but bears little resemblance to the Lakeview pub. Ownership hopes to foster an upscale-yet-unpretentious vibe and plans to open an outdoor beer garden come spring.
General manager Sarah Syman’s cocktail list highlights both classic and contemporary drinks, termed “old friends” and “new friends.” Familiar offerings include daiquiris (rum, lime, cinnamon syrup) and house old fashioneds (bourbon, Pedro Ximenez, Angostura), while Syman’s originals include the “99% Yes” (bourbon, Amaro, black currant, elderflower) and “Bend My Way” (gin, aperitif wine, peach, yuzu).
Though cocktails are the focus at Dandy Crown, co-owners and spouses Julia Shell and Jamie Hale aren’t leaving beer and wine drinkers behind. Patrons can choose from six draft beer options, such as Half Acre’s “Bodum” IPA and Revolution Brewing’s “Fistmas,” a seasonal red ale. Other selections include local brews from Whiner Beer, Off Color Brewing, and the newly acquired Ballast Point. A handful of wines from Chile, Argentina, and beyond are also available. A full beverage list is available below. The Dandy Crown isn’t offering food quite yet, but Shell said she hopes to roll out some light dishes in the next few months.
Shell and Hale decorate the first and second floors in shades of blue and red respectively, with heavy plush curtains and a colorful floral wall mural. The first floor houses a fireplace and wall art of various crown bearers — literally and metaphorically — from Freddie Mercury to Queen Elizabeth II. The establishment seats 90 inside, between the long white bar and smattering of tables and cushy seats. Staff will add an additional 130 spots outside when the beer garden debuts. More tables and comfy-looking red and tan chairs are available on the second floor.
Take a look around both levels of the Dandy Crown, now open in River West, in the photographs below.
The Dandy Crown, 694 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Monday; 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Tuesday through Friday; 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday; 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday.