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Inside ‘Laid-Back Luxe’ Cocktail Haven the Dandy Crown, Now Open in River West

The fashionable bi-level tavern is from the owners of popular Lakeview soccer bar A.J. Hudson’s

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A bright bar space with blue walls and a white bar with brass stools and white backed seats.
The Dandy Crown debuted over the weekend in River West.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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.

A two-story brick building with a large glass window in front and neon signs that read “the Dandy Crown cocktails and bar.”
Peek inside the Dandy Crown.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A long white bar with white stools in a blue bar space.
This bar seeks to be a bright spot in the winter darkness.
A blue bar space with a long white bar and brass stools at small tables along the walls.
Between both floors, the Dandy Crown seats 90 inside.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Cushy blue furniture sits in front of an indoor fireplace.
Patrons can thaw by the fireplace in the blue first-floor lounge space.
A blue lounge space with blue couches and chairs.
Co-owner Julia Shell calls the aesthetic “laid-back luxe.”
A large mural of pink, orange, purple, red, and blue flowers is painted on a black brick wall
A large floral mural occupies a painted brick wall.
A large drinking space with white painted brick walls that read “The Dandy Crown Chicago” with red furniture.
The Dandy Crown’s red-hued second floor
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A bar space with red and brown chairs and a patterned carpet
There’s plenty of room for settling in with a drink and friends.

The Dandy Crown

694 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 846-6420 Visit Website