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A Critic Applauds the Revival of Uptown’s Iconic Honky-Tonk Dive Bar

Plus Pink Salt explores the cuisine of northeast Thailand

Carol’s Pub’s interior features hanging lights, black bar stools, a brand new bar, and a musical stage
Carol’s Pub
Barry Brecheisen

Beloved honky tonk tavern Carol’s Pub has been successfully resurrected while “keeping its soul intact” according to Maggie Hennessy. Now under new ownership, the old dive bar has added a new sound system, “a brand-new bar and draught line, a modern jukebox and refurbished bathrooms.” On the food and beverage side, the Old Grandad Old Fashioned is “brown-sugary sweet and appropriately deadly—ideal for washing down a deliciously no-nonsense fried bologna sandwich.” There’s also an “excellent” double cheeseburger slathered with Carol’s tangy housemade sauce and served with “golf ball-sized” tater tots, which are “crunchy outside and fluffy inside, like fattened-up latkes.” [Time Out]

Pink Salt is a Fulton Galley vendor focusing on Isan dishes from northeastern Thailand. The menu’s headliner are chicken tenders — marinated in white pepper and lightly battered in rice flour — served with sriracha, a salad of pickled veggies, and sticky rice. They’re perfectly fine but mostly serve as a “gateway to Thai cuisine for the West Loop uninitiated.” Owner Palita Sriratana “really cements her ambition,” though, with larb gai, a minced chicken salad with “piercing acidity and spice.” Deep-fried black-sesame-studded baby bananas are “probably Fulton Galley’s best cocktail accompaniments” while the rotating vegan fritter should be another “major crowd-pleaser.” [Reader]

The Smith is “not an idiosyncratic, chef-driven experience” but it’s “upbeat and polished,” writes Joanne Trestrail. The New York import “takes a straight shot down the middle of the road with impressive self-confidence.” Grilled shishito peppers are “oversalted but otherwise enjoyable” and spicy salmon tartare is “overcomplicated but tastes nice.” Summer pizza also has a “well-made” puffy crust and in-season veggie toppings. Some duds include an “unforgivably skimpy” watermelon salad and “soggy” squid ink spaghetti with “nothing-special” tomato sauce. Another complaint is the noise level, “exacerbated by the complete absence of sound-absorbing surfaces.” Trestrail says “if you have anything important to tell your companions, save it for the sidewalk afterward, or simply text them.” [Crain’s]

Fulton Galley

1115 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 210-0920 Visit Website

Carol's Pub

4659 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 754-8000 Visit Website

The Smith

400 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 312-5100 Visit Website

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