Way Out, the new bar from a pair of former Longman & Eagle staffers, is open for indoor service with in Logan Square after six months of delivery-only operations. Illuminated by purple lights and dotted with artwork of extraterrestrials, the space offers a peek inside the minds of its co-founders with cocktails, pizza potstickers, and Sapporo beer by the pitcher.
“We just want to open a fun bar, for people to come in, have a blast, get loose, party — not worry about anything,” says co-owner Neil Kopp. “To have our debut be a Grubhub click was a super bummer, but we did our best and tried to make it fun and interesting.”
Initially forced to launch the bar “virtually” due to the pandemic, Kopp (Cherry Circle Room) and co-owner Nathan Case-McDonald (Dusek’s, Reno) are finally able to turn down the lights, turn up the music — think punk, like New York Dolls, the Randoms, and the Dickies — and sling easy-drinking cocktails like Left Hand Path (tequila, mezcal, maraschino, lime, salt) and Bitter Baby (Aperol, raspberry, lime, egg white).
Operating delivery-only during the height of the pandemic, ended up being fruitful. Given the extra time, they put together a food menu — first for delivery, and now for the bar — with the help of friend and Milwaukee chef Shay Linkus (Odd Duck, Vanguard). Highlights include chicken parm sandwiches with giardiniera, Philly cheesesteaks, and potstickers stuffed with pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella, and marinara.
A handful of draft beers include local entries from Maplewood and Hopewell, plus ice-cold Sapporo (the Japanese beer is the only available by the pitcher), wines by the glass and bottle, and a collection of spirits.
Located inside a “giant, barn-like space” that previously housed trendy seafood restaurant Sink|Swim, Way Out has dramatically transformed the bright, airy interior into a groovy alien lounge with several sections: a front space with four high-top tables; a long black granite bar with 15 seats that’s flanked by six spacious booths; and a back room with a pool table and more table seating. An intergalactic traveler straddling a low-rider in space is splashed across one wall, a nod to the co-founders’s shared interest in the strange and unknown.
“We’re not a speakeasy or a high-touch cocktail bar or a tiki joint,” Kopp says. “We’re just a vibe.”
Chicagoans can check out that vibe right now. Way Out is open.
Way Out, 3213 W. Armitage Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Monday.