This week took me to a Chicago institution: Carol’s Pub. Carol’s was established in 1972 and closed in September of 2016. This North Side dive bar was a popular spot for cheap beer, great food, and live country music for decades prior to its closing. The new owner, Ed Warm, also owns Joe’s on Weed Street and experienced considerable challenges with renovations prior to the bar’s re-opening. In addition to structural and decorative updates, Warm also staffed the kitchen with a cook from Fatso’s Last Stand (a popular hot dog stand in Ukranian Village). Skeptics were concerned about the remodel, worried that the character of the old dive would change. Well, even though I had never been to Carol’s prior to the renovation, I can wholeheartedly say I loved it. From the first step in, you feel at home. It simultaneously feels modern and old, with classic bar decorations, like stained glass lamps and beer memorabilia. There’s a central circular wooden bar, with smaller high top tables scattered about. The menu is small, with Sandwiches, Wings & Chicken Tenders, and Bar Snacks. We were hungry, so we decided to start with an order of Fried Pickle Chips: hand-breaded dill pickle chips served with Carol’s sauce. These were fantastic! The breading was crispy and light and the pickles came out piping hot. I don’t know what is in Carol’s sauce, but I want to bathe in it. It was a little spicy, a little sweet, and a LOT tasty. I ordered the BLT, a classic, and added a fried egg. Firstly, it was huge! It had at least 5 pieces of bacon, lots of lettuce and tomato, and a generous spread of mayo. And it was delicious! The bacon was crispy in the middle, soft on the ends; just how I like it. The fried egg was a great addition as well! My boyfriend ordered Carol’s Burger: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and Carol’s sauce. He’s not normally a fan of sauces on his burgers, so he ordered his without and added American cheese. This was a great burger! It was cooked perfectly to medium rare, juicy, and flavorful. I definitely want to come back and try more food here! The Fried Bologna Sandwich caught my eye- I think that will have to be my next choice.
Carol’s is open Sundays from 12 pm to 4 am, closed on Mondays, Tuesdays from 4 pm to 12 am, Wednesdays from 4 pm to 2 am, Thursdays and Fridays from 4 pm to 4 am, and Saturdays from 12 pm to 5 am. They feature live music multiple nights a week, as well as karaoke. Find more information on their website.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO