We did a double dip of 5 Hours this month, hitting up The Stretch (3485 N. Clark) and capping the night off with a trip down the street to Roadhouse 66 (3330 N. Clark). As expected, 5 Hours turned into 6, 7, until they all just kinda blended together. Go figure.
The day started out at this place, which used to be Tryst. To see the best feature of The Stretch, head to the back of the place. There you’ll find an airy back bar with a bank of TVs and a skylight, making the entire place much brighter, even it starts getting packed.
Not much else distinguishes this bar from its colleagues. But that’s not to say it’s not a good time.It’s a NoChance Productions bar (Cortland’s Garage and Goodbar). These guys know what they’re doing.
Hanging from the walls are pictures of people singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame (The Stretch? Get it?) like Eddie Vedder and Bill Murray, along with Bob Uecker on the men’s bathroom and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the women’s.
The place, open since just before the season started, is relatively clean and still looks pretty new. Wood paneling on the walls keeps it cozy, and there’s really not a bad seat in the house. When the game’s not on, grab a table in the front for some great people watching.
A standard step-above-bar-food menu comes with burgers named after streets in the ’hood. I know, totally original, right? I got the Clark Street, with cheddar, avocado, bacon and onion strings, and was quite satisfied. There’s also some solid wings (with some kick!) and other standards apps.
The place is already fitting well into the neighborhood, and I see it doing well—at least, until it gets dirty like the rest of the places in town and they change it into something else. But they got a good 2-3 years before that happens.
And then there’s the roadhouse. It’s kinda like the Delta Chi house in Animal House. You don’t go there unless you want to get your party on, and they’re happy to oblige.
Walking in there, someone in our crew remarked, “It smells like Wrigleyville in here, like stale Jell-o shots.” And it did. But in a good way.
The walls are covered with … stuff. License plates. Car grills. Posters of all sorts of things. Bottles everywhere behind the bar. The bathrooms are plastered with magazine covers like Playboy and Esquire, with raunchy things like “eat it” scribbled in marker.
The biggest drawing point is the punching machine in the back. We spent a good 30 bucks taking turns punching this bag and trying to get the highest score. It’s highly addictive, but a little warning: At a dollar a punch, it’ll add up quickly.
Their signature drink is called a John Daly: Some concoction called Nathaniel Weed sweet tea vodka mixed with lemonade. Our girl Krystal the bartender made me one, and it was fantastic! Then she made me a panty dropper shot. Then some other shot that I don’t even remember. Then she started dancing. It was awesome.
Basically, this is not the place you go to impress a date. And, with its location well off the main strip (just south of Roscoe) there are plenty of more convenient options before or after the game. But if you do find yourself in here, get a John Daly, get used to the smell, and get ready to party.
By Matthew C. Wood, intrepid reporter