Stop & Drink Liquor House (Clark Street Ale House) , on Clark Street in River North.
Except for the fancy wood finish on the ground floor, Stop & Drink reminds me of the grittier Chicago I encountered when I arrived here from the East Coast. At the time, Chicago was a few years away from gentrification, and it still had the hardscrabble feel of an earlier 20th century city of meat packers, tradesmen and corner taverns.
Some people miss the old city. I don't. I prefer the new Chicago. There's a lot less bigotry, less corruption, it's cleaner, we have better restaurants, entertainment and many more interesting things to see and do. I don't think I would have stayed here if the city hadn't changed, but it had to change. The alternative to change was decay and death, as we've seen in several other rotting Midwestern cities that couldn't grow beyond the past.
I read somewhere that Pulitzer-winning journalist, Mike Royko, used to frequent Stop and Drink, which was a short walk from the papers he wrote for. Even if he didn't drink there, it seems like the kind of place he might have liked. Royko was a creature of that rougher time, a journalist who reveled in the old Chicago, even as he relentlessly attacked its culture of corruption.
Royko wrote a column for the Chicago Daily News beginning in 1964. When the paper closed in 1978, Royko moved over to the Chicago Sun-Times. He quit the Sun-Times and joined the Chicago Tribune in 1984, after the Sun-Times was sold to Rupert Murdoch. Royko's comment on the Murdoch purchase, offered some 27 years ago, seems especially prescient in light of recent developments. Here's Royko:
No self-respecting fish would want to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper [...] his goal is not quality journalism. His goal is vast power for Rupert Murdoch, political power.