Wicker Park TavernBucktown
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The tall windows at Wicker Park Tavern offer great views of the fashion show that is the intersection of North, Milwaukee and Damen Avenues, though oglers may be distracted by the seven plasma TV screens playing mostly sports. Fans will appreciate the free peanuts. To avoid the big game, turn and face the beautiful (and TV-free) redwood and mahogany bar, lit by panels of calming, amber light, or bring a laptop and provide your own entertainment with the bar's free Wi-Fi access. Most beers cost $4, with cocktails going for $4-$8. A satellite jukebox plays just about every song ever recorded, and even takes credit cards. Regulars from the bar's Borderline days should recognize the old metal cash drawer and the bathrooms. (The women's room resembles a Paris Metro station that has been attacked with bad graffiti.) They won't recognize the crowd: more stylish, less diverse, and half as drunk.