Bob Inn

Chicago, Illinois

Johnnie's Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Exterior

In Short

In a city flush with great corner dive bars, Chicago’s Bob Inn need only point to its 1945 opening date to qualify as a Bridgeport / Logan Square institution. Featuring the rare dual threat of wood paneling both inside and outside, Bob Inn serves up a classic, community-driven, locals-friendly vibe in a cash-only outpost pleasantly insistent on preserving its history-laden authenticity.

Field Rating

7

out of 10

Keep an eye out for an epic statue of David.

Field Note

Wood paneling inside of a dive bar may be a bit of a stereotype, but not every bar really commits to that vibe and extends the wood paneling outside. Bob Inn does just that, a corner neighborhood dive bar in the Logan Square area of Chicago that pairs exterior wood paneling and opaque glass blocks in glorious fashion. The bar’s largely residential location qualifies it for inclusion in the long line of neighborhood-focused corner dive bars Chicago seems to specialize in supporting.

Bob Inn’s presence in the Bridgeport / Logan Square community stretches back to its opening in 1945, the dive bar family owned and operated over its entire existence. That kind of continuity creates the kind of appreciation for history and preservation that can be seen in the some of Bob Inn’s exterior features and interior decorations. Chief among the bar’s exterior features is the stark and simple sign above the large window along the front of the building that includes the name of the bar and shamrocks in each corner.

The North Side of Chicago isn’t always the most hospitable part of town for White Sox fans, but Bob Inn remains a Sox-centric stalwart.

The North Side of Chicago isn’t always the most hospitable part of town for White Sox fans, but Bob Inn remains a Sox-centric stalwart. Bob Inn’s sports affiliation explains a fair amount of the decorations to be found inside, including at least one sketch of old Comiskey Park. Some White Sox-branded beer signage mixes with classic mirrored beer displays inside, all of it mounted atop epic wood paneling that covers almost every inch of the bar’s interior walls. Scuffed, aged flooring may not be 1945 original but has certainly seen a pleasant amount of wear and tear over the years.

The bar itself runs along most of one wall inside, a small L-shaped construction that creates prime seating in the dive bar’s front window. Though it’s not clear why it’s such a rare feature to find in a dive bar, a clothing rack near the front of the bar underscores the locals-focused, community-friendly vibe inside Bob Inn. One of the bar’s Facebook posts even publicized a lemonade stand out front manned by a pair of kids from the area, another example of the community focus here in an area that has seen significant gentrification over the years that Bob Inn has thus far withstood (as some fellow dive bars like the old Two Way Lounge succumbed).

A long line of liquor bottles runs along the back wall behind the bar, though the specials at Bob Inn certainly cater a bit more to the beer drinking crowd with inexpensive High Life, Hamm’s and PBR routinely advertised. Not to be left out, an Old Style sign in the front window makes clear the availability of the Chicago staple dive bar beer as well. A few high top stools surround drinking platforms that extend from the wall opposite the bar, providing a big of additional seating, paired with a short bench and, of course, a decently sized statue of Michelangelo’s David (why not?).

String lights can be found throughout the space, some on, some not, and a bit of track lighting opposite the bar illuminates the David statues.

String lights can be found throughout the space, some on, some not, and a bit of track lighting opposite the bar illuminates the David statues as well as a few framed sketches of the bar. Bob Inn’s back room is built around the bar’s pool table with a drinking rail available to maximize space for the game. A few additional drinking platforms can be found in back with high top stools nearby, seemingly a last resort for either total seclusion or available seating on busy nights.

For a part of Chicago that has seen steady growth, the resilience of Bob Inn to not only persevere but do so under continuous family operation and ownership is a true dive bar accomplishment. The feeling inside, like at so many great Chicago corner bars, is one of community and inclusivity, the wood paneling inside and out creating that classic dive bar glow. Any dive bar that stretches back to 1945 has earned its status as neighborhood institution and Bob Inn provides just that to the Bridgeport and Logan Square Chicago communities.

Photos

The Basics

2609 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Classification:
Neighborhood Bar

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