aliveOne – Craft Beer and Live Music Uniting Generations
By: Caroline Culbertson
The coolest feeling in the world is walking into a place you’ve never been and realizing you are right at home! At aliveOne, the jovial, friendly crew makes you feel like you’ve been a regular since they opened their doors 20 years ago. After introducing myself and my companions to bartender and manager Joel, we grabbed some craft beer and discussed the jukebox on the wall. With only a few modern exceptions, it plays exclusively live recordings of classic rock and roll greats like Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton.
Local artists contributed funky, psychedelic artwork to decorate the bar, which has a distinct dark, grunge-bar feel, but without any of the grime! Cool sconces and martini-glass-shaped lamps deck out the walls, which are covered in framed photos and vintage posters of celebrities and musicians. In addition to hosting live music in-house almost every night of the week, they run busses to Wrigley Field for concerts and coaches to Summerfest every year. Kings of Leon cut their teeth at aliveOne’s private back room, which becomes a haven for great live music after 10pm. This intimate venue gives local DJs and bands the chance to put on shows for lovers of all types of music. It is also available for buy-outs providing a cozy space for any type of event from Bachelor Parties to holidays.
So what pairs with fantastic live music? That’s right, a constantly-rotating selection of delicious, locally-brewed delicious craft beer. As craft beer-lovers, my companions and I made it a point to sample a wide variety of aliveOne’s beer list, each one more complex and flavorful than the last. Plus, $2 pints! YES I will say it again $2 for a pint of craft beer! I started my suds journey with a pint of Temperance Beer Company’s Root Down Porter. Silky smooth and laced with licorice, this porter was as “endlessly drinkable” as their listing claims! Puffing Billy, by Chicago’s own Around the Bend, had a great cocoa richness but none of the heaviness that often come with chocolate-infused beers.
We sampled tons of the craft beer choices and were blown away, truly some of the best beers I have ever tasted. The Second Anniversary Ale hailing from Lemont’s Pollyanna Brewing Company is a must-try. This Smoked Amber Ale tastes like bacon in a glass, a rich Carmel flavor with an intense smokiness that softened as the beer had a chance to breathe.
In honor of Record Store Day, Dogfish Head Brewing Company created “Beer to Drink Music To,” an “Analog Beer for the Digital Age.” It’s a Belgian-style Tripel, and it is a trip for your taste buds! One sip is leafy, like eucalyptus or the greens and leaves of lavender, but the next is like caramel and toffee, and the next has warm fall spices like cardamom and clove. No two sips are the same, and it makes for an incredibly in-depth beer-drinking experience.
Without a doubt aliveOne is the coolest, most relaxed spot I’ve ever been in Chicago. It’s a good-hearted Lincoln Park bar where all you need is a friendly disposition, a couple of bucks, and good taste in live music to have a great time! If beer isn’t your thing, don’t fret; ask for a specialty cocktail menu. If you see bartender Dave, ask him about his mean Whiskey Sour!!! A cornerstone of the neighborhood, aliveOne has stood the test of time and continues to be a gathering place for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy great craft beer and quality music. I’m anxious to return!
aliveOne is located in Lincoln Park at 2683 N. Halsted St. on the corner of W. Schubert Ave, one block south of W. Diversey Pkwy just steps from DePaul University and can be easily accessed via the CTA Red Line. This groovy dive bar is open from 5:00pm to 2:00am Sunday through Friday and 5:00pm to 3:00am on Saturdays.