Brando’s Speakeasy – Chicago’s Hidden Karaoke Bar
By Ryan Haber
There are few things that make me smile like a great cocktail. Thankfully I have found another gem where I can indulge. Brando’s Speakeasy is a cocktail lounge and karaoke bar with a vintage feel. Located in the South Loop at 343 S Dearborn it remains tucked away from the masses.
The dim crimson glow and ornate fixtures really sets the vibe at Brando’s. Starting with a classic Old Fashioned I read through the menu. Diving in head first with an order of the ‘RITA Mae Flatbread was a smart move. It’s a classic Margarita pizza with a twist. Robust tomato sauce, Italian spices, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, basil and marinated Italian mushrooms made this flatbread a treat.
Another tasty flatbread is The Whitey B. Olive oil, garlic, oregano, provolone, and soft ricotta. A unique and delicious plate that will wow you. Brando’s also has traditional pizzas in case flatbreads aren’t your thing. We couldn’t stop there so we ordered the Big Cheese and Seasoned Fries to round out the meal. A heaping pile of American, sharp-cheddar, provolone cheeses topped with bacon sandwiched between the slices of buttered Texas toast sat on the plate. I crushed this heart-stopped in shameless fashion and wished for more.
The Seasoned Fries are the perfect late night bite, they were hot, crispy and perfectly salted. It is no wonder Brando’s is a favorite of many Chicagoans. The food was not the only desirable of this fine establishment. The drinks at Brando’s are beyond the standards of most bars. I mentioned a Old Fashioned earlier, it was perfect. Being adventurous, orders for the Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour and the Unprotected X were submitted.
The Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour is so insanely delicious! This creative Bourbon cocktail contains Bulleit Bourbon, lemon, dark amber maple syrup, and a healthy sprig of rosemary protruding from the glass. Complexity and cohesiveness are equally balanced in this spirit. I was compelled to order another on the spot.
The Unprotected X is Bacardi O, Bacardi Dragon Berry, Bacardi Coconut, and Bacardi 151, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice. Needless to say this is a strong drink, but it doesn’t taste like it. It’s sweet, blueish, and carries undertones of pineapple and coconut.
Aside from the drinks and food Brando’s is an awesome bar for karaoke. You will never catch me belting out my favorite Rolling Stone song in a crowded bar. On the contrary I will fully sit back and enjoy the attempts of others. All karaoke bars have the fails and the showstoppers of willing patrons. In my opinion what separates a good karaoke bar from a bad one is the bar itself. Luckily Brando’s has it figured out, good food, good drinks and an awesome atmosphere.
Brando’s opens at 3pm daily and closes at 2am everyday except for Saturday which closes at 3am. Check out their happy hour from 5pm to 7pm Monday through Thursday which features $5 Makers Mark Boiler Makers, $4 Bulleit Rye Old Fashioneds, $3 Absolut Moscow Mules, ½ off Revolution Beers and some food specials to keep you full. Tuesday Night at Brando’s is Trivia Night. From 6:30pm to 9:30pm you can grab $4 Stellas, 312s, and half off bottles of wine. Next time you find yourself in the loop looking for a good drink or an open mic head to Brando’s Speakeasy.