Drake’s Bar565 W. Fairbanks Ave.,
Drake’s Bar is a throwback of sorts. The French-parlor-meets-Old-West style keeps the saloon from veering too far into trendy territory, but restaurateur Craig Tremblay also made a concerted effort to restore aesthetic elements from Harper’s Tavern.
Harper’s, the original bar at this address, stood here from 1930 until it went down in a three-alarm blaze in 1996. Stained-glass windows above the bar illuminate details that warrant a closer look – the beautiful wood railing from the original place, pine and cypress paneling and brick accents throughout. There’s even an old window reading “Harper’s Tavern & Grill Est. 1930” inlaid above one of the bar’s original wooden freezer doors. Leather chesterfields provide ideal spots to catch performing acts on the fair-sized stage, though dancing girls were sadly absent on this particular visit.
Drinks are properly stiff, and long wine pours keep by-the-glass oenophiles content, especially during happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays). Bar eats include a tasty $10 burger on a grilled kaiser roll, sided with waffle fries – the fact that it’s served by a corseted waitress just adds to the flavor.