I have only myself to blame for waiting 3 years to visit Longman & Eagle in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. However, in my defense, I have been distracted lately by the plethora of great new additions to Chicago’s culinary scene. We have James Beard Foundation winners in this town! So, I choose to forgive myself for showing up late to Longman & Eagle’s party. But, lucky for me, my visit was better late than never. 🙂 Allow me to share my wonderful solo experience with you.
Late Tuesday afternoon, I hopped the CTA Blue line up to the Logan Square ‘L’ stop. Longman & Eagle is located directly across the street from this ‘L’ stop and mere steps form Logan Square Park. How convenient! Fun fact: This place is named Longman & Eagle after Longman, the architect who designed Logan Square Park and the eagle sculpture which graces the center of it.
Longman & Eagle is definitely one of the most unique places in Chicago. In fact, I will go right ahead and proclaim that it is a “must-visit destination.”
Firstly, I cannot think of any other restaurant/bar which has rooms for rent above it (more on those later). Second, it’s appearance and menu offerings seem completely at odds with each other. I mean this in the best possible way. Actually, I love when things like this happen. I was completely caught off guard as I approached the building. From the outside it looks like just your average neighborhood corner bar with a small sidewalk patio. After all the considerable hype about this place, I guess I was expecting a bit more in terms of outward appearance. Even the signage was difficult to spot at first. Once I figured out that I was in the right place, I stepped foot inside and set my eyes upon a space that brought a smile to my face. The interior lies happily (for me at least) somewhere between corner bar and shabby-chic, rustic pub. I felt immediately transported from Midwest pub to Wild West saloon. Armed with the knowledge that there are 6 rooms available upstairs for rent, I wasn’t really sure if I’d find hipsters or gunslingers spending the night up there (HA!). Nor did I care because I was greeted immediately by the friendly, welcoming staff and patrons who frequent Longman & Eagle regularly.
Longman & Eagle has a front room with a long bar and about 10 dining tables. There is also a back room dining space, the O.S.B. (Off Site Bar) area which has its own menu and offers freshly made donuts on the weekends and the front sidewalk patio.
Folks, Longman & Eagle is not just a serious whiskey bar. It is a serious bar. Period!
There is much more than brown liquor being doled out here. This a fully stocked bar whose friendly, awesome and knowledgeable bartenders are proudly and adeptly serving up whiskey flights, whiskey cocktails, craft cocktails, stellar beer and wine selections and much more. Note: There is a draft beer on the menu called Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier which comes from the oldest existing brewery in the world dating back to 1040!
If you can’t find something great to drink here, you are a pain in the ass and I don’t want to be your friend!
I bellied up to the bar, introduced myself to Chad, my bartender that day and I ordered an Old Fashioned. It was made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cherry & Orange & Old Fashioned bitters, Demerara sugar and citrus zest. This was the best Old Fashioned I have ever had. There was a lot of love in that glass. Thanks, Chad!
I sipped my Old Fashioned while enjoying a delicious, assorted cheese plate with marinated raisins and some very flavorful and warm crostini. Yum!
I also ordered one of Longman & Eagle’s small plates, the Pave of Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly, Manila clams, Spanish chorizo, black garlic, artichokes, pickled ramps, white wine nage. Holy Crap! I could taste every ingredient in this perfectly balanced dish. And it was so pretty, too! To wash it all down, Chad recommended that I try one of his craft cocktails, the awesomely refreshing “Crisp County Cooler”. This cocktail is made with Distilador Reposado tequila, fresh watermelon, thai basil, lemon verbena and lime. How perfect! It was summer in a glass 🙂 Except now, I wasn’t sure whether I was in the Midwest, the Wild West or somewhere in the South (HA!) What slight of hand you have, Longman & Eagle! If I had a 3rd drink, I surely would have lost my bearings altogether 😉
There are 6 rooms available for rent upstairs at Longman & Eagle. So, it is a gastro pub as well as an inn. Rates begin at $85 a night. The rooms are casual, comfortable and include some colorful artwork. I think staying 1-3 nights in one of these rooms is a great alternative for the traveler who prefers a less overwhelming downtown Chicago hotel option. And, the bonus is you already will be on-site of an award-winning gastro pub which serves, brunch and dinner in the very cool Logan Square neighborhood
Longman & Eagle earned a Michelin star in 2012. It has received numerous other awards and glowing reviews from GQ, Esquire, Wine Spectator and other publications as well as cable T.V. shows. All of those accolades are well-deserved. I will be back often with friends, family or solo to enjoy the wonderful whiskey, other drinks and the delicious, creative and changing food options by Executive Chef, Jared Wentworth.
Longman & Eagle is located at 2657 N. Kedzie Avenue. They do not accept meal reservations. For more information visit www.longmanandeagle.com.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home at take the CTA Blue Line to Longman & Eagle. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, parking and road rage. Don’t drink and drive!