By Kate Bernot, @redeyeeatdrink
6:14 PM CDT, May 27, 2014
Review: Slippery Slope
2357 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-799-8504
Rating: 3 1/2 (out of 4) Already hot
Slippery Slope will be judged by whether people describe it as "a fun bar." That's how partners Danny Shapiro and Andy Gould describe their ambitions for the two-week-old Logan Square spot, and while that goal may sound laughably simple, it's anything but. The prevailing cocktail trend in the city was, for a while, toward severity. Menus read like history textbooks and guests spoke in whispers when ordering from haberdashed servers. This past year, though, Chicago has seen the tide turn. Hits such as Three Dots and a Dash and Punch House prove that bars can be un-self-consciously fun again, and that no one is too cool for an umbrella drink or a '70s-inspired basement party. So, could the team behind Scofflaw and now-shuttered Bonny's bring a rockin' DJ party—with Skee-Ball—to Logan Square? I brought my dancing shoes along for the ride.
Ever tried to dance holding a coupe glass? It's not pretty. The Slippery Slope guys clearly thought this through, and instead serve the small list of rotating cocktails (all $8) in nearly spill-proof mini bottles with straws. Not only are they whimsical, they're delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I polished off my Miami Vice—a frozen cross between a pina colada and a strawberry daiquiri—before I even had much of a chance to survey the scene. The drinks definitely aren't weak, but at just 5 ounces, they disappear quickly. A sangria-esque Cooler Wine Cooler was a bit more of a sipper thanks to its red wine base, but if you're really trying to nurse a drink, go for the house cocktail, a Monte Carlo. Like an old fashioned, it's bourbon-based and not for the booze-averse. The best bang for your buck, though, is the draft beer, which at $2 (Hamm's), $4 (Allagash White, plus two Dark Horse options) to $5 (Guinness), should get you on the dance floor for cheap.
Certifiably fun? Yes.
Unless you're the wallfloweriest of wallflowers, the DJs are why you came to Slippery Slope. A medium-sized dance floor faces a slightly raised booth where nightly DJs reign. Along with residents Super Friends and Major Taylor—who commutes between L.A. and Chicago to spin at the bar—popular queer dance party Slo 'Mo has already set up shop at Slippery Slope. Owners say nights will be themed (think New Wave on Tuesdays, queer parties on Thursdays), but DJs will rotate monthly. It's a smart scheduling move, allowing you to know the type of music to expect without letting the playlists get stale. On the night I visited, a diverse crowd packed the dance floor, though some seemed more reluctant to shake it than others. I recommend the $4 house shot (half Jeppson's malort, half Campari) if you're looking for liquid courage.
Certifiably fun? Yes.
The food and games
Try to not smile while playing Skee-Ball; I dare you. Three of these classic boardwalk games are lined up against the bar's front wall, where, for $1 a pop, you can challenge your friends and stake out a prime spot to eat some snacks. Food at Slippery Slope comes via a walk-up window inside the bar, where a tiny prep kitchen turns out drunk munchies such as the Mother-In-Law (a Tom Tom tamale topped with vegetarian chili, sour cream and cheese) and a Frito pie (both $5).
Certifiably fun? Yes.
From our seats in one of the oversized, round booths that line one of the bar's walls, my friend and I had prime people-watching real estate. The crowd was surprisingly eclectic: tattoo-covered rockabilly kids, guys in cargo shorts and baseball caps, a few bartenders on their night off. But for all the booze, flattering lighting (seriously, it's like one giant Instagram filter) and ample space in our booth, no one asked to share our orange vinyl-upholstered throne. By the time we left a few hours later, the bar was packed to capacity, with a manageable line forming down Milwaukee Avenue.
Certifiably fun? Yes, once you have a few drinks.
Bottom line: When a bar assembles great music, good drinks and a diverse crowd in proper proportion, it generally spells instant success. Slippery Slope has the first three down, with a killer location near The Radler, East Room and The Whistler to boot. Expect to have some fun.
A second-floor space above the bar hasn't opened yet, but owners say that if all goes well, construction could begin within the next six months.
Reporters visit bars unannounced and drinks are paid for by RedEye.
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