I must have passed by Clark Street Dog and Bar ( www.clarkstdog.com 3040 N. Clark St.) hundreds of times during my time in Chicago. However, I'd never tried it.
Well, after recently going there, I have kicked myself for not having visited sooner.
Yes, it's (at least partially) what one might expect: It has stomach-filling items such as grilled chicken sandwiches, Italian beefs, grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries and the Clark Street hot dog along with desserts like chocolate chip cookies. However, in a nod to ever-changing times, there are also options such as the veggie dog and the vegetable Philly sandwich. (By the way, the original Philly is the best I've had outside of Philadelphia.)
Easy-on-the-eyes owner Angelo Velliotis (who took over from his father almost five years ago) said that, regarding the menu, Clark Street Dog and Bar "is not into gimmicks." He's right: What you see (and order) is what you getand that's a good thing. As for the clientele, it's made up of everyone from Cubs fans to tourists to the Halsted Strip crowd (as Boystown is mere steps away).
As for the bar, a lot of fun can be had there, but be careful: Some of the drinks are quite deceptive. For example, the "root beer beer" definitely tastes like root beer, which could trick some people into thinking they can drink more than they should. The same can be said of the joint's pickleback shot, a $5 combination of a shot of Jameson and a shot of pickle juice. It may not sound appetizing but the effect is amazing: The pickle juice cleanses the palate, and any taste of the whiskey is gone.
Clark Street Dog and Bar has been around for more than three decades. It should be around for at least three morecomplete with pickleback shots.