First Look: Lone Wolf, a West Loop Neighborhood Bar

By Sarah Freeman  |  November 14, 2013
Credit: Nick Murway

How does one make a new bar feel old, like it's been a neighborhood staple for years? Lone Wolf, opened just yesterday, is filling the West Loop’s boozy hangout scene's gaping hole in a way that makes patrons feel like it has been on the culinary-driven street all along. The bar is the latest from Heisler Hospitality collection, which also includes Trenchermen, Bangers & Lace, Bar DeVille and Revel Room in conjunction with the team from Barrelhouse Flat

The unassuming façade - concrete brick and glass block windows - hides what's going on inside, where dim lighting, minimalist decor, a local draft list and classic cocktails are the order of the day. The centerpiece is a heavy wood bar with seating for 30, behind which an arsenal of cocktail experts prepares drinks designed by Barrelhouse Flat’s Stephen Cole. The bar is already filled with locals seeking simple libations and comfort food provided by Bridgeport’s Pleasant House Bakery. In a strip overrun with some of the city's most thought-provoking food, it's nice that the area now has a place for people to sit back with a strong drink and a savory pie.

806 W. Randolph St.; 312-600-9391

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    Lone Wolf would not be at home in Chicago's most-exciting food neighborhood without bringing its own culinary masterpieces to the table. To do that, they called in Art Jackson at Pleasant House Bakery to provide his famous Royal Pies. The savory menu features five pies ranging from classic steak and ale to over-the-top mac 'n' cheese with bacon and onions. In the snack section, guests can munch on a house-pickled egg with potato chips or Welsh rarebit served with toasted bread, beer-cheese sauce and Pleasant Farms pea shoots. All of the food is designed to soak up the potent drinks.

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    The cocktail menu is divided into two sections. The top features three Sgroppino, an Italian apéritif meant for the pre-dinner crowd and made with sorbet and Prosecco. Named one through three, the drinks combine bubbles with different sweet or citrusy combinations such as lemon, gin and lavender, or lime, strawberry and vodka. More traditional cocktails are strong with noticeable bitter notes. The Bitter Giuseppe uses Cynar, Carpano Antica, and lemon and orange bitters, while the Bicicletta uses Campari, dry white wine and club soda. The bar also serves a rotating selection of draft beers, including four taps devoted to Three Floyds. Two of those taps will serve Zombie Dust and Permanent Funeral, while the other two are reserved for beers only available at Lone Wolf.

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    The bar gets its name from nearby Wolf Point, the intersection of the North, South and Main branches of the Chicago River. The name dates back to the 1800s. Staying true to its historical roots, Lone Wolf the space is anchored by a Brunswick-inspired island bar with wood arches, wide columns and a mirrored back bar. On both sides of the space are tufted leather booths, with similar booths and smaller tables for two at the front. The only decoration hanging on the exposed-brick walls is a chalkboard draft menu. This space is truly about the massive bar and needs little else, besides a few thirsty patrons.