An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press

Monday, August 24, 2009

Albany Park Underground Bar

If you knew the right people, if you knew the secret knock and that evening's password, maybe you could get into the speakeasy in the basement of this house.

The living room certainly wasn't giving anything away -- but then, that's the scam. From the outside, you can't tell anything's going on inside.

I'm going to imagine that the club was presided over by a very brassy old broad -- we'll call her "Lorraine" -- and that this is what she wore on nights when the club was open.

This was found nearby. Apparently, whenever a sequin or bead worked its way loose, Lorraine was handy enough with a needle and thread to make the repair herself. Why no one hadn't already snatched this up I can't say. After all, it came with all the buttons.

Here's the basement, where all the action took place. Not very lively or inviting, I'll admit. But all the makings are here.

The bathroom nearby had been updated for the comfort of Lorraine's patrons. I hope no peeping toms ever discovered those glass block windows.

Bar #1 was just to the right, and looks like it might have specialized in tropical-themed drinks. Let's start counting bar stools, okay? One and two.

Bar #2 was at the back, and this is where I like to imagine Lorraine slinging drinks and sass to a gathering of regulars.

Everything she needed for a busy night was right here. Plenty of glassware and ashtrays. A wine rack for her rotating selection of cheap reds. A basket for snacks. And green tape for when things got rowdy.

This is a room on the other side of the bar. That oven is almost as old as Lorraine, and came in handy when folks requested some of her famous garlic bread and pizza rolls. Time to count bar stools again. That group on the right makes six.

Let's take a closer look at that oven.

She's an old girl who just kept right on a cookin' -- kind of like Lorraine. What's that sign on top?

Where could this sign have been posted? Your guess is as good as mine. If the music was that loud, it might have been somewhere on the other side of town.

Thus ends our tour of Lorraine's Place.

Oh, wait. Four more bar stools sitting out in front, for a grand total of ten.

Apparently, it was a very exclusive place.


  1. Shoot, I would have loved a look at that oven. :-)

  2. Yeah, you don't see them like that much any more, outside of a pioneer days festival.

  3. Nice piece of works. Thanks. I really enjoy all the stuff. Really a nice post here!

    Paula M


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