Party Earth Review Just a few steps from the lively Wicker Park intersection of North and Damen Avenues, a large black and red star shines over what looks like a former gas station – and that’s because it is. The funky exterior of Big Star... ... read full review
1531 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
Blue Line: Damen
M–F, Su 11:30am–2am, Sa 11:30am–3am
Wicker Park / Bucktown, Chicago –
Just a few steps from the lively Wicker Park intersection of North and Damen Avenues, a large black and red star shines over what looks like a former gas station – and that’s because it is.
The funky exterior of Big Star, however, belies the lively and energetic vibe within, as loud honky-tonk music blares from the stereo and groups of mustachioed hipsters chat animatedly over authentic tacos and rounds of Lone Star beer.
Large skylights dot the single room’s ceiling, while bare wooden walls and glass-paneled garage doors highlight the venue’s minimalist design.
For many, Big Star is a destination spot throughout the week, a place where young professionals can wash off the day with a few Micheladas (Tecate mixed with house-made hot sauces), and artsy types and groups of boisterous girls can crowd into wooden booths to down pitchers of margaritas.
Friday and Saturday nights draw a little heavier on the party-hopping crowd, as preppy couples take over the bourbon barrel tables around the large central bar, vaporizing a few bacon-wrapped hot dogs before heading to the nearby clubs.
Warmer months draw a mix of fraternity types and easygoing hipsters to the asphalt patio out front, where they rock a block-party feel as they munch on vats of melted cheese with pork belly tacos, all washed down with a few whiskeys or cocktails.
As if precariously straddling the Rio Grande, Big Star brings an authentic Tex-Mex taste to this hipster neighborhood, and it is very bueno.
Mix of flannel-clad hipsters, concertgoers, metrosexuals, party girls, fraternity types, and couples, early 20s to mid-30s.
Playlist of loud honky-tonk, Texas country, rock, and southern blues. Occasional live music sessions.
Authentic Mexican tacos and tostadas. Cash only. ATM on site.
Tacos and tostadas $3–$4. Beer $2–$6, big bottles (22–26oz.) $16–$21, tequila $5–$14, whiskey $3–$16.
Cool casual/club: flannel, untucked button-downs, vintage cool, and some club attire.
Thursday through Saturday nights for a busy and energetic vibe, though table waits up to an hour are common.
Piece (1927 West North Avenue) goes the Italian route with thin crust pizza and a lengthy beer menu.