Party Earth Review Named after the bar in the 1960s Jerry Lewis film Visit to a Small Planet, Hungry Brain is a relaxed neighborhood dive that’s as quirky as Lewis himself. Patrons enter through what looks like a derelict storefront and... ... read full review
2319 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
M–F, Su 8pm–2am, Sa 8pm–3am
North Center / Roscoe Village, Chicago –
Named after the bar in the 1960s Jerry Lewis film Visit to a Small Planet, Hungry Brain is a relaxed neighborhood dive that’s as quirky as Lewis himself.
Patrons enter through what looks like a derelict storefront and into a large open room full of random sofas and chairs, from cracked leather davenports to plastic cafeteria stools.
A circle of plush couches sits on a worn stage near the entrance, where groups of affable hipsters sink into the cushions with their PBRs in hand and flannel shirts strategically semi-tucked so as to look accidental.
Local art, band posters, and beer paraphernalia line the pale walls, while brain sculptures and a bizarre assortment of B-movie bric-a-brac appear hastily dumped behind the bar.
Despite the bar’s incongruous design, a surprisingly good selection of craft beer coexists with the bare-bones domestics, enticing vintage-clad friends and discerning old-school rockers to pull up one of the mismatched stools to enjoy the punk and indie hits blaring from the jukebox.
Sundays see the stage make room for jazz acts and Mondays usually host a mix of open mic or comedy, but the rest of the week at the Brain looks a lot like someone’s poorly decorated living room party, full of loud conversation and louder music.
It probably won’t blow anyone’s mind, but with lots of drink and loads of grunge, Hungry Brain offers plenty to hanker for.
Grungy hipsters, old-school rockers, groups of retro friends, art students, musicians, punks, and blue-collar Joes, 20s to early 40s.
Revolving entertainment lineup including poetry readings, open mic, and comedy sketches on Monday nights. Live jazz most Sundays.
Two vintage arcade machines with Pac-Man, Galaga, and Arkanoid. Retro jukebox stocked with punk, indie, and classic hits. Local art scattered on the walls.
No food. Cash only.
Beer $2.50–$8+, wine $4, cocktails $4–$8+, spirits $4–$8+, shots $4–$8+.
Casual: ripped jeans, black hoodies, baseball caps, graphic t-shirts, studded belts, flannel button-downs, blouses, sweaters.
Mondays to check out what the local artists have in store, Sundays for the jazz, or Fridays and Saturdays to hang with a large group of quickly-made friends, pound some cheap beer, dance to some punk, and repeat.
The 90 Miles Cuban Café (3101 North Clybourn Avenue) is a popular casual Cuban joint that offers an array of affordable cuisine to fill up on before going to Hungry Brain.