A Woodworker’s Guide to Chicago’s Best Bars, Literally

Greta De Parry names the five best slabs of pine in the city

By Tom Gavin

A Woodworker’s Guide to Chicago’s Best Bars, Literally
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08 December 2016

Greta de Parry respects wood.

She’s got a Dwell Magazine design award to her name to prove it.

She’s also no stranger to bars. In fact, she’s an expert.

Since 2007, the classically trained woodworker has been cranking out gorgeous, rustic-meets-urban design pieces to national acclaim. “I make what I like, and the integrity of the piece is as important as the outcome.”

Photo: Jim Prisching

Her latest project? The After Five Bar Cart, a design which was commissioned by Basil Hayden's bourbon as part of their woody, rugged holiday home bar collection.

"I was thinking about an urban man, who's stylish, cares about design and likes to entertain," she says of the design, which recalls a whiskey barrel with its shimmering, ebonized oak, copper-finished steel and detachable serving tray.

It’s a kind of bar cart you certainly won’t find anywhere else: singular in design, and one that deserves to be well-stocked and in your abode.

But you can find de Parry’s work all over the city. The dining tables at DryHop Brewers in Lakeview? Her. The stools at Yusho in Logan Square? Also her. In Detroit, she sourced reclaimed fencing posts to build the tables for Rose’s Fine Foods.

So trust the lady knows a good bar when she sees one. Also when she drinks at one. As for her favorites? We recently caught up with de Parry get her take on the bars worth admiring. 

Photo: Eric Kleinberg
The Bar: Bangers & Lace
Greta says: "I'm into super hoppy IPAs, especially in the winter. Bangers has a great rotating selection of craft brews to suit your fancy. It's super cozy in the winter and open and airy in the summer. And it never feels too crowded, even when it's packed.” www.bangersandlacebar.com

Photo: Brian Willette
The Bar: Dove’s Luncheonette
Greta says: “I love Dove's — it’s a great retro bar. And they have the BEST fried chicken." www.doveschicago.com

The Bar: Sportsman’s Club
Greta says: “I used to live across the street and there’s something about the intimate lighting and all the rustic wood that does it for me. Grabbing a table and playing a game of checkers with good company. The cocktail menu changes daily. It’s definitely the best pick for a chill Thursday night." www.drinkingandgathering.com

The Bar: Rainbo Club
Greta says: “The place hasn’t changed in decades. In a good way. You have to see it to understand the charm. Order a shot and a beer." www.yelp.com/rainbo-club-chicago

The Bar: Solemn Oath Brewery
Greta says: "I built the taproom space for their Naperville Brewery. Everything from the bar — made of two solid slabs of Black Walnut felled from Wisconsin — to the flight trays, to the shelving to the seating. They pretty much gave me complete creative freedom with the design and were just plain awesome to work with. And the space is f***king beautiful! Stop in a grab a Kidnapped By Vikings. It's my favorite." www.solemnoathbrewery.com

Main Photo: Jim Prisching

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