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MOTEL BAR

600 W. Chicago Ave.|312-786-5525
MotelBarChi.com Community: River North
Cuisine: Neo-retro American
Vibe: Cozy, hip
Sound level: Moderate to loud
Entree cost level (lunch): $10-$15
Reservations: Not accepted
Private room: No
Wheelchair available: Yes

All restaurant meals are paid for by Crain’s customers, who go to restaurants anonymously. They in some cases follow up with phone calls to management after they visit to clarify information.We’re not usually fans of heavily themed restaurants, mainly since their food can look like an afterthought, but every so often such a location really clicks. Motel Bar has operated for 12 years in the massive, river-hugging structure that was originally the Montgomery Ward catalog warehouse, more well-known nowadays as home to Groupon’s business headquarters. In September the bar resumed under 4 Corners ownership with new menus, staff and design– a retro-roadside look that’s lively however not ridiculous. A vintage-style neon indication, one of the few carryovers from the previous version, assures not only job but also cocktails (true), a swimming pool(incorrect)and “A/C “(true). Inside, the look takes its cues from high-style motels you might have experienced along interstate highways back in the 1960s or so, the bars of which our moms and dads hustled us past. We’re quite sure Motel Bar is more life-affirming than those poorly lit areas filled with day drinkers, and it definitely has better food. It seats 100 at a bar, at booths and little tables, and in a lounge location with low sofas; a patio accommodates 80 more in season. A foosball table in back contributes to a feeling of one’s workplace, and the work waiting for there, being quite far away.Four Corners business chef Ryan Devitt developed the menu, which does an excellent task of evoking midcentury, middle-of-the-road food. American cheese and iceberg lettuce adorn a hamburger, for instance, and Ritz cracker breading provides pork tenderloin a crisp crust. Turning specials influenced by Frozen Dinner might include Salisbury steak, meatloaf and chicken casserole. The food never ever veers off into self-defeating parody, though; Mediterranean, Chinese, Mexican and other yummy touches keep things interesting and truly satisfying.The customers skews young and woke, making the location a location of primary interest to work friends instead of anybody trying a major lunch meeting. It can get a bit loud, depending on the music(we enjoyed the late-1970s, early-’80s