Leader Bar

Leader of the Pack

Beer and Mac & Cheese Sticks on Irving Park

21d6e3c8c66e1c1ca1cdf107f808d165d1af79d45 PhotosLeader Bar
Here we are. Wednesday. That point in the week where you can take a nice, deep breath and begin to relax.

And if breathing doesn’t help, try beer—everyone breathes better with beer.

We happen to know a good place: Leader Bar, a new corner tavern harkening back to the day when a trip to the local watering hole was a rite of passage between the office and the house.

The name comes from the grizzly old packaged goods liquor store/bar that was on the corner in Avondale in days gone by. You’ll find things are warmer now—the fireplace helps, as does wood paneling, an art deco–inspired bar and the biggest pair of reindeer antlers you’re likely to see on Irving Park Road outside of Christmas Eve.

It’s a friendly spot where you can grab a seat at the bar, watch the game and knock back something from one of the 14 taps. Though you could just as easily ensconce yourself in a booth and have dinner—the kitchen has been perfecting the fine art of Mac & Cheese Sticks, baby backs and that hard-to-pull-off creation known as the Cannoli Martini, a deconstructed version of the mascarpone dessert, here served in a martini glass.

Go ahead, make it a double.

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