Fizz Bar & Grill

3220 N. Lincoln Ave. (3200N, 1600W) Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-6000)

Fizz joins nearby Four Moon Tavern and Riverview Tavern as a great example of a post-Lincoln park bar that is cool enough to transcend “trendy,” while remaining unpretentious. Fizz fits in very well within this Lincoln corridor of reinvigoration.

Located just north of the marvel-of-metal Technicolor Kitchen, Fizz has held its own since 1998 by attracting passersby with its front windows that open out in the summer, tasteful blue paint, bright red doors with nautical-like windows, glass blocks, and rusted iron metalworking on the roof. Well, maybe not the ironworks. The front windows of Fizz recently replaced the curved glass front windows that were a holdover from the former occupant’s menswear business. Step inside this polished domain and you will find much exposed brick, very high ceilings, local artwork on the walls, stuffed swordfish above the bar, and giant Grolsch bottle behind the bar. The only detractor from the décor is the unfinished cement floors.

Fizz boasts a large kitchen behind two more bright red doors, serving up inventive, above average southern and southwestern-influenced pub grub like the buffalo chicken sandwich, grilled tuna steak, and pulled pork sandwich. They also serve Sunday brunch. The small wooden cocktail tables across the bar are hard to eat at, so I recommend grabbing one of the low-rider tables in the back of the room. Thirsty? Fizz has 12 beers on tap with twice as many available in bottles, and several wines are also available. With a large group? Grab a table up front at the windows and observe the interesting Lincoln / Ashland / Belmont foot traffic. Or, have a gander at the people without lives working out at 1:00 a.m. in the 24-hour Powerhouse gym across the street. Bands have been increasingly present at Fizz, at no cover charge mind you. I have seen a variety of small two and three-guy bands. One happened to be “one half” of the group Frisbee. I thought the name “Boomerang” would have been more appropriate. The bands don’t play too loud, so that you can enjoy your food or a conversation amongst friends. On one particular evening, I remember that the craic was mighty. Talk turned to puking on buses, defecating in one’s pants, peeing in kitty litter boxes (sense a theme here?), how my friend once played poker with John Cusack and Jeremy Piven at the age of 10 in his pajamas in Evanston, and the little known fact that you can get a DUI on a riding lawn mower (this actually happened one time in Arcola, downstate Illinois). All of this while a girl we dubbed “Lesbiana” made eyes at my date. You can’t beat that for entertainment!

If that’s not enough for you, check out the retro dance music or live bands in “The Loft.” The Loft is a wide-open, hardwood-floored space with glass blocks comprising the front wall. Sorry, pool sharks they have taken out the pool tables. Private parties can pack up to 250 drunkards in this area (or 125 “seated”).

Fizz also hosts Sneaky Tiki Night every Wednesday night. One can bask in the glory of plastic tiki heads, 32-ounce flaming rum cocktails, Mojitos (a Hemingway favorite, whatever that means), Zombies, Banana Hammocks, and pinã coladas served in hallowed-out pineapples. My advice: don’t get into a staring contest with one of the tiki heads no matter how much it seems like a good idea at the time. While tiki heads proliferate and the bartenders wear their festive Hawaiian shirts and leis, there is not as much tiki as I would like. If I had my way there would be more wood, idols, leis (for the patrons), Hawaiian music, and plenty of poi. With the recent departure of Hyde Park’s House of Tiki, true-tiki fans are relegated to Tong’s Tiki Hut in the suburbs for full-on tiki.

While not specifically a sports bar, Fizz will put on the big games in silent mode, even on their big screen if sufficiently coaxed. In summer, you’ll find a rather large beer garden full of low-slung wooden tables and chairs, the latter of which are rather comfortable with arms. This area in the lot next door was once a building, but it was knocked down for your beer gardening pleasure, thank you very much! If you’re lucky, you can snag a paded seat up front by the rahter pleasant fountain. This beats the sidewalk cafe they used to have in front of Fizz, where patrons could enjoy the exhaust from the Lincoln Avenue #33 bus and view the rather unscenic empty lot and adult bookstore across the street (both have since been replaced), while being wedged amongst parking meters.

Fizz is a great upscale neighborhood place for good food and tiki. For details on their daily specials or further information, check out Fizz’s website. Aloha.