Newport Bar & Grille

1344 W. Newport Ave. (3500N, 1400W) Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 325-9111)

Editor’s Note: though the The Newport Bar & Grille remains open, the laundromat in front has succumbed to regentrification and has closed. No more Buds and suds.

For those not fortunate enough to have laundry facilities in their building, the Newport Bar & Grille offers salvation. Originally from the folks that brought you the Saga Laundromat, behold!… now you can get soaked along with your clothes, at this combination laundromat-and-bar. Buds and suds, baby, Buds and suds. The place is great even if you don’t have any washing to do thanks to a good selection of pub grub and complimentary board games.

Once known as the Saga Launder Bar & Cafe, the Newport Bar & Grill can be found just behind the laundry, which takes up most of the first floor of this two-story, red-brick building at the northeast corner of Southport and Newport. Access to the bar can be had through a plate-glass door between the dryers up front or through the bar’s main entrance, just off the corner. Step inside and you’ll find a square wooden bar against the western wall that sports several ales on tap. The decor of Newport Bar & Grill consists of white-painted, wood-paneled walls adorned with string lights. You’ll also find several TVs, a Golden Tee machine (surprise, surprise), a pool table, and a smattering of low-slung, wooden tables.

The menu at Newport is pretty good for a bar and features one of my favorites, the chicken saltimbocca: a chicken breast sandwich topped with prosciutto ham and cheese. “Saltimbocca” is Italian for “jumps into one’s mouth.” With a side of Cajun fries and Leinie’s Red, you’re ready to go. The Newport also has salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, entrees like tuna steak, and brunch on Sunday. The only drawback is that, if you order food from a waitress, be prepared to wait. Service can be quite slow, especially if busy. If you’re not in a hurry to get your clothes done, have a go on one of their 100 board games ala Guthries Tavern (the drinking version of Jenga is recommended), take in a game on one of their several TVs, or chill out in their sidewalk cafe in the summertime. And don’t worry about your clothes: they have a status board on the north wall with lights that indicate when your machine is done.

If you’re a cocktail drinker, take care at Newport: even though they only charge about $5, drinks are served in a full-sized pint glass. This is an incredible deal for sure and the polar opposite of SoPo, I say take care for a reason. I once spent an evening in the beer garden with a girl I was dating and, every time I ordered another beer, she ordered another screwdriver. As you would guess, I tend to throw ’em back quickly. Before I knew it, she was hammered and, in her infinite drunken wisdom, decided to relieve her stomach of their contents in my bathroom sink once we got back to my place, even though the toilet was two feet away. Sinks are not meant to drain regurgitation quickly—shocking I know—and I had to roll up the ol’ sleeves and stick my hand in there to unclog it… just what I wanted to do before bed! My pain is your gain, so be prepared.

This was helpful one night when I did—count ’em—nine loads of laundry. I had to do this because I had a stack of dirty laundry that reached disturbingly close to the ceiling. One night, the stack toppled over and the resulting thud at the end of my bed was enough to scare me awake. The next day I was at the Launder Bar, where I washed everything but the kitchen sink: shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, quilts, sheets, pillow cases, dish rags, bathmats, tea towels, etc. I managed to squeeze in dinner and a few beers, and in the end had a mountain of clean clothes and a thorough feeling of contented exhaustion.

The Newport Bar & Grill helps make the arduous chore of doing your laundry far more pleasant and is also a pretty good joint even if you’re clothes are clean. If only the oil change places could learn from the Launder Bar… For more information, you’ll have to call the bar as they no longer have a website. Are you done with that dryer?

R.I.P. Saga Laundry