Just like their motto says, Uptown neighborhood’s Wild Pug is all about drinking, dancing and “just enough” debauchery. The only mystery concerns what the Wild pug is. It’s not a sports bar. It’s not exclusively an LGBTQ+ friendly bar. It’s not a club. So, what is it exactly? I say: who cares? It’s a cozy bar with a friendly staff and great drinks, a penchant for pups, so just relax, enjoy yourself and don’t worry about it.
Wild Pug is literally a few steps north of its sister bar, Crew Bar + Grill, which is under the same ownership. Conveniently enough, even though Wild Pug doesn’t serve food, all you have to do is tell the bartender you are hungry and they’ll call Crew and send a server over to take your order. If you’re unfamiliar with Crew’s food options, they have your typical bar at a step up in quality, which includes a wide selection of appetizers, entrees and burgers. Wild pug isn’t really set up to have a nice quiet dinner although if you’re eating there, you can find a place to dine. It is filled with cozy couches and barstools, massive windows ideal for people watching along Broadway, a fireplace for winter months, a small but workable dance floor, and an incredibly nice and attentive staff–except if you’re trying to take photos for a bar review…
The music is just loud enough without being overpowering, and it’s easy to hold a conversation yet still enjoy the tunes except occasionally when there’s a DJ (on weekends). Every night of the week celebrates a different style of music at Wild Pug. Monday is Motown Night with classics from The Temptations and Smokey Robinson heard all night long. Tuesday is Live Acoustic Music Night, Wednesday is Game Show Night where you can play Wild Pug’s versions of your favorite games like Wheel of Fortune and Family Fued. If you’re feeling brave, Thursday is Karaoke Night and the nice thing is that if karaoke isn’t your thing, it’s hosted in the back room so the rest of the bar isn’t subjected to it although it may be hard to escape the sounds of the intermittent off-key singers.
My pick for the best night of the week at Wild Pug is Friday night, when it’s all about the 80s. If you aren’t a huge fan of (God forbid) Journey or any other legendary 80s rock band, I still urge you to check out the bar on a Friday night because watching all of the people in 80s attire is definitely worth leaving the house for. I’ve never seen so many people go all out when it’s not Halloween. Saturday brings “Dog Day Afternoon” at Wild Pug when the bar opens its doors from 3-6pm to pups and their owners. It’s quite the scene especially when one dog owner is yelling at another after their pup eats another’s dog’s poop. Trust me when I say this has happened more then once.
Drinks can be a bit overpriced at Wild Pug but they make up for it somewhat because the bar never charges a cover. To get a good deal on your favorite drink, I suggest visiting the bar on the night of the week that best suits your fancy. The standouts: $2 domestic pints and free pool on Mondays, $3.50 Absolut cocktails and Wednesdays and $6 “Martini Madness” on Fridays—my mouth is watering just thinking about the bar’s special martini menu. Sundays draw the lushes with $2 well drinks, $9 Bud Light pitchers and $12 Long Island Iced Tea pitchers.
I often get asked the same question every time when I tell people I am going to Wild Pug, “Is it really a ‘gay bar’?” Maybe it’s the dim lighting or the over-30 clientele that frequents the bar, a crowd not so often seen in Boystown. At first glance Wild Pug doesn’t appear to be a gay bar and you honestly wouldn’t guess it is unless you are paying close attention to who is dancing with whom and how many bartenders are hitting on the few younger men that enter the bar. Instead of being labeled a LGBTQ+ friendly bar it’s just another lounge on a block with other Uptown hotspots like the infamous Green Mill and Fat Cat. It’s a great bar to sit at a high-top and watch people walk by on this busy stretch of Broadway, dance all night until your feet can’t take it anymore, or lounge around and share a few drinks with friends. For more information, check out the Wild Pug website . In the words of Norm from Cheers, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”