It's not as prestigious but still worthwhile to call out. Time Out Chicago just did a piece about 50 unknown bars throughout the city that are classified as "unsung but lovable dives, lounges and taverns". The two spots within the South Loop are:
When brothers Marco and Miguel Silva bought the Butcher’s Dog in 2007, it was your average, run-of-the-mill Irish bar. To say the brothers took the space and turned it on its head would be an understatement. The long, narrow room now has a Bonnie and Clyde–meets-baroque look, and the clientele has gone from old men to young South Loopers. The biggest change of all: The Silvas kicked the likes of Budweiser and Miller off their beer list to make room for 100-plus microbrews. Extra shot The bar’s burgers are all made with Dietzler Farms’ ethically raised beef. 649 S Clark St (312-356-9992).—David Tamarkin
LITTLE BRANCH CAFE
It’s hidden in a quiet South Loop development, yet the fact that it exists is not the most surprising thing about Little Branch Cafe. Rather, it’s the fact that, come nightfall, this spot (it’s a coffee-and-sandwich shop by day) transforms into a cocktail bar. The wine, beer and cocktail lists are tightly edited (think classics such as the Corpse Reviver), and because it’s so quiet in here, there’s nothing to distract you from how well the drinks are executed. Extra shot The dinner menu, with items like chicken and waffles, goes beyond the lunchtime offerings of panini. 1251 S Prairie Ave (312-360-0101).—David Tamarkin
While we would agree that Villain's is a great unsung bar in the South Loop, we wouldn't say the same thing about Little Branch Cafe. We had a pleasant experience there (click here) but if we're talking about bars/lounges would much rather see something like M Lounge on this list.