If you happened to be on the 2300 block of North Milwaukee Avenue last night, you probably saw newly-lit neon lights and heard dance music coming from a gray-painted brick building.
The team behind Scofflaw opened their new bar, Slippery Slope (@SlipperySloped, 2357 N. Milwaukee Ave.), complete with cheap drinks, dancing and skee ball on Wednesday.
Doors opened at 8 pm, and the dance floor came alive by 9:30 pm when the DJ played everything from Outkast to Tegan and Sara to Michael Jackson. Patrons who weren’t dancing or playing skee ball packed the booths, bar and standing room surrounding the bar and dance floor.
Behind Slippery Slope
Danny Shapiro, Mandy Tandy, Andy Gould and Kris Nagy, the same team that established Scofflaw, is also behind Slippery Slope. The team opened the bar with hopes of bringing a relaxed venue for dancing to the neighborhood and filling the hole many believe the closing of Bonny’s left in Logan Square.
“Bonny’s had this underground club feel to it but with this dive bar aesthetic, like an old man tavern kind of, untouched like something that was resurrected from like the 1970s but has been paired with some sort of seedy mischievous kind of look to it,” says bar manager Joe Darling. “I think here they [Tandy and Gould] wanted to take that idea and just realize it a little more thoroughly.”
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
According to Darling, the Slippery Slope team aim to bring neighbors together.
“There are places to dine and drink in this neighborhood, but one focus of ours is having some sort of activity, like skee ball and dancing. You can come here and actually have a common experience with somebody instead of just sitting at a table and eating and drinking,” says Darling.
Strings of red lights hang across the ceiling and light the otherwise dim dance floor and bar area. Bar patrons can try their hand at skee ball on the three machines near the front door. Bleachers, a DJ box and a photo booth round out the dance floor in the back of the bar.
Food & Drink
Libations include a rotating bottled cocktail menu, draft beer (including $2 Hamm’s) and liquor. Slippery Slope’s house beer, Barracuda Blue, is a blueberry ale from Michigan’s Dark Horse Brewing Company (@DarkHorseBrewCo) and is served in a mug with blueberries on the bottom. Slippery Slope is the only Illinois bar to serve Barracuda Blue.
But why bottled cocktails, you ask?
“I love making craft cocktails, I love working at Scofflaw, but when it gets busy there you’re completely disconnected from the people sitting in front of you,” says Darling.” “What first attracted me to bar tending was being able to introduce people to each other and kind of be that connector. That’s something that we romanticize a lot and want to represent, so part of that effort is doing the bottled cocktail program.”
While the new bar doesn’t have a kitchen, a room in the front of the space will serve snacks and a dish mirroring a South Side favorite called the mother-in-law. While there are different versions of the mother-in-law, Slippery Slope’s features a Tom-Tom tamale in a cup of chili topped with sour cream, onions and cheese.
Thoughts On Opening Night
Bar-goers packed Slippery Slope for its weeknight opening, and bartenders kept a steady ebb and flow pouring beer and serving the bottled cocktails.
“It’s loud in there right now. It’s hard to judge what it’s going to be like when the fervor dies down,” says neighbor Chris Mendoza. “I’ll probably find myself here again, but it’s hard to tell on the first day. It’s so busy, I don’t know what their vibe will be. It’s promising and it’s big enough. I really like the exterior of the bar, it’s eye catching.”
With Slippery Slope’s frequent comparison to Bonny’s, it is clear that many residents are hoping it can recreate the laid back dancing atmosphere of the bygone bar.
“I feel like it’s everything Bonny’s was but even better. It’s a lot of the same aesthetic but it’s fantastic. It’s bigger and nicer,” says Logan Square resident Melanie MacBride.