The Vibe at This New Logan Square ’80s Bar Is Totally Tubular

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The team behind Common Decency knew they had big shoes to fill inside the former Lost Lake space. Their response? Focus on food and cocktails that everyone could enjoy. That includes making sure the bread used in their Cuban sandwich is gluten-free (which accommodates beverage director Kelsey Kasper’s allergy) and giving partner Jason Turley a top-flight vegetarian option with the mushroom French dip, made with roasted portabella and gruyere.

While Lost Lake focused on liquids and was often crowded with folks holding drinks garnished with umbrellas, Common Decency sports tables in the aisles where diners can enjoy small bites like skillet cornbread or thrice-cooked (baked, smoked, fried) chicken wings to more robust dishes like a hanger steak or dumpling cacio e pepe. Dumplings have been a signature dish for ex-Funkenhausen chef Mark Steuer since his days at Carriage House in Wicker Park. The difference in Logan Square is ensuring the gluten-free dumplings are airy.

A disco ball shining
They’ve added a disco ball.

The space feels wider and flashier thanks to the ’80s vibe which allows visitors to enact their Miami Vice dreams. But instead of fighting over who gets to play Crockett and who gets to play Tubbs, Steuer sees a welcoming atmosphere. There’s a disco ball and a photo booth, plus a new backroom for larger groups.

Don’t look for banana daiquiri on the drink menu. There are frozen drinks, like frozen Key lime pie with rum and Greek yogurt. The drinks from Kasper, a partner in the bar who formerly managed Spilt Milk, showcase her gift of balancing acid, says Steuer, her fiance. A drink called Barbershop Celebrity uses sticky rice, mango, and Thai basil mixed with coconut-washed vodka. The Coffee Date is their answer to the espresso martini using Hexe espresso, honey, dates, and cacao. Steuer says they’ll eventually make seltzer and vinegars using citrus peels and other waste from fruit.

Common Decency’s owners are offering workers profit sharing and health insurance co-pays after six months of employment as part of their way of raising the standards in the workplace for hospitality workers. Those benefits will be baked into the cost of food and drink. Steuer says QR codes and surcharges are pet peeves he’ll avoid.

Earlier this month, partner and co-chef Felipe Hernandez suddenly died in an accident. Hernandez’s loss is felt on several fronts, including lost recipes that weren’t written down. Steuer and company have attempted to reverse-engineer some. Later this summer, a companion restaurant, Fever Dream, will open next door inside the space where Thank You, the Chinese American takeout spot that was once operated by Lost Lake’s owners. Hernandez was to play a large role in Fever Dream. Steuer says they’re still figuring out how to properly honor their friend at the bar. There’s a bit of push that the best way to remember Hernandez is to make sure Common Decency is successful.

While Hernandez won’t be present for the next stop in their journey, he’ll remain in the staff’s hearts when Common Decency opens on Friday, April 26.

Common Decency, 3154 W. Diversey, opening Friday, April 26.

Lost Lake

3154 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 293-6048 Visit Website

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