It’s a little pub in Bucktown. Just a place to grab a few beers, eat some wings, and watch the game. That is until last year this mild mannered bar was turned into a set for a television series. Lottie’s Pub in Bucktown is just like any bar. It actually reminds me of bars that I went to when I was in college. Jen said it reminded her of her grandmother’s bar when she was growing up. Of course, Lottie’s is known to the world as the place where the boys and girls of “Chicago Fire” hang out. On the show, the bar is known as Molly’s and the owners are Dawson, Hermann, Otis, and now Shay.(Monica Raymund, David Eigenberg, Yuri Saradov, and Lauren German)
But that is television land and this is reality. We actually got a chance to meet and talk to the real owner of Lottie’s Pub. He is very nice and took the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us and let us try some of their cuisine. Mark not only manages Lottie’s but Frontier and The Pony as well. Naturally we had a lot of questions. For those that are curious, no Gaga was never there. (For our “Monster” friends) Mark said that the cast and crew was really nice and great to have in the bar. Sometimes there would be about a hundred people in the bar at one time. There is actually a sign outside that reads “Molly’s by Day and Lottie’s by Night” But with the popularity of the show, it grew more and more impossible to do business as a the regular bar. So finally, Mark told the producers that they couldn’t be there as much as they wanted. As a result, a “fake” Molly’s was a built on a sound stage in Chicago. However, the bar is still used for exterior shots. Mark also told us a little bit about the history of the bar. Long before Taylor Kinney came here, the place was known as a grocery store, gambling hall, strip joint and just a general place where people came to get into trouble. It was a popular hangout for payoffs to members of the Chicago Police Department who were on the take. The name “Lottie” refers to the former owner, Walter “Lottie” Zagorski who was a transvestite responsible for running the joint. I had no idea it had such a colorful history. History continues to be made at the neighborhood bar. Just recently, Mark proudly told me that the Coors beer company had voted “Lottie’s the bar to best represent Coors Beer. “The president of the company came in and gave me this award himself. It was great! I felt like I won a James Beard award.” he smiled.
There was a lot of choices on the menu. Good old bar food and as my father always told me, that the best food comes from bars. First, we started with the wings . They were served with bleu cheese, celery, and carrots. The wings themselves were crunchy and I liked that. The sauce wasn’t too hot, but just a mild Buffalo sauce with a kick. Next we got a chance to nibble at the sliders. They have four at Lottie’s , the caprese, the buffalo chicken, the meatball, and the regular cheeseburger. They all tasted great, like little sandwiches. Mark said that they were known for their pizza, so we decided to try the pizza of the month. This month it was a meatball sub pizza with lots of meat on it with the cheese and peppers.It was definitely filling and quite tasty. To finish off the tasting, Jen got her traditional mac and cheese. Thumbs up to the cook at Lottie’s because it was cheesy enough for her I saw they had a teriyaki burger that was loaded down with goodies like pineapple, swiss cheese, and another surprise canadian bacon paired with the grilled red peppers. It was so huge I couldn’t even bite it through the whole way. Needless to say, it will make a nice lunch tomorrow.
Before we left, Mark was glad to give us a shirt. And I will tell you this, Jen will really cherish her shirt because “Chicago Fire” is one of her favorite shows. I will treasure it because of all the great people I have met through the show like Executive Producer Danielle Gelber, Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, and of course Taylor Kinney. Still hoping to appear on the show and that the right part will come along. I also will remember the great people like Mark as well. If you want to experience some of Chicago’s history new and old, come to Lottie’s Pub at 1925 W Cortland Street.