Ok so I heard a lot of good things about this place before I actually got the chance to go. It seems to be the buzz of the Wicker Park area. 1566 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL. 60622 is the address to this spot. Everybody’s always ranting and raving about this place and saying how awesome it is and how it’s the home of the 40 oz., and let me tell you, I don’t agree one bit. Let me begin by telling you how much of a nightmare I had at this place.
When you first arrive at Empire, you have to wait in line for 20 min. Ok whatever, I guess that’s no big deal. I show the bouncer at the door my passport and he goes, you don’t have a driver’s license on you? I asked “for what?” and he said, he doesn’t know if I can use my passport to get in. So you’re telling me that I can get in and out of the country with this thing but I can’t get into Empire with it?
Finally we get in, the first thing I’m thinking is “yes 40 oz.!” just to hear the bartender tell us, “you know what, we’re fresh out.” Like dude seriously? Its only 11:00pm, how many did you have back there 5? Also, what ever happened to having beautiful women behind the bar? I mean, I’m all for everybody making their $$ but why the hell would anybody want to see some Jersey Shore reject douche bag behind the bar, rather than a beautiful girl!? So you walk towards the back from the small front bar area thinking there’s a lot more bar back there. That wasn’t the case at all.
Let me give you a visual of this place there’s two sections, front and back, but only one bar. The front section is about 25’ long and 8’ wide. The back section is about 15’ long and about 6’ wide. Now imagine 500 damn people in this tiny place. You can barely move, it’s so crowded, all the pushing and shoving is just a boxing match waiting to happen. You can hardly breathe in this place. There was absolutely NO talent in this place, if you guys know what I mean. So whatever, I think to myself, “Let me get the hell out of here for a couple minutes and go smoke a cigarette.” I finished up, tried to head back in and the bouncer says, “End of the line buddy.” I told him, “I just came out and told you I was going to smoke a square!” He says, oh I know, but there’s no re-entry. Are you f’ing kidding me guy!? So now all my boys are inside and my brother and I now have to wait in an even longer line for 40 minutes.
A waitress comes outside and tells everyone in line, hey there’s a way to skip it. Buy a bottle and get a V.I.P table and skip the line. So I say to myself, why not, it’s my boy’s birthday, I’ll buy a bottle. So she grabs us and takes us inside and clears a table for us. All the while the bouncer in the V.I.P section is looking at me like I’m a criminal. This had to be the tiniest table/area of the bar. So the waitress brings out regular standard $250 nightclub bottle of liquor. The bouncer is standing right in front of our table, keeping anyone from standing on that side of the table. Then he keeps turning around every little while and telling us, hey you guys have to stay in your area. Well, that would be a lot easier if there wasn’t some 6’6” 300 lbs. dude taking up three of our spots. So we’re sitting there trying to have a good time and that bouncer keeps messing with us, and tells the waitress, you got to tell these people to stay in their area or I’m going to kick them out. Then the waitress comes up and before she could even say a word, I said girl, the rest of the people in this place haven’t spent $250 on a bottle so you need to tell your boy to stop messing with us. She apologized for him and was the only person at Empire that I liked that night. So the bar closes and all in all I was pissed about my experience there. Other than the waitress who I said bye and thank you to, and who gave me a kiss on the cheek for her tip and out of respect, Saturday night at Empire was a complete fail. It might have been home of the 40 oz. and a good time, before. Now it’s just the home of the over crowded.
Price range- $$
Staff- 3 (only because of the waitress)