When it comes to hip bars and restaurants, what’s old usually becomes new again. People line up outside tiki bars to slurp rum punch from kitschy mugs vaguely fashioned after Polynesian idols. Midcentury modern dive bars are classy anew, slinging cheap beer over vinyl floors and (sometimes) handsome wood detailing. So why not a ’70s fern bar?
Building off the runaway success of previous ventures Scofflaw—a speakeasy-era gin bar with fantastic food—and dance dive Slippery Slope, the team behind The Heavy Feather dusted off the concept of the fern bar for their newest venture in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. The new bar, which opened in July, is upstairs from Slippery Slope, which since its opening last year has been drawing crowds from across the city for its DJs and spill-proof cocktails in plastic bottles. The Heavy Feather offers a more laid-back vibe, owing to its greenery, boxy glass lighting fixtures, and era-appropriate jams and drinks (boozy shakes, anyone?).
To the bar’s credit it’s a somewhat subdued throwback to the yuppie fern bars of old—you won’t have to brush through the jungle or duck under dangling Tiffany-style lights to get a drink. Some retro touches are functional, too: Rolling, blue leather desk chairs line the bar and add to the coziness of the upstairs retreat. You just have to get there before the cab-borne weekend crowds arrive if you want to snag one.