Bike Parking Hall of Shame: How Does Your Neighborhood Tavern Stack Up?

As I was riding around the city a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I rode by a neighborhood tavern and caught sight of their attempt at bike parking. Schoolyard Tavern on Southport – a bike-friendly street with bike lanes- had this ineffective grill rack out front.  It was situated so that if I locked my bike to the end it would block the entrance to the bar. And then of course, there was all the snow around it. The snow in this case though wasn’t a huge barrier to parking a bike. The style of rack and the placement of the rack were more problematic.

Bike parking at the Schoolyard Tavern

Bike parking at the Schoolyard Tavern & Grill in Lake View

The use of this grill rack was even more puzzling since The Schoolyard Tavern is part of the Four Corners Tavern Group – a company that operates eight taverns around Chicago, and at least one of them, The Kirkwood, over on Sheffield, has excellent bike parking. You’ll note 4 bike racks out front, that are generally full on a Saturday afternoon (This picture was taken on a weekday morning).  I’m sure these are city-installed bike racks that the owners requested the city to install as part of the Chicago Bike Rack program. While individuals can request bike racks be installed throughout the city, CDOT also asks businesses or community groups to contact them directly as CDOT offers free assistance to businesses inquiring about the installation of bike racks. Why don’t the other taverns in this group have as excellent bike parking facilities as the Kirkwood?

The Kirkwood Bar & Grill  - bike parking

Bike Parking in front of the Kirkwood Bar & Grill in Lake View

Once I took these pictures, I started noticing bike parking in front of some of my favorite neighborhood joints as well as in front of some that I ride by every now and then. I will tell you that I was pleasantly surprised to see city-installed U-racks in front of all these classic and not-so-classic Chicago watering holes.

Bar Deville on Damen Avenue in Ukrainian Village/West Town

Bike parking in front of Bar Deville in Ukrainian Village

Odge’s on Dame Avenue in Ukrainian Village

(not a bar, but ya gotta love it. My guys love riding their bikes to Odge’s for hotdogs)

Bike parking in front of Odge's in Ukrainian Village

The Bird’s Nest Bar on Southport, in Lake View

(Like the Kirkwood, it is a Nebraska Cornhusker football watch bar. Ask me how I know this.)

Bike parking in front of the Bird's Nest Bar in Lakeview

The Map Room Tavern on Armitage Avenue, in Bucktown

Bike parking in front of the Map Room Tavern in Bucktown


Sheffield, Wrightwood, and Lincoln Avenues in Lincoln Park

Lou Malnati’s, The Grand Central, and Etno Village Grill

Bike Parking in front of The Grand Central & Lou Malnati's in Lincoln Park

Bike Parking in front of The Grand Central & Lou Malnati’s in Lincoln Park

Bike parking at the liquor store across from The Grand Central, in Lincoln Park

Bike parking at the liquor store across from The Grand Central, in Lincoln Park

Bike parking at Etno Village Grill in Lincoln Park

Bike parking at Etno Village Grill in Lincoln Park

The Rainbo Club on Damen Avenue, in Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village

Bike parking out front of the Rainbo Club in Ukrainian Village

What’s your favorite corner tavern in Chicago? How’s the bike parking? Send me suggestions and/or pictures and I’ll do a “Neigborhood Taverns Pt. 2” post!  If you own or run a neighborhood tavern and don’t want to end up singled out here for your lack of good bike parking, check out the links on my Bike Parking Hall of Shame landing page. The city provides a lot of information and offers free consulting to businesses who need to install bike parking for their customers.  Please take a look at the best practices link as well, which has great information about the right kinds of bike racks to install (NOT grill racks) and the correct placement of bike racks in relation to the entrance of an establishment.

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