My friend Julie really likes dive bars, you could say, more than the average bear. When she walks into a dive with character that impresses her low-maintenance list of must-haves her eyes widen and she makes ohh-ahh sounds. This happened when we descended a stone staircase with an iron rail into a covered grotto sort of entryway where the underground doorway of Bricks was hidden. Inside, the bar was maybe ten stools long, made of black bricks and mortar. There were four tables opposite the bar against a natural exposed brick wall with carved window holes that opened to the other room of the small restaurant. Julie was gushing in a silent sort of way and after about twenty minutes, it was rubbing off on me. This place really did have true character.
One half price bottle of Pinot Noir complimented our pocketbooks and our meal. Flavors on both the house salad (Julz) and the spinach salad with bacon (and tomatoes instead of eggs) were exquisite. The pizza was timed perfectly, coming out in a nice lull after we’d polished off each of our salads. A delightful Hispanic lady was refilling our waters like it was her job (which, it probably was) and our waitress, who was very pregnant was filling us in on the short history of the place and surrounding venues.
We were able to get a medium pizza with half of two varieties. The bricklayer was artichoke spread, red peppers, cilantro and mozz. It was tasty, but the flavors were pretty mild all around. The peppers were the most bold flavor on this side of things and I might have preferred the artichoke the be more dominant. The other side was a heat-something-or-other clever title but we took the “heat” off by getting it without jalepenos. Barbeque chicken, bacon, and gouda are the ingredients I remember. The chicken was delish, the BBQ sauce, a bit sweet, but I didn’t taste the smoked gouda as much as I wanted to. We wondered if the jalapeno flavors actually would’ve fit well on this half, and were happy we didn’t order them.
The atmosphere is what sold me on this place. Chicago is a city that’s known for its pizza, let’s be honest. I am a lover of the deep dish, even in light of the billboard on Wells that says, “Deep dish pizza is an imposter. If you can’t pick it up, it’s not a slice of pizza.” Or something like that. I’ve had better thin crust, but not at a more ambient, underground location.
Bricks is a GO, even if you just get salad and drinks.