As I told you a couple weeks ago, I’ve been logging a bunch of hours at the Skylark. Before I started working the door there early this year, I’d been a customer since the place opened in 2003. Of course it has been a bar of one kind or another much longerĀ as my friend Paul Durica will tell you.

One of the great pleasures of the place is how dark it is inside. In a proper tavern it should always be night, to my way of thinking. The absence of TV screens gives the room a calm which is rare in the city’s drinking establishments. The low light leaves you to your own thoughts as well as encouraging an interest in the few objects which are illuminated here, like the Odd Fellows banners above the bar or the old stopped Schlitz clock in the corner.

From my post at the door, I can look back over the booths, towards the back of the room. I often see women come in alone or in groups and they’re rarely harassed or bothered; it’s one of the hallmarks of the place. I have yet to have to break up a fight here or even raise my voice when asking folks to leave at the end of the night.

I think back on all the people I’ve known who’ve worked here: Nora, Kevin, Eric, Nick, Dan-O, Andy, and others. There’s also a tie to Leo’s Lunchroom in Ukrainian Village. Having Sheila and Phyllis and Derek here (as well as some of the old specials on the menu board) makes me feel at home, without having to go back to Ukrainian Village and witness the unholy shitshow it’s become. I guess this has all been a long-winded way of explaining I like the place and am happy I work there. Walking home down Halsted with the dishwasher last week, he asked me to show him the painting I was carrying. He looked at it a few seconds, then said, “Wow. That’s how it felt from back in the kitchen.”

It was probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten.