A few months ago, I wrote about my favorite bar in Chicago – Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar, but I don’t think my post did them justice. I am definitely not the bar-going type at all, but the more I come to this place, the more I fall in love with it. Every time I go there, something new captivates me about this dingy establishment at 31st and Morgan. It seems like Maria’s is a meeting place of the counterculture, but not so much hipsters. Where else in the city can you find a bar with 500 beers? Even if you aren’t a fan of beer, they make the best mixed drinks in the city, and most of them were invented at Maria’s. Every night of the week, either a DJ or band performs live in the tiny, cramped indoor area.
One of my favorite days to go there is Monday. Every Monday they have a Korean Polish BBQ… FOR FREE! Just walk right in, grab a beer, then head out to the patio area for smoked kielbasa, kimchi, spiced pickles, potato salad, chips, cole slaw, and whatever other random stuff they may have that particular week. The food is phenominal, and they don’t charge a penny. Every saturday, anywhere from 2-5 food trucks also gather in Maria’s parking lot from 6-9pm. The south side is severely under-served by Chicago’s food trucks, but Maria’s set themselves up as a gathering point on weekends. Aside from the trucks, they also sometimes have random food stands too. Just last weekend they had a cevapcici stand outside, and it was the best cevapcici I have ever had.
When business gets slow for the food trucks, they all have a few beers and socialize with each other. Food truck vendors that aren’t even working at the time will still gather at Maria’s because it’s just that damn cool. I should also point out in this picture.. La Adelita and Tamale Spaceship together? Add Bridgeport Pasty to that mixture and I am in heaven! Even some of Chicago’s most prominent food and cultural figures gather here like Chuck Sudo, Editor-in-Chief of The Chicagoist, or Food Truck Freak, the guy who runs the mobile app for tracking food trucks. I have never brought anyone to this bar that didn’t fall instantly in love with it. Best part is, you don’t have to deal with obnoxious drunk douchebags just looking to get laid like you do with most bars.
I think Toby Keith took the words right out of my mouth with this song… I love this bar (although the song in no way describes the atmosphere or patrons at Maria’s).