The Loon is a drinker's bar. Walk in at noon and there will already be a handful of barflies perched on stools and muscling their way through their first stiff drinks -- some may even be on their second. A guy to my right during a recent visit pulled a scratch-off lottery ticket from his pocket as he ordered a double vodka cranberry in a pint glass. Vices seldom work alone.
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It was more than a year ago that I first encountered the bar. Uptown's quintessential dive has a reputation for a heavy handed pour, but I knew nothing about their boozy drinks back then. I was just hoping to find some decent bar food, but a few cocktails later later I couldn't see straight. I think I was even a little late for work the next day.
If you want to walk out of The Loon with your senses, you'll have to eat something while you imbibe, but the sandwiches and pizza have always left me wanting. When I finally stumbled upon the tacos fritos over the Christmas holiday I knew I found the right bar snack.
They don't look like much, but they're delicious. The outer shell is a little oily but very light and crisp. A cook in the back uses three toothpicks to pinch the tortilla tightly shut and keep as much oil out of the taco filling as possible. Inside, you'll find spicy ground beef or lightly spiced pulled chicken. Place an order with a combination of the meats and pick out your favorite -- they're both quite good.
Had I found these tacos during my first visit to this bar, I might have walked out the door with a little more grace. And I probably would have come back sooner, too.