2051 E Madison St, 322-2029
Imagine a mom-and-pop diner with a small bar tucked in the corner. Toss in a metal detector at the door, large signs everywhere explaining the rules (no drugs, EVER!), and super-friendly bartenders who seem to know everyone in the well-lit place, and you've got OSCAR'S II, on Madison.

Oscar's owners are doing much better these days, after finally winning last year's case against the city and the liquor board for trying to shut the club down in the mid-'90s (on shaky drug pretenses). Stop in for a drink--poured strong--and thank the owners for fighting to keep the place open. AMY JENNIGES