Credit: Kamil Kwiatkowski

Going to Alice’s Lounge in Avondale always seems like a pretty good idea. It’s close to my house, the bartender—also the bar’s owner and namesake—is a sweetheart, and the endearingly gruff Fred Wood hosts karaoke (while you shine like the diamond you are, he pretends to play a cardboard guitar or plastic saxophone behind you). The problem is that you won’t be the only one singing. Half of Lakeview will have migrated west for the evening, ready to warble Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” into the microphone or spill draft beer on your shoes. So when you start questioning why you went in the first place—because you’re “too old for this shit”—keep in mind that there’s an extremely chill, quiet alternative just a couple blocks west on Belmont called Edelweiss Tavern. It’s got all of Alice’s eastern-European appeal, but with a somewhat older, more laid-back crowd and a pool table. (For a while Edelweiss hosted karaoke too, but the management apparently decided to leave that noise to its nearby neighbor.) It’s a dive, but it isn’t gross. And you’ll enjoy the silence.