The surroundings and ambiance of the Tilted Kilt are largely irrelevant as the almost entirely male patronage of this classy joint on Jewelers Row in the Loop have their eyes fixed on one of two things: the buxom waitresses that bound around the bar with all and sundry on show as part of their tartan-sprawled, underwear-based uniform or one of the countless televisions that occupy every corner of the expansive bar showing the latest sporting fixture. The relative authenticity of the intended Scottish nature of the bar is unlikely to occur to them as they chug down their bottles of Miller Lite. For what it’s worth, this is an American sports bar with Hooters-style objectification of women that are dressed in an American man’s idea of what a sexy Scottish woman probably looks like.
Besides the name and the get-up of the servers at the Tilted Kilt, you would be hard-pressed to find any other connection to Britain. Having a “Big Arse” burger is just nonsensical, whilst the revolting-sounding “Beer Cocktails” with titles such as “Paddy Bomb” and “Belfast Boom” are a little too close to the bone, trivializing a very dark time in the history of the UK that still has reverberations today. Anyway, drinking Southern Comfort, Amaretto, orange juice and beer together in a glass sounds like a waking nightmare. The inane sense of humor and awful drink concoctions of The Tilted Kilt match its crass premise.
This particular location of the fifty-odd Tilted Kilt establishments in America has been shrouded with controversy over alleged sexual harassment by the management toward the female staff and the subsequent indifference to the issue by the company’s CEO and higher-up administration. The manager was alleged to make unwanted advances, shoot water down the staff’s uniform with a straw and lick at least one member of staff’s ear, as well as discussing explicit pornography with the customers loudly. It’s not a business that endears itself to being financially supported. (Ben Small)
Tilted Kilt, 17 North Wabash, 2nd floor, (312)269-5580.