Thanks to its proximity to both the Steppenwolf Theatre (which is right down the street) and Second City (which is directly across the street), the Old Town Ale House has long been a favored haunt of Chicago’s theater and comedy communities, a place where visiting celebrities can go and enjoy the relaxing ambience of a bar where everybody knows their name, but doesn’t give enough of a shit to bother them about it. Also, they have a nude portrait of Sarah Palin above the bar.
That’s where The Shape Of Water’s Michael Shannon watched the Oscars on Sunday night, with a drink in hand and the TV on mute as his director, Guillermo Del Toro, and his co-stars came up onstage to accept the Oscar for Best Picture. Shannon, who usually lives in Brooklyn, isn’t opposed to the Oscars, necessarily—he attended last year, when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Nocturnal Animals—but is currently in Chicago directing a production of Brett Neveu’s Traitor at A Red Orchid Theatre, a two-minute walk from the Old Town Ale House. The play closed on Sunday night. Shannon’s been a member of A Red Orchid since its inception in 1993, and remains dedicated to the ensemble that got him his start, coming back regularly to appear in and direct plays there.
He’s also growing out a rather luxurious ’stache, as careful inspection of the below photo—posted on Twitter last night by Bruce Elliott, owner of the Old Town Ale House and the painter behind the portraits that line the walls of the bar—reveals.