For some reason I always overlooked this place on my way to Resi's Bierstube, which is practically right across the street. I think I've found a new home for German beer slurping, at least during the winter months when the biergarten at Resi's is closed.
It was uncrowded when I went on a Thursday night at 11pm. The kitchen was closed by then, which is too bad because the lingering aromas suggested they had just finished serving up some tasty stuff. The atmosphere is somewhere between Resi's drop-ceiling dinginess and Chicago Brauhaus's Disneyesque Hans-and-Franz "Bavarian-ness." There are a few steins and some pseudo-European decor but it doesn't shout "Look how German we are!" from floor to ceiling like Brauhaus does. Perhaps the best part of the atmosphere is the patrons. While the Lincoln Square/North Center's distinctly German character is starting to give way to generic yuppification, a few old-neighborhood holdouts have heretofore refused to give in. Like Resi's and the Brauhaus, Laschet's is a place where you're far more likely to find 40- and 50-something life-long Chicagoans with SNL "Da Bears" accents than 26-year-old oxford-shirt-wearing ad execs who grew up in Iowa but moved to The Big City after college and think fake-loft condos and apple martinis are the essence of urban living. There were also a handful of immigrants when I was there; one from Serbia, one from Poland and one from the Czech Republic. Very interesting mix of patrons here, none of whom have the slightest interest in fruity martinis.
On the whole, the beer selection is about average compared to what you're likely to find in the other German-type bars in the area. It doesn't compare to Resi's but it's more extensive than the Brauhaus. Some 12 taps featured solid German offerings like Jever, Spaten Bavarian lager, Spaten Oktoberfest, Warsteiner, Gosser, BBK Pils, DAB, Weihenstephan hefeweizen, et cetera.
Sometimes I enjoy spending time at yuppie joints. Other times I prefer a more down-to-earth neighborhood feel. When I'm in the mood for the latter, I will certainly head over to Lincoln Square and spend my time at Resi's and now at Laschet's as well. I recommended Laschet's for its modest but solid-quality lineup and its frozen-in-time "old German neighborhood" feel while the rest of the area around it transforms into Yuppieland.