Sometimes wildly busy - but deservedly so - the Rock Bottom Brewery is a national chain but its brewmasters are local, and the River North location has an excellent reputation for producing interesting and tasty variants. I had never been to this location before, but on a hot July day in 2008, I stopped in here for a cooling bevy and was pleased with the atmosphere (not too generic) and with the ales that I sampled.
"Serious about our food. Crazy about our beer" is their motto. I won't say anything about the food, but certainly the bartender who served me was knowledgeable about his beers - as well as quite friendly.
Restaurant 22 & Bar Moderne, known by many as Room 22, is a restaurant-turned-nightclub after 11pm on Thursdays to Saturdays. The DJs do a great job playing mostly house and hip hop. The bouncers were cool and didn't reek of attitude like at many other places in the city.
The interior is great - wood floors, dark colors, soft, dim lighting. Drink prices are average. The crowd is, for the most part, friendly, and demographically made up of a majority of 20-somethings and people of mostly Asian and Middle Eastern descent.
I didn't know what to expect going in, but I was impressed when I walked in and had a great time with my friends. Overall, it is a nice relaxing place to go have some drinks. I will definitely be going back.
Dress Code: Many dress to impress but you can get by in jeans. No sneakers.
Konak's is a small bar/restaurant in the heart of Andersonville. The walls are covered with headshots from local Chicago actors. And a lot of Chicago actors pick this spot as their post-show watering hole. And a hole it is for sure. The drinks are cheap and so is the bar food but that's about all it's go going for it. I'm not entirely impressed by the place. (My ex is an actor in town that's how I was introduced to it.) The problem is not that's it's a bit of a pit (my favorite bar in town is) I just don't think it has any personality. They've got a jukebox and a pool table and a semi-cool little couch area with a TV and fishtank (you can't smoke in the couch area) but it's nothing special. There are lots of bars in the area - if you're looking for a theatre hang-out this is the place. But otherwise I'd pass.
Dress Code: Casual. Anything goes here.
Great views depending on the weather. Try to go on a weekday late afternoon - in the weekends the place is packed! Not cheap, but the view is free (or included in the drinks, depending on how you look at it)
Hidden Shamrock, located in the Lake View area on the near north side of Chicago, is a relatively short cab ride from downtown. They have live music most nights of the week but rarely a good Irish band. That's probably the one negative to their live music scene otherwise the bands are fun and lively.
Dress Code: Like most of the bars in Chicago, dress casual and comfortable.
I'm definitely a fan of Lincoln Park, which is an area on the north side near the lake. Here you'll find lots and lots of bars and clubs - too many to have a separate entity for each on here. Personally, the places I've been are John Barleycorn, The Apartment, the Beaumont, and .. I don't remember the rest. Anyway, it's just a good time out. You'll definitely find the 20's crowd here for the most part.
Oh, check out http://www.metromix.com. You can find out the different places here as well as lots going on in Chicago.
If you're patient, you'll drive around for about 30 minutes and look for free street parking on the side streets. If you're impatient, take the El in.
Last visit November 3, 2010
Park West is one of the nicer venues in Chicago to see a concert. There is a small area where people can stand but the majority of the venue is tables and chairs or more comfortable booths, most of which have reserved signs on them. You might want to call the venue if you are interested in a booth, perhaps you can reserve over the phone, there may be an extra charge or they may just be for regulars.
If you are looking for a place to grab a bite near there, Geja's Cafe is on the same block (see my restaurant tips for a review) or there is a place called Zia's which I haven't tried. We ate at RJ Grunt's the last two times we went, just a few blocks away. You're also not too far away from Mon Ami Gabi. Friends recommended Perennial at 1800 N. Lincoln Avenue but we haven't dined there yet.
You can avoid the usurious Ticketmaster fees by going directly to the box office but call 1st and make sure they are open, the 1st time I went there they closed early for the day but it should be open Mon-Fr 10am-5pm or on the day of a show 10am-8:30pm Mon-Fri and
5:30pm-8:30pm Saturday and Sunday. Cash only at the box office.
Dress Code: I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes, certainly jeans and sneakers are allowed
Vintage 338 is a great European wine bar which specializes in Spanish, Italian and French wines. They also serve your favorite hors d'oeuvres (appetizers) that go well with wine: cheese, bread, pate, olives, grapes, nuts and honey. It's a nice place to meet, stop for a glass of wine and relax.
Dress Code: There isn't a dress code here, but it's a nice place, so I would suggest smart-casual or better.
Smart-casual is actually the best way to go to fit in almost anywhere in Chicago!
Head down to Navy Pier during the summer on Wednesday & Saturday nights to view free fireworks with your family! They even have shows through October for Halloween and few in December for Santa's arrival and NYE (check out the schedule listed below).
Fireworks last only about 15 minutes and start at 10:15pm on Saturdays, 9:30pm Wednesdays and holidays (Memorial Day, Labor Day). There is a lovely area in front of the McDonald's on the hill by the Ferris Wheel so if you time it right you can get off the Ferris Wheel and head to the seated area in time to watch the fireworks. Be forewarned, that McDonald's serves only drinks after 10pm and takes only cash.
The other option is to head to the Hancock Building to the Signature Lounge, order up a drink and watch the fireworks from there. Of course, the last time I was in Chicago and attempted this gambit the line was lined out around the corner from the elevator at least an hour long. Since I'd so logically timed it to be 10 MINUTES BEFORE THE FIREWORKS STARTED I knew I wouldn't be getting up there in time to watch those light bursts.
I should've followed my original plan to be upstairs half an hour before sunset so that I could see that and the fireworks later.
Navy Pier is easily accessed via their free Trolley system (easiest access is on Grand Ave across the street at the Red Line Grand station):
Photos: May 23, 2009 (not too bad for cell phone photos, eh?!?)
Dress Code: Casual
The Beer Bistro is an excellent beer-lovers bar in the burgeoning West Loop neighborhood. Not really so many draft beers - only about 8 or 9 - but an excellent selection of bottles from around the neighborhood and around the world. The atmosphere is that of a friendly local neighborhood bar - it's the kind of place where you feel at home your first time there. The Beer Bistro also has a full restaurant menu - as the name suggests.
Worth a detour if you are fan of hops and barley.
10Pin is a fun bowling alley mixed in with a martini lounge. Each lane hosts a screen where music videos are played all night long. For those of us not that good at bowling, the atmosphere was fun and comfortable.
Dress Code: No dress code for bowling, most patrons in the martini lounge were dressed a little more accordingly but not too overdressed.
Well.. Chicago's evening is amazingly beautiful.. if you spend all your evenings in the bars or theaters.. u don't really have to come all the way to Chicago to do it though.. so.. go out and walk around downtown.. u can start from along chicago river.. then turn to michigan ave.. so many beautiful spots to explore!
This is a very special way to spend a great nicht in the Windy City!!!
Acclaimed author and ghost hunter Ursula Bielski and others lead a two-and-a-half hour bus tour of Chicago's most actively haunted sites.
Prices: $30 Per Person / $20 Children 8-12
An old stadium that I believe got its name from the founder of Wrigley's Chewing Gum, this baseball park used to only have day games until the tradition was broke in the the 1980s or so.
Now there are night games here. This is me in front of this lovely neighborhood ball park. From downtown, pay a $1.75 one way and take the Red Line to Addison Station. It was a 7:05PM game and the train was not overly crowded. Upon arrival the park is right there. I love the area in front of Wrigley's, it reminds me of New York's Coney Island only in the middle of a neighborhood.
All around are bars, restaurants and apartments that overlook the stadium. It is very crowded but there's a gentle warmth and friendly peacefulness about it.
I saw a woman standing about and asked her to take a picture of me here and she kindly obliged by taking two "in case one didn't come out right."
This was the June 7th, 2005 game where the Cubs played the Toronto Blue Jays in an interleague series.
The Jays won this game 6-4. While I was inside the stadium, I fell in love with the lush, drunken atmosphere of Cubby fans. It's to me the best party to go to in Chicago whether or not you are a sports fan even.
I had so much fun, I almost forgot the score. It seems that at every Cubs game, they get an early lead which makes everyone happy, and then their lead gradually deteriorates until they lose.
They are the only sports team I know of that is successful with a losing tradition. In the stands are many cute girls drunk and loving and then there are a bunch of single guys upset about the loss, but somehow too drunk to care in the end.
Dress Code: Casual as you can be.
Belmont sybway. When you leave the subway station, turn on the right, cross the street at the light, carry on and then first on the left..and there is a street full of gay bars/lubs/saunas etc etc
I quite liked Roscoe and Little jim which has the repuation of being a bit seedy but i dont think that was the case. It s just a friendly local gay bar.
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