So, for those of us keeping track of the seasons it’s the third week of April… and the first day of spring was approximately a month ago. It snowed two days ago. The polar vortex is really testing my patience, however don’t fret my fellow Chicagoans there are enough dive bars, breweries, and dance clubs to get you through until summer decides to happen! (I think spring might have forfeit). Though I feel that I should make a note to explain something in regards to 20-somethings and their obsessions with the coolest bar, or best brunch spot, or my opinion on this phenomena because my mother was “concerned” about the comment I made about drinking and eating being my only activities in the winter time. Dis is for you mama.
First and foremost, that statement was hyperbolic, I obviously do many other things than eat and drink. I read, I take classes, I go to the gym, I Skype with my parents, and more than any of these things, I work. Now here’s where I get whiney. For those who have adjusted to adult life (including activities like: going to work every day, paying your own bills, scheduling your own doctors, dentist, hair, nail appointments, etc.) balancing it all is seemingly effortless. If you haven’t been doing these things for 20+ years of your life (those of us who spent college living on campus all 4 years with dorms and cafeterias seem especially to struggle) getting a handle on the most mundane of tasks can be hard. I digress. My point is, after working at a job that, though I like, I’m not super passionate about, and double-triple checking that I’ve paid all my bills on time and haven’t missed some appointment I’m sure I did miss, all I want to do at the end of the week is sit down in a cool place with my friends and enjoy some delicious food and drank, and shit talk about celebrities, tell funny office stories, and just CHILL (maybe occasionally get lowkeyturnt and dance our faces off).
So mom, dad, while I have lots of interests and consider myself a lovely, well-rounded, intellectual, young woman, I’m not spending Friday nights at the museum (unless it’s After Dark at AI… then I might be).
Bars-Bars-Bars: Obviously Chicago has 2 billion bars, and I haven’t even made a dent into the list of awesome ones, but here’s a list of just a few I especially loved. So while we wait on the edge of our seats for all the beer gardens, rooftops, beaches, and patios to open, check out some of my favorite spots!
- DryHop Brewers – Lake View: This place is such a little gem, it’s a brewery and kitchen with a real grassroots feel, amazing (hop-centric) beer, and delectable food that pairs perfectly with their brew! On top of it all it’s actually reasonably priced, and you can take growlers of the beer to go. It can get a little crowded and well, warm… which is perfect for a chilly “spring” night.
- Wrightwood Tap – Lincoln Park: Wrightwood is a great little neighborhood bar with weekly drink specials, bros adorned in plaid, friendly bartenders, and popcorn. If you’re just looking to grab a casual drink, somewhere that’s comfy and cozy, this is your place.
- Three Dots and a Dash – Near North Side: I would probably love this place even more if I didn’t have to stand in line outside in an alley by some trash cans for 30 minutes in the dead of winter (the people in the V.I.P. line have got things figured out) the first time I went. Once you’re inside though, you’re transported to a Hawaiian paradise. What I love most about this bar is it’s totally committed to its theme. The lights, the decor, and especially the drinks, are tiki-rific! Sorry I’m feeling corny today. Though the music isn’t island-themed, it’s good to do some light grooving to.
- The Bedford – Wicker Park: To be honest… I wasn’t particularly impressed with the crowd or drinks at The Bedford, typical swanky atmosphere, neither bad nor good, however the setting itself is cool it’s worth checking out. The Bedford was originally an old bank, but instead of tearing it down, they turned the vault into a lounge. I like to think on the things that were once in all the little gold safety deposit boxes, the people who stored them, and for that reason alone I’ll probably return (plus on Thursdays bubbly is half off).
- R & M Champagne Salon – Near West Side: I had never ventured out much to the “Near West Side” or West Loop until my wonderful roommate took me out for my birthday! We started off at this champagne salon, hidden off a side street, down a cobble-stone alley, that transports you to a little piece of French heaven in the heart of Chicago. It’s so quaint inside I thought I might die and I dream of the day that our apartment some day replicates the innermost room of the salon. It’s a little on the spendy side, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. It’s super romantic, so if you have some kind of special date or anniversary coming up – GO HERE. After we explored the West Loop a little further and I can’t wait to do it more this summer.
- Beauty Bar – “Noble Square”: I’m not quite sure what Noble Square is, but that’s apparently the section of Chicago where Beauty Bar is located… it’s kind of random, I’m not going to lie to you nice people. The bar kind of looks like a combination between your typical dive bar and your grandma’s salon. I love it though. It has themed dance parties (aka 90’s night) and there’s always a fun vibe. If you’re looking to get down, check out Beauty Bar’s weekly events.
Other, for my mother: As I said earlier, I do other things in that winter than eat and drink, but when the PV is descending on Chicago I don’t want to do too many things that leave me outside for more than 10 minutes. Of these ‘other’ activities (like going to shows which I mentioned in part 1) one of my favorites was going to a Bulls game. Simple as that! If you can find cheap tickets to any sporting events in Chicago, go for it. It makes you feel like I real Chicago-person.
Looking forward: Aside from being delirious every time I imagine going to the beach, there are some places and neighborhoods I can’t wait to explore this spring. I feel that when it’s so cold you can barely function, it’s harder to go places you’re less familiar with because if you don’t like it, you have to go back outside, and sometimes it can be a struggle just finding the place. But that’s all over now my friends (or almost). At the top of my list are Logan Square and Beercades. Now I understand these are very vague and not really related, but I’m constantly hearing about both. I pass Headquarters Beercade on a regular basis, and for whatever reason never been in – I’m determined to change that promptly. And literally everyone is always talking about how amazing Logan Square is, it’s like Narnia for hipsters or something. I feel that I must go. Well. I’m sleepy now. So it must end.
Stay frisky Chicago
Arty the Alien