Tag Archives: Escaping from Hyde Park

Use that Student Loan “Living Expenses” Money

Bring Wine to HB. Stay for Dinner

What recession? You’re flush with loan money (aka Play Money….aka money that you’ll have to be careful with and keep safe and spend on books).

Or, well, for now, you’re new to town, and can use your green status as an excuse so treat yourself to (just one, you swear) really fantastic meal before the whirlwind starts up. Chicago is up there with New York and San Francisco when it comes to gustatory delights. And if you think it’s a steakhouse-only town, here are some places that will disabuse you of this rumor. These places won’t break the bank wide open (and if you’re interested in Alinea, Charlie Trotter, L2O, or any of the others, you might start trying to get reservations now…).

Rather, these places are more than delicious for the price of entry.

1) HB: Up in Lakeview, chef and owner Joncarl Lochman puts together a menu of wildly different flavors and ingredients that are locally sourced. HB offers a contemporary take on comfort food, and it’s one of two BYO’s on my list. Prices are really, really reasonable for both the portions and the quality of the food. You never feel rushed either–but make a reservation if you can. (Wallet impact with wine: Pricey / Without wine: downright reasonable)

If you’re stumped on wine, hop across the street to The Gourmet Grape and pick up a bottle. Here are some recommendations of some CA wines they have on offer:

  • Merlot: 2005 Duckhorn, Napa (expensive, but really delicious: $57)
  • Zinfandel: 2006 Trentadue, Sonoma (moderate: $17)
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 2007 Trinitas, Napa (moderate $18)

(More guilt-inducing indulgences after the jump…) Continue reading

Get your Classical Music On.

French horns are for girls.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra is located a quick Metra ride from Hyde Park (get off at Van Buren Street) on Michigan Avenue. Supposedly Ricardo Muti, who was hired as Musical Director after epic, NFL Lockout-like negotiations last year, went on to spend nearly the entire season convalescing (17th Century Style) in the Alps for what seems to have been a mysterious illness (post-contract fatigue. See also ADAM DUNN but HOLY GOD Don’t get me started). Get student rush tickets after the jump… Continue reading

Milwaukee Ave Coffee Shops

Just the mention of Bridgeport Coffee Company got me thinking about my favorite places to get a caffeine fix in Chicago–a city awash in coffee. Four of my top choices are on Milwaukee Avenue. For anyone new to Chicago, Milwaukee Ave is a great way to get an introduction via bike ride / walk / El to Chicago’s Northwest Side. It’s the main artery: a street known for heavy bike traffic, vintage stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Over the past 20 years, the effects of gentrification (there it is: the g-word) have marched up Milwaukee Ave.

Perhaps more pertinent for new students and alums alike, the neighborhoods along this major diagonal artery (East Village [or, more recently according to silly apartment rental sites: Noble Square], Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square) are heavily populated by graduates of MAPH. You’ll find them busily at work at Lovely Bakery, Filter, Wormhole, and Cafe Mustache. (For natives: obviously, there are others on the list to be sure. Some, I don’t know well enough to comment on, so feel free to chime in. Others, namely New Wave Coffee, just make me sad. You could be so great New Wave. Why do you suck so much) Tour de Caffeine, after the jump…

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I smell hipsters. (And coffee).

Perhaps best known as the home base of the Daly dynasty (you know, the American Pharaohs), Bridgeport is a small and eclectic neighborhood on the near South Side (though it’s only an 8 minute drive from Hyde Park, it takes about an hour to get there via public transit. Trust me. I know). For one reason or another, its residents fiercely defend the distinctiveness of the neighborhood. The local Assembly of God has gone as far as to make their own custom “Bridgeportopoly” which you can buy or win as a prize at Bernice’s Tavern (see below). Continue reading

GET OUT OF HYDE PARK (An annual exhortation)

This really doesn’t happen…that…often

This is a public service announcement; an advisory; an exhortation to get into the habit now if you’re already here: there is a much wider city beyond Hyde Park. And you need to see it.

So: welcome to Hyde Park!!!

Now get out of here already.

First off, everything you need to know about cabs, buses, trains, and horse/carriages to get yourself up to town is at this link. Get on public transit. Get on a bike. Walk if you have to. You can even swim. Just don’t swim if there’s a swim ban. How do you check if there’s a swim ban? Check here. (More activities after the jump): Continue reading

SOooOoooOOOOOOoOO Chicago: A totally cliche night in LINCOLN SQUARE

Worth the hike

Lincoln Square feels like a cheerful little Chicago suburb.  That’s kind of what it is.  There’s no doubt that it’s pretty f’n far from everything, but a long escape from Hyde Park never hurt anyone. Lincoln Square used to be home to a big German immigrant population.  A few brauhauses still dot the neighborhood, and you’ll find one of the city’s largest Christkindl markets there in December.  In all,

Here’s a pretty generic evening to increase the happiness in your life.

A movie at The Davis Theatre: Shows before 6 PM are a paltry $5.50, and though the screens might cut off part of the frame (picture quality was sacrificed in exchange for more capacity a few years back), the seats are warmly worn and the crowd is friendly.

Dinner at The Grafton: A pub just down the street, The Grafton caters to local clientele and serves basic pub fare.  The selection of whiskey and the warm, dark ambience are perfect for the “relentless” part of winter.  You know, when it’s still cold and windy and rainy, and all you want is for the days to get longer.

Drinks at Huttenbar: It’s a German part of town.  Go grab a pilsnerbier and be merry.  Just be sure to only use one hand when you’re drinking.  Germans apparently don’t like it when you grasp a mug with two hands.  Don’t ask how I know this.  I just.  Do.

Getting There: Take the brown line forever.  (Just kidding, get off at Damen or Western on the Brown.  It can take as little as 45 minutes to get up there if you time the transfer from Millennium or the Bus the right way).  Keep in mind that your tour directors (mentors) are always able to talk about things up north to do to keep you sane…

SOOooOOOOoOOoooOO Chicago: A Totally Cliche Outing in Logan Square

Get there before he does.

It’s no secret anymore.  Or maybe it never was a secret.  In any case, everyone knows about Logan Square now.  But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get out there for a night on the town before every beardo in Chicago takes his be-tighted date to Longman and Eagle (which, btw, got a MICHELIN F*CKING STAR) for ironic PBR’s.  Sure, the Red Eye just did a huge profile of this exploding neighborhood.  I still insist: you don’t need to head south to Humboldt Park yet to have a totally, like, authentic Chicago outing.  Here’s what you can do in Logan Square that they didn’t talk about:

“Work from Home” – Or from New Wave Coffee, whichever you’re closer to.  New Wave has a hugely open space and is the rough equivalent of the neighborhood’s lower-key version of Wicker Park’s Filter.  If you want a smaller venue, Cafe Mustache opened more recently and is getting great reviews from totally legit Yelpers…

“I’m like, kind of an aspiring audiophile” – Retro tech is obviously now mainstream (the music industry grew in only one category last year: vinyl sales).  So head over to Saki to and take some Instagrams of yourself buying the new Black Keys pressing, you hipster. Continue reading

Winter Breaks

So you are finally done with all your papers and want a cheap way to reward yourself before heading home, or you planned your winter travel badly and have a week to kill before you go home. Either way, it is a great opportunity to bundle up and see some of Chicago’s winter sights.

Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

See the full list after the jump. . . Continue reading