Tag Archives: Food & Drink



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

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

SoOoOoOo Chicago: A Totally Cliche Night in ANDERSONVILLE

Hopleaf. Mussels and brews

A few blocks west of the Berwyn CTA stop, you can have yourself a totally hip-in-the-yuppie-sense kind of night in the adorable neighborhood of Andersonville (which, is still technically kind of Uptown, but it’s cooler to call it Andersonville).  A great one-two punch is dinner and drinks at Hopleaf followed by the Saturday evening performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the Neofuturarium.

Hopleaf has two bars, and a zillion beers.  It’s cash-only at the tapless upstairs bar, but usually less crowded than the larger bar on the lower level.  For my money at a Belgian gastro, it’s got to be either Corsendonk Brown or the Maredsous 8, but at a bar like Hopleaf, it’s easy to try something new.  Don’t order a freaking Leffe.  That’s all I ask.  Splitting the Moules Mariniere and a side of frites is totally acceptable, and will only cost you 11 bucks each if you’re going Dutch.

After dinner, a little bit full of hops, head a few blocks to the Neofuturarium to catch the long running TMLMTBGB–or, 30 plays in 60 minutes.  Every show, the ensemble cast of TMLMTBGB attempts to preform 30 plays in one hour.  They write, produce, and perform all of these short plays (which last anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes).  There are lots of wacky rules and unsettling invasions of your personal space, and it’s all a great deal of fun.   Shows run at 11:30 on Friday and Saturday nights, but it’s not unusual for folks to start queuing up at around 10:30.  Make sure that you’ve got your Hopleaf beer jacket on as we get close to the winter months.

Warmed by the slightly schlocky performance, head back to Hopleaf afterward and stay till 3.  You’re in luck (or trouble) because Hopleaf is a 3 AM bar.  Take the Red Line back down south and catch the free UChicago shuttle back to Hyde Park at the Roosevelt stop.  The last bus leaves at 4:00 AM for HP.  See more information here.

Kuma’s Corner “I’ll take the check and a bypass, please”

Dare you to finish.

Say what you will about the lines at Kuma’s Corner.  If you go on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday around actual dinner hour, chances are you will be waiting an hour or possibly more (especially if you want to sit out on the patio).  But go early (say, around 5) on a Wednesday and have a beer at the bar first.  Or, if it’s a cold afternoon, you might want a whisky, which they have ON TAP (contain yourself though, there’s a lot of eating to be done).  Bottom line, if you get there early for dinner, you’ll be able to sit down without much of a problem at all.  Lunch is murder.  I say don’t even attempt it.

And why go in the first place?  This heavy metal-themed spot in Avondale serves up arguably the best burgers in town.  Usually, I am opposed with the force of religious conviction to the idea of complicated burgers.  Give me something with lettuce, tomato, onion, and ketchup, and I’ll be good to go.

But that’s because accouterments are expected to mask a sub-par burger.  If your friend is mixing chopped onions and tomatoes into ground meat, chances are she is afraid to let the burger stand on its own.  The thinking is often: if you can put enough sh*t on the plate, people will forget what the beef is actually supposed to taste like. Continue reading

What the Natives Drink

Social Hour every Friday in fall is a great way to avoid getting started on a weekend full of work, but sometimes a body gets tired of drinking High Life (I know, perish the thought).  In other words, you might consider heading over to Kimbark Beverages or Binny’s (where, incidentally, August is “Midwest Craft Brew Month” [!!!]) to pick up some of the Midbest’s finest beers.

But alternatively, if you’re not some kind of rockafella, you can stick to these tried and true  nectars of true Midwesterners.  I’m talking of course, about the best canned beer this great nation of ours has to offer.  There’s a time and a place for delicious and expensive Spotted Cow, Two Brothers, Three Floyds’, and certain kinds of 312 (I’m partial to the Honker’s Ale, and on nights for celebrations, Matilda).  I’m not incredibly partial to Great Lakes Brewery (Ohio, please–though I do have to say Quitness Ale is one of the funniest sports-related beverages in history).

NB: I’m missing SO many here.  I’m from New York, after all.  We know nothing of cans.  Comment on some of your favorite “old man beers”–we all want to try more.

Old Style: The Shield of Chicago

If I ever see you drinking Old Style out of a glass, we’re no longer friends.

Baltimore may have Natty Bo, “a beer best consumed by the case”  (as described to me by a 45-year-old divorcee who subsequently, and with a straight face, lamented that he couldn’t imagine where his marriage had gone wrong), but Chicago produced its own magical lager in 1902 when the Pabst Brewing Company introduced Old Style.  That’s right, hipsters.  When you’re scoffing at Old Style drinkers as you swill your PBR, you’re just scoffing at yourself, and usually paying more.

Feel that?  It’s egg.  All over your face.

Do Chicago a favor and have an Old Style as soon as you arrive.  As of 2009, taking a cue from its cousin and arch-rival Schlitz “The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous,” (after the jump) Old Style had returned to an older formula.  And I say Amen.

Why drink it?: Because you live in Chicago, want to drink local, and have no money.  Because there’s a sign for Old Style on every blue collar bar in Bucktown and you can’t resist.  Because it tastes just good enough.  Because you earned it, but just barely.

Where to drink it: Bear’s games, The Cove, Lincoln Park flip cup tournaments, your drab university studio apartment staving off apocalyptic loneliness and horror,  in Regenstein when you’re trying to read Lacan, out of a brown paper bag at The Point, anywhere. Continue reading

And in case you’re thirsty…

Phil here, the mentor in the purple shirt in that photo of the three of us; I’m the one in the middle.

I’m just popping into let anyone who’s already here know about the best place to drink in Hyde Park if you’re new in town and not yet equipped with a Student ID, namely, Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap at 1172 E 55th Street (and Woodlawn Ave).  Jimmy’s is the perfect mix of a student and a local bar: comfortable environment, friendly people, $2.50 pints of Miller Light, cheap bar food until midnight, and the music isn’t too loud to have a conversation.

There’s also The Pub if you’re willing to pay 3 big ones at the door.  The Pub is the official student bar for the U of C, located on campus in Ida Noyes Hall, at 1212 E. 59th Street, on the Lower Level.  When you get your Student ID you can pay $10 for the year and never worry about the cover again.

Finally, AJ wouldn’t let me get away with failing to mention The Cove, located at 1750 E 55th St (between Everett Ave & South Shore Dr).  The Cove, AJ’s favorite bar in Hyde Park, is a well lit establishment frequented by locals and stocked with two electronic dart boards.  It’s fairly cheap, fairly friendly, and a great place to watch any sport that happens to be on at the moment given its several TV screens.

Looking to drink-in?  Check out Hyde Park Liquors located in the Kimbark Plaza at 1214 E 53rd St (between Woodlawn Ave & Kimbark Ave).  This place is cheap and huge.  That’s basically all there is to say about it.

Please drink responsibly!


You’re in Hyde Park!…now what?

Winter?  Please.  Right now, it seems a thousand years away.  Hyde Park in summer is about as sweet as neighborhoods in Chicago get.  During the day, there’s plenty to keep you busy, and at night either check out one of the few local restaurants and hangouts, or hop the Metra or #6 Bus up north (it will get a bit harder to justify escaping for the evening as work heats up and the temperatures plummet this fall).

Here are some basics to keep you busy in Hyde Park as you rest up before the year starts.  And set a bookmark for Hyde Park Progress to get info on cool festivals and events in HP that you won’t have time to attend.

The Point, as viewed from the MAPH Helicopter

1) Promontory Point: The 57th Street Beach can get a little crowded, so head over to the north side of “The Point” to check out MAPH Beach–unofficial meeting place of the unofficial “MAPH Swimming, Diving, and Sunbathing Team” (Season: May-June, tryouts in December). New Yorkers, get ready for a shock: you can swim in the water in Chicago.  The Lake will be at its warmest between mid-August and mid-September, so jump in before Core starts.

There will be a post on vegan options soon….

2) Cafe Valois: Chicago is a breakfast town, and Hyde Park has its very own breakfast gem in “Val-OYS” (Francophones beware, say Val-WAH and you’re likely to get some angry looks as you eat your delicious pancakes).  Keep the line moving: Valois is an old-school cafeteria-style restaurant.  A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with coffee will set you back no more than $4.00.  Bypass surgery charge covered by your University of Chicago Student Health Plan. Continue reading