• Ravenswood

Mix things up by making the perfect whiskey cocktail for each other at a distillery

Tour, sip, and mix at the whiskey wonderland that is Koval Distillery with cocktail-making and whiskey-specific classes. Once you’ve successfully passed the boozy course, bottled varieties are available to take home at a discount. Bring your booze to the intimate BYOB Goosefoot.

  • Roscoe Village

Scooter’s Frozen Custard for coconut cream pie concretes. Be sure to check Beat Kitchen’s calendar for upcoming concerts (both national touring acts and local bands play there) as well as Chicago Underground Comedy stand-up shows.

  • Ukrainian Village

Eat unbeatable gnocchi then hopefully conquer many ping-pong victories at a dive bar

For an under-the-radar date night spot (it’s located in a house-turned-restaurant) and unsurpassable gnocchi, try A Tavola, where Chef Dan Bocik also offers two- to three-hour cooking classes on select Mondays of each month. If weather is still warm, al fresco dining at Homestead on the Roof followed by Black Dog Gelato is a top date contender.

  • The Office

There’s no doubt the modern cocktail emporium of the Aviary is a beautiful place. And it's doing things with cocktails that you’ve only imagined in your most hallucinatory of dreams. But what might be even more beautiful than grabbing a seat in Grant Achatz’s sleek den of cocktail reinvention is scoring a seat to its exclusive downstairs speakeasy The Office and losing yourself in its library-chic vibe.

  • Cellar Door Provisions

When the creative mastermind behind Ruxbin and Mott St tells you that Cellar Door Provisions’ airy croissants are on par with the best he’s had in Paris, you know they have to be something special. Aside from loading up on the perfectly flaky pastries, Chef Kim also enjoys the shop's ever-changing, veggie-focused, seasonal menu: “It always leaves you feeling good about yourself and light on your feet.” Ending a brunch without a food coma? Might make for a nice change of pace.

  • Lula Cafe

Given the proximity of Billy Sunday and Yusho to Lula Cafe, it’s no surprise that Logan Square local Matthias Merges frequents Lula for brunch, or that he considers it the best given Lula’s penchant for fresh farm-to-table fare. “Chef Jason Hammel has been on the square for more than 15 years, flying under the radar with the best brunch in the city,” Merges says. “Innovative and consistent, it’s always my number one spot.”

  • Monteverde

Pull up a seat at Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s (Spiaggia) inviting Italian concept and take in the magic that is the pastificio -- an open kitchen where fresh pasta is prepared and hung on drying racks. The functional yet decorative centerpiece speaks to the restaurant’s menu that is so pasta-heavy it’s actually split into sections like “before pasta” (appetizers), “our pasta,” “Italy’s pasta,” and “after pasta” (entrees). Early standouts include cannelloni saltimbocca with prosciutto, lamb, sage, salsamic, and cauliflower béchamel, duck egg corzetti tossed with duck ragu, taggiasca olives, and pecan pesto, and skate wing schnitzel.

  • Queen Mary

An homage to the original tavern owner, Mary Kafka, this highly anticipated tavern from Heisler Hospitality (Pub Royale, Sportsman’s Club) is the first business to open in the former Polish bar since the 1970s. The beverage menu is comprised of 10 cocktails, many of which have maritime-inspired names (think: Nor’easter, Albatross, and The Admiralty), a rotating daily grog, and large-format-style hot tea punch prime for sharing among friends, and more than a few touches, like anchors and ships in bottles, echo a nautical theme throughout the space.

  • Sparrow

The good people behind Bangers & Lace head to the Gold Coast with their latest venture: a rum-centric cocktail bar redolent of the Prohibition era. And while the rum may be flowing freely, don’t expect another Tiki experience; here, the vibe is an intriguing balance of old-timey and cosmopolitan, and the cocktail lineup includes creations like the Hotel Nacional (pineapple rum, pineapple cordial, lime juice, apricot liqueur) and the El Presidente (gold rum, bianco vermouth, Curacao, grenadine).

  • Milk Room

The last component of the Chicago Athletic Association’s bar scene is locked, loaded, and now accepting online reservations through Tock. Backed by mixologist Paul McGee (Lost Lake), the former speakeasy-turned-“micro bar” specializes in rare and vintage spirits, and to drive home its exclusivity factor, seats just eight people.

  • Best Italian: Piccolo Sogno

“Little dream” is right: with its picture-perfect patio and casual-yet-sophisticated dining room, this urban oasis sets the scene for a weekday power lunch, romantic date night, and everything in between. The eats are seasonally driven, rustic, and approachable, while the all-Italian wine list is one of the most thorough and impressive you’ll find in the city. Don’t miss the signature ravioli “Piccolo Sogno,” which features house-made four-cheese-stuffed ravioli tossed with tossed with pine nuts, butter, and Marsala glaze and finished with delicate Parmesan curls or the “sapore” di mare.

  • Best Japanese: Kai Zan

From uni shooters and yakitori-glazed duck skewers to grilled scallop nigiri, you can’t go wrong with anything you order off the menu at this always-packed 22-seater, but the chef’s choice omakase experience is undoubtedly the way to go, provided you’re feeling adventurous. Pro tip: it’s nearly impossible to get in here as a walk-in, so your best bet is to plan ahead with reservations.

  • Rhine Hall Distillery

“Rhine Hall apple brandy [Editor's Note: Which is made with local apples] has a very clean, un-aged eau de vie, with ripe, refreshing flavors of apple and a good amount of bite to it,” says John Stanton, lead bartender from Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago.

  • Garfield Park Conservatory

A funny thing about the Prairie State is that there is actually very little prairie left. Europeans transformed most of what was once tallgrass prairie in Illinois into farmland, but the U.S. Forest Service is trying to revert at least a small slice of the state back to its former glory. They're conducting something of an experiment on the 30 square miles of land between Wilmington and Joliet, at the former site of the U.S. Army Arsenal, which produced a billion tons of TNT during WWII. Now it's called the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and it's home to 34 miles of hikes. A key part of the restoration project is a small herd of bison from Yellowstone in 2015 to add balance to the ecosystem, by attracting more species of birds, insects and plants while getting rid of invasive grasses. So far they've been very good at attracting humans. There's no guarantee you'll see bison on any given day, but bring your binoculars and head to the Iron Bridge Trailhead and take the Group 63 Trail for your best chance. The southern half of the dirt trail takes you right up to the expansive fenced-in area where the bison graze. This 3.6-mile trail will take you past rows of bunkers where explosives were once stored. You can go inside and see workers' graffiti that includes drawings, profanity and even some good old shit-talking. This loop links up with the Twin Oaks Trail, which is a 6-mile loop, if you want a longer hike. Check the calendar, and you can get a guided ranger hike through October, a "ghost tour" of the arsenals or even a lecture on the health of the local bison. One word of caution for summertime hikers: by definition, there's very little shade on a prairie.


There's more than just sand dunes at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, just across the Lake from Chicago. The Cowles Bog Trail will give you a taste of a little bit of everything the Indiana shoreline has to offer, from prairie to lush, shaded wetlands to beach. The 4.7-mile lollipop-shaped trail begins in the marshy woodlands before you reach a loop that takes you to the shoreline dunes. On a clear day you can view the Chicago skyline. If the weather is right, this is a nice spot for a dip in the lake as well as a packed lunch. (Though you won't be able to shower off) The hike is moderate, though trekking up the dunes themselves at the midway point is on the strenuous side. The trail is named after Chicago botanist Henry Cowles, whose work studying the rich plant life you'll see on the trail like the black oak savanna, led to the Indiana Dunes being nationally protected. The Lakeshore boasts 50 miles of trails and the website has a long list of suggestions.


If you like your hiking with a dose of gnarly post-industrial ruins, head to Joliet Iron Works. Once upon a time, it was home to one of the country's largest steel mills and thousands of workers, but it shut down by the 1980s. In the 1990s, the Forest Preserve District of Will County acquired the 52 acres of property. No buildings are left intact, but the foundation remains and it's pretty fascinating. There's a short paved trail that tells you the history of the factory and the ruins left behind, including the epic blast furnaces. The Joliet Iron Works site is also a great starting point to the limestone-paved Centennial Trail/I&M Canal Trail that runs over 10 miles north to the Cook County line to the Romeoville Prairie Nature Preserve.

  • Road trip to Galena

Its Main Street wasn’t named “Best Main Street in the Midwest” for nothing. Galena’s tiny storefronts are packed with vintage treasures, artisanal olive oils, wine tasting rooms, even a distillery.


Imagine coming face-to-face with a 17-foot-tall statue of the infamous King Tut, being so close you can see the subtle pleats in his kilt. Or, picture gazing upon a set of shattered Persian plates from royal tables, broken when Alexander the Great destroyed Persepolis. Or, visualize walking right up to a gigantic stone bull head, knowing that it was the same one used to guard kings at Persepolis in 500 B.C. It's all at the Oriental Institute Museum.


What was life like for the typical Chicago family during the city's formative years, just before the Civil War? You can find out at the Clarke House Museum, built in 1836 and widely considered Chicago's oldest home. This Greek Revival-style structure has survived fires, financial hardships, severe floods, changes of ownership, updates to its exterior, a stint as a church office and even two moves, the last of which brought it to its current home on Indiana Avenue. Today, visitors can walk through the twice-restored Clarke House Museum and marvel at the original design, historic furnishings, vibrant décor and overall resilience of this memorable property.


The year is 1887. Chicago's elite Prairie Avenue – "that holy of holies where only the elect do dwell," said the Chicago Evening Journal in the late 19th century – has just seen the completion of a 17,000-square-foot modern day castle. The residence, designed by architect H. H. Richardson for wealthy Chicagoan John Glessner, shattered the designs typical of the period and created a structure unlike anything ever seen. Inside the fortress-like stone walls of the Glessner House Museum, you can still see the original sun-lit courtyard, 11 fireplaces, 14 staircases and several levels of cozy hospitality. For 50 years, Glessner and his family lived in the home, and now you can travel back in time to see the residence firsthand.


Considering Homestead is a restaurant that exists pretty much entirely on a rooftop, it would be pretty tough to justify NOT having a plan for the winter. Luckily, they do, so you can keep enjoying their delicious farm-to-table creations year round.


It's the indoor fireplace and charming, heated patio complete with a retractable roof that makes Fireside one of the coziest destinations around.

  • MAK

If you haven’t had it yet, you need MAK’s falafel in your life. This fast casual “modern asian kitchen” has flown low on Chicago’s radar for a while now, and it’s high time it made it onto yours.

  • The Press Room

This subterranean wine bar is all but hidden on a quiet corner in the West Loop. But once you step inside, you'll get the sense that it's every nearby resident's favorite secret. Owned and operated by the folks behind upstairs bed-and-breakfast Publishing House, the Press Room offers a robust selection of special wines by the glass and bottle. Sip picks from Chile, Spain, Argentina, Israel, Washington and beyond. Pours are best paired with La Grande Board, an assortment of charcuterie and cheese, or the dreamy chocolate cremeux.

  • Lush Wine and Spirits

This combination wine store and bar has a few outposts, but we enjoy hanging out at the one in West Town. You'll find a sizable glass list and an abundance of snacks (we like the crispy chickpeas), and since you're there already, you should take a bottle of wine or beer home, too. For convenience.

  • Yuzu Sushi
  • Bonci pizza
  • Proxi
  • Eris Brewery and Cider House

Occupying a former Masonic Temple on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Eris claims fame as the city’s first taproom dedicated to cider. Even more notable? Eris is led by an all-woman team. The sprawling space offers a number of guest taps, plus six house ciders and six house beers, all spearheaded by head brewer Hayley Shine. The food menu, meanwhile, is meant to complement your cider adventure, ranging from small bites (get the candied bacon) to full-blown entrees (you can’t go wrong with the steak frites).

  • Dove's Luncheonette

Right at in the heart of Wicker Park, one can get some of the best Mexican and Southern-inspired brunch food in Chicago. Dove's Luncheonette has a classic diner feel to it for that low-key morning outing with friends.

  • The Bongo Room

The Bongo Room is a Chicago brunch classic! Its decadent menu (lobster roll benedicts, chocolate tower french toast) has amassed such a fanbase that The Bongo Room now has three locations—Wicker Park, Andersonville and South Loop.


Tucked away in the South Loop, within Columbia College, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets. It’s a small but mighty museum, regularly carrying the work of local photographers. The museum’s Midwest Photographers Project cycles through new and established midwest photographers, each examining a different social experience, from the slums of Mumbai to electronics and teens.


Located at Block 37 on State Street (aka shopping mecca), this tiny (and free) museum displays incredibly creative changing exhibits on everything from design to architecture. Recent exhibitions have included paper arts from around the world, and games in our modern culture. Next up is Great Ideas of Humanity: Out of the Container, April 20-August 18, 2018, which “highlights a broad spectrum of human thought and reminds us that, sometimes, looking to the past helps to comprehend the present.”

  • Sportsman's Club
  • La Crosta Woodfire Pizzeria Italiana
  • Smoke Daddy
  • Ludlow Liquors

This new bar (with awesome Filipino-inspired food from sister spot Old Habits) has been packing guests in for a couple of months, but just wait until the patio opens. Ludlow Liquors will boast a dog-friendly backyard garden with two-tiered stadium seating, so you will hopefully not have to wait to find a spot. There’ll even be a service counter outdoors, so you don’t have to go inside to grab a drink, and the owners have teased some boozy slushies for the future.

  • Mango Pickle

Foodies listen up. Mango Pickle is the perfect twist on traditional Indian food. What brings customers back for more is its seasonal samosas. Every season brings new flavors. Every season brings a new flavor such as the red kuri squash, carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg and chutney samosa or the seasonal veggie, cilantro chutney samosa paired with hibiscus date sauce!

  • Cozy Noodles

Cozy Noodles & Rice sits down the street from Wrigley Field. This cash-only spot is known for its “two C’s”: Cubs memorabilia and crab rangoon! The extra-generously stuffed rangoons remind us that what’s on the inside matters most.

  • The Bristol

There is ravioli and then there is The Bristol's famous raviolo. What is a raviolo you ask? It is one giant egg-filled ravioli that is perfect for sharing! This colossal piece of pasta is also filled with ma

  • Alinea

On the worlds best restaurant for 2018

  • Take a Weird Chicago Tour

Learn a thing or two about the creepy details behind Chicago's storied history via Weird Chicago Tours. Take the Devil & The White City Tour to learn about America's first serial killer—who also made Chicago his home. Get the gritty details of Chicago's past on the True Crime And Mystery Tour. Receive eye-opening insight on the city's local sex industry on the Red Light District Sex Tour (no kids allowed). Oh, and there are ghost tours, too. Duh.

  • See Chicago's Biggest Button Collection At The Busy Beaver Button Museum

3407 W. Armitage Ave.

Passionate about what pinback buttons you choose to adorn your denim jackets with? Get ready for some next level inspiration at the Busy Beaver Button Museum, featuring hundreds of buttons from all eras of the 20th century.

  • Il Porcellino

Good happy hour

  • Sushi-san
  • US Pizza museum
  • Tanoshii — Sushi

You don’t go to Tanoshii for your usual sushi meal. When you sit down, “Sushi Mike” comes out and asks your likes, dislikes, and dietary restrictions. From there, he puts together the perfect menu for your table — so expect to eat the best-tasting sushi ever. And FYI, soy sauce is a no-no here. If that’s not a sign of a good sushi place, I don’t know what is.

  • Labriola — Pizza

It wouldn’t be a Chicago city guide if I didn’t mention deep dish pizza, right!? While there are about a million places you could go for a tourist-heavy deep dish experience, I prefer to guide you to a less-populated option in the heart of the city. Labriola is a great way to taste Chicago’s most famous staple while still enjoying a classy dining experience. If you’re staying in the Loop (Michigan Avenue area), this is just steps away. Note: If you’re looking for more touristy (but still delicious) deep dish, try Gino’s East (most fun), Lou Malnati’s (best sauce), or Giordano’s (best crust).

  • Quartino — Italian

This is one of Team Everygirl’s favorite places to take out-of-towners. It’s in a great location downtown, so easily accessible from all your major landmarks, yet it feels cozy and snug and charming. It’s always bustling, but it’s not hard to get a table and the food is INCREDIBLE — and yet, it’s not break-the-bank expensive. Plus, every time I have been there, all the waiters are incredibly hot guys wearing futball jerseys, so that is a real win.

  • Green Street Smoked Meats

Casual, quirky, and always buzzing, Green Street is Team Everygirl’s go-to happy hour spot (which almost always turns from happy hour into dinner into late-night drinks…). You can go for the food (slabbed meat, sandwiches, and comfort food sides), but you’ll want to stay for the vibe. The only tables are long and cafeteria-style, lending to the feel that you’re amongst lots of friends. The drinks are pretty cheap, the music’s not too loud, and they play ’80s movies on TVs in the background. The outdoor section feels like something out of 1920s NYC, but the indoor section is great too (meaning you can go in any season and have a good time). Quick anecdote: I almost ALWAYS forget something, drop something, or leave something when I’m there. The bartenders are so friendly and always help me find my stuff with a smile. I seriously LOVE it here.

  • Z Bar

The Peninsula's stunning rooftop lounge has it all: sweeping city sights, globally inspired cocktails and a roster of delicious, shareable snacks. Sip cocktails like the Disco Fever, with vodka, mandarin, passionfruit, champagne and fresh lemon, or opt for a spirit-free beverage, like the Garden Party, which is infused with cucumber and pea blossoms. On the food front, there are plenty of crave-worthy snacks: Chicago-style pizza pockets, daikon frites and steak fondue.

  • Le Colonial
  • Loba Pastry in Lakeview

The most exciting pastries in town (plus, great coffee) and see what chef Valeria Taylor is pulling out of the oven. It might be a mole croissant or a fruit danish dusted with violet sugar. But my truest love will always be the pineapple sourdough muffin (a staple on the otherwise constantly changing menu), which is unlike anything I have ever tasted — tart, sweet, funky — and one of the absolute best things to eat in Chicago.

  • Pizzeria Portofino
  • Torchio Pasta Bar
  • Bungalow by Middle Brow
  • Rooh

We had the pleasure of visiting ROOH on opening night and it was hands-down some the best Indian food we’ve ever tasted. Progressive cuisine like Jackfruit Kofta, and spicy cocktails such as Pink City, put ROOH at the top of our list. If you’re in the mood for a sexy atmosphere and mouthwatering Indian fare, we highly recommend this new West Loop hotspot.

  • The Spice Room

Hailing Northern Indian food central to Mumbai, the Spice Room brings Indian culture to Wicker Park. The chefs at this minimal restaurant serve up incredible Northern Indian fare for relatively cheap, so it’s always worth a visit.

  • Uru-Swati

There’s something especially unique about this place: the walls are designed like Mumbai’s skyline, leaving you to feel like you’re settled into a little café next to the honking cars of India’s busy streets (without the noise, of course, though it’d be pretty clever if that was their playlist). Uru-Swati offers up undeniably authentic Northern Indian delicacies with a hint of Southern influence.

  • Cumin

By incorporating Nepalese and Indian staples, Cumin gets that perfect blend of spicy and mild dishes on the menu without reducing each of these distinctive cultures. Besides, they have far more Indian food available in this upscale restaurant, so it was absolutely worth including on this list.

  • India House Restaurant

Head to River North for a taste of authentic Indian. This amazing lunch and dinner buffet is cheap as hell, offering all-you-can-eat Indian food for just under $15 during the week and under $18 on weekends.

  • Tandoor Char House

Another fusion restaurant, Tandoor Char House pulls influence from both India and Pakistan, as its owner, Faraz Sardharia, has roots in both countries. Many of these recipes are cultivated from the mind of Sardharia, but you’ll find some classic dishes here, too, made with halal meat.

  • Rangoli

Easily the most aesthetically pleasing restaurant on this list, everything at Rangoli is ready to be Instagrammed: the food, the walls, the decor, the vibe. It’s all a perfect blend of ancient and modern Indian culture, and it’s yours to enjoy in Wicker Park.

  • Fatso's

Hot dogs

  • Galit

$65 tasting menu

  • Riccardo Osteria
  • Moti Cafe - Indian food
  • Osteria Langhe
  • Boxcar Betty's
  • The Butcher and Larder
  • Old Grounds Social

Bottomless mimosas, games

  • BLVD
  • Tortello
  • Janitors Closet

What was once a janitors closet is now a janitors closet with a bartender. Here you'll find all the tools necessary for a good night like wrenches, power tools, tequila, and a 15-seat bar. Your friends might think you've lost it the minute you open a janitors closet for a night out, but they will be ecstatic to see the custodian behind the bar - trust us. How to get in: Located within River North boutique hotel FieldHouse Jones, this speakeasy is in the most literal sense, a janitor's closet.

  • Rojo Gusano
  • Cafe el tapatio
  • Taqueria Moran
  • Ina Mae Tavern and Packaged Goods
  • Superkhana International
  • Amaru
  • Tempesta Market
  • Fry the Coop
  • Phodega
  • Cho Sun Ok
  • Smyth
  • The Hen of Lincoln Park
  • Taquizo
  • Fiya
  • Pinstripes
  • Ciccio Mio
  • Trivoli Tavern

Happy hour

  • Grapes and Grains
  • Andros Taverna
  • Taqueria Chingon
  • Standing Passengers
  • District Brew Yards
  • Crazy Bird Chicken
  • Eduardo's Enoteca
  • Machine Engineered
  • Las Fuentes
  • The Duplex
  • Royal Palms
  • Flight Club
  • Ace Bounce House
  • Macello Cucina di Puglia
  • Basant
  • Milky Milky
  • Aroy Thai
  • Coffee Slasticarna Drina
  • Dancen
  • Jibek Jolu
  • Laschet's Inn
  • El Llano
  • House of Wah Sun
  • Sticky Rice
  • Taqueria El Asadero
  • The Bagel
  • La Creperie
  • Redhot Ranch
  • Cafe Orchid
  • Duke of Perth
  • Athenian Room
  • Twin Anchors
  • Bourgeois Pig
  • Pat's Pizza
  • Sayat Nova
  • Cafe Iberico
  • Club Lago
  • Pizano's Pizza
  • Midori
  • Booill
  • Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club
  • Chicago Kalbi
  • Great Sea
  • Ssyal Ginseng House
  • D’Candela
  • Little Bucharest
  • Shokran Morrocan Restaurant
  • Brasa Roja
  • Cafe Beograd
  • Chicago Taco Authority
  • La Nonna
  • La Zacatecana
  • Taqueria Mazamitla
  • El Cubanito
  • L'Patron
  • Boiler Room
  • Oasis Cafe
  • R&A Bakery
  • The Hi Lo
  • Kasama
  • Jeff and Jude's

Jewish deli

Best new restaurant of 2021

  • Dave's Hot Chicken
  • Anna's Thai Kitchen
  • Evette's
  • Lure Fish Bar
  • Nomad
  • Good Ambler
  • Colectivo
  • Cafe Deko
  • Vinnie's Subshop
  • Adalina
  • JP Graziano Grocery

Work lunch option

  • Sissy's Sandwich
  • Groundswell Coffee
  • Marge's Still
  • Geja's Cafe
  • Drawing Room
  • Wilde
  • Racine Plumbing
  • Gomper's Park - North Branch Trail
  • Figo Wine Bar
  • Love Street
  • Willow Room
  • Cookies and Carnitas
  • Coda di Volpe
  • Coffee Lab
  • Bocadillo Market
  • M. Henry
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Daisies
  • Esmeralda's
  • Avli
  • Los 3 Panchos
  • Southport Grocery and Cafe
  • Jinsei Motto
  • TriBecca's Sandwich
  • Robert's Pizza
  • Waterfall Glen Hike
  • Tzuco
  • The Albion Manor
  • Pearl's Southern Comfort
  • Colvin House

Free outdoor concerts on Tuesday in the summer

Happy hour wed-su from 5-6

  • Elixir
  • Mother's Ruin
  • The Green Post
nov 16 2015 ∞
oct 26 2022 +