NFT Chicago Wrigleyville / East Lakeview

Wrigleyville / East Lakeview

Essentials
The population of Wrigleyville/East Lakeview swells during beautiful summer afternoons and evening while the Cubs are at home (making the parking impossible and towing imminent). To avoid the crowds, walk the pleasant, pretty streets during away games. Try Clark Street for rows and rows of sports bars and airy patio dining and Southport Avenue for quieter date- and family-friendly establishments.

Sundries/Entertainment
Since the Friendly Confines dominate the neighborhood, it's no surprise that most local bars and restaurants cater to sports fans. Jocks will feel at home in the 3-floor sports bar mecca Slugger's featuring dueling pianos, batting cages, and, during the winter, the basketball/trampoline hybrid Hi-Ball. Non-sports fans have plenty to do on the weekends too: head to the Metro for live rock or the gorgeous, historic See more.

>Music Box Theatre for art films and trashy/fun midnight movies.

Hit Sheffield's for its beer selection or The Irish Oak if you're looking for an authentic Irish pub. Art of Pizza wins awards for its pies. If you're looking to savor South American flavors while sipping your own bottle of red, head to Tango Sur for massive cuts of Argentine steak.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Kitchen of Dreams

By Jill Jaracz
The equipage of the kitchen: the stockpile of the heart. Do you have what it takes to furnish your cooking space? Join Jill Jaracz on a culinary voyage 'twixt Oriental crockery and mass-produced Swedish stuff, as Jill prepares to lavish you with the secret of her sparkling kitchen: the addresses of the stores she patronizes, and some suggestions. Get ready to cook something. I hope it's tasty and doesn't take til 3 am. I hate that.

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Adventures in Resale & Vintage Shopping

By Keidra Chaney
Clothes other people have worn?! Who buys that? Keidra Chaney does--from hoity toity vintage minidresses to a wide assortment of 90s Japanese tees. Don't forget to check for bed bugs.

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Beer: English for Beer.

By Jill Jaracz
Beer: It may be the world's most popular alcoholic beverage but that doesn't mean you have to be democratic about it. From cask-conditioned to microbrewed, let Jill Jaracz show you a whole new world of fermented yeast.

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The Cheapskate's Guide to Chicago

By Dana Kaye
Dana Kaye sure said it straight when she declaimed: "You don’t have to be gay to enjoy all the drink specials on Halsted." But you do have to be on a budget. Chicago is no city for the thrifty, but Dana Kaye is not one for following the rules. Take heed as she stealthily discloses the secrets to getting by with no money.

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Drinking Guide to Chicago

By Jill Jaracz
Bottle Service? Old Style? But what does it all mean?! Wading through Chicago drinking lingo is a fate no novice NFTer should be subject to, right? Jill Jaracz cuts through the terminology, flies past the red tape and jumps headlong into a metaphorical tankard of beer. Come along!

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Joseph Hernandez
Photo:  Joseph Hernandez

Fritz Pastry
In a sleepy-ish corner of Lincoln Park/Lakeview, this cozy bakery is hard to reach by CTA trains (though bus stops are readily accessible) but well worth the trek. Their European pastries are everything a baked good should be: delicate, fresh and, most importantly, buttery as all get out. And whose complaining? Too often, croissants are nothing more than substitutes for petrified bark; not so at Fritz. Expect nothing less than a captured air/butter pillow hybrid. Don't linger on just the croissant, though; the menu is replete with flavors familiar and exotic. Indulge your wanderlust and take in any of the day's treats while sitting in one of the cafe's inviting armchairs. I dare you to not want a nap.



Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Norman Ibarra

Sheffield's
Yup--that's how long we've been publishing a Chicago guide--eight years. And to celebrate, we're having a book release party for the 2010 edition of the Not For Tourists Guide to Chicago at our favorite bar in Chicago, Sheffield's. And with the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale flowing, life should be more than grand on Wednesday, April 28--at least between the hours of 7pm-10pm at Sheffield's. So come and grab a free copy of the city's foremost "urban" guide, accompany it with one of Chicago's best "urban" ales, at the NFT writers' favorite "urban" bar! PS: If you're into that social networky Facebook thingy, sign up here and let us know you're coming.



Posted By:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya
Photo:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya

Rockit Burger Bar
Settling into its appropriate new location right next to Wrigley Field, this upscale sports bar and restaurant provides a trendy setting for baseball fans alike. As customary for a bar and grill, plasmas are sprawled all over the walls for convenient viewing. Not so customary? The decor is actually very stylish and chic. Rockit boasts one of the "best" (and priciest) burgers in the city: a fat Kobe beef patty topped with melted brie cheese, fried shallots, and sandwiched between two flaky (read crumbly) red onion croissant buns, complimented by a side of thick-cut truffle fries. Is it worth the $19 splurge? Not really. Rockit's original and other location is in River North, its larger and on the more upscale side. Bottom line: if you are looking for a chill, unpretentious place to watch a game, this is probably not it; if you don’t mind the hipster scene, rock out at Rockit!



Posted By:  Ashley Spencer
Photo:  Ashley Spencer

Sheffield's
Writers and Alcohol, it's a pairing that rivals wine and cheese. Just think of the many talented, tormented and crazed writers fueled by their love for both the bottle and the book. I mean, have you read Augusten Burroughs, Ernest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson? If you're a reader, writer or drinker, head out to Sheffield's on the first Wednesday of each month for the Reading under the Influence series to be dazzled by Chicago’s literary talent. Each RUI has a theme (the next reading scheduled in February is Love Hangover) where local writers and performers read a selection from favorite authors as well as their own pieces. They also do shots, which is frankly a great way to start a story. Plus it's interactive--you a have a chance to speak up to answer some trivia questions related to the readings, and you just might walk away with literary booty and other prizes. The event is the perfect place to dive into the literary scene, and if you're nervous, it's totally acceptable to be buzzed.



Posted By:  Anne Siegler
Photo:  Anne Siegler

Kirkwood
We headed to Kirkwood for a going-away party for one of my sister's former co-workers. We sat out in the beer garden, which I remember from the past gets very crowded. If you find a table and it is a little further back, there is only one way to get out to go to the bathroom--a long and winding road filled with "excuse me, pardon me" followed be some gentle pushing. And even though the temperature that night was a bit cooler, there were super hot warming lamps on full blast. We all crunched to one side of our table to avoid the heat. Although they have decent bar food, this night was just for drinking. My sister's friend spotted the fish bowls and talked us into ordering one. We got the Red Fish Bowl, supposedly their most famous drink. It was like sipping on a giant bowl of spiked Hawaiian Punch. Just what we needed to cool down from the heat lamps.



Posted By:  Lisa Siciliano
Photo:  Lisa Siciliano

Comedy Sportz
On your mark, get set, go...to ComedySportz, yet another one of Chicago's big improv establishments. This one is housed almost directly next to the Belmont El Station and differentiates itself from other comedy houses by making the improv games a competition between two rival teams of players all vying for a trophy and the title of winners (for that evening!) ComedySportz has a no swearing, no dirty topics rule for both the actors and its audience. If anyone gets naughty, a brown paper bag is placed on their head by a referee who is the emcee for the event and keeps the performers and audience in line. The audience is included in all the night's proceedings from determining which team wins each game with clapping measured by an applause meter to offering suggestions for almost every game played. The great part about ComedySportz is that you'll rarely see the same people play on the same teams with the same games twice. Every single show is new and different and depends as much on the audience as it does on the chemistry of the team players.

Thursdays at 8 pm; Fridays at 8 & 10 pm; Saturdays at 6, 8 & 10pm



Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Julius Meinl Café
Chicagoans can be grateful that Julius Meinl made Chicago its first foray into the North American market. Julius Meinl isn't your standard coffeehouse (i.e.--Starbucks). This Viennese outlet is coffee drinking at its finest. If you've ever luxuriated in a Viennese coffeehouse, you'll understand being seated, having table service, and getting your order on a swanky silver tray. As in Vienna, all drinks come with a glass of water and a piece of chocolate. It's all very elegant, and it makes the experience one you want to have every day. Julius Meinl also has a basic food menu with breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads, and European specialties, not to mention phenomenal pastries. Grab a newspaper, engage in some lively discourse, or enjoy a first date--this place is perfect for all of that. On the weekends you can enjoy live music. Owing to the success of this outpost, a second location opened in Lincoln Square.



Posted By:  Lisa Siciliano
Photo:  Lisa Siciliano

Leona's
This "quintessential" neighborhood restaurant with various locations all across Chicagoland is just plain fun. From the flat screen televisions that play music videos from years past to the trivia handheld players on the table, this is the place to visit with a ton of friends who are ready to eat a ton of food. Everything at Leona's is supersized. Your meal starts off with a huge loaf of bread to dip in marinara sauce or a tasty butter spread. The choices are mainly Italian-themed pizzas, pastas, salads, and the lot. Leona's is a family-run establishment which you'll discover as soon as you open the extensive and oftentimes overwhelming menu. Each bigwig in the family business has his or her cartoon and bio placed amongst the pages and pages of possible menu options. When you're at Leona's, you feel taken care of and part of the family. I've never yet visited without the manager coming over and checking on my table!



Posted By:  Raf Miastkowski
Photo:  Raf Miastkowski

Lucky's Sandwich Company
Is it a bar? Is it a sandwich shop? Nay, it is both! Lucky's Sandwich Co. is neatly segregated between the drink-slinging sports fans sitting at the bar and the hungry foodies quietly munching on sandwiches at one of the six tables in front. At Lucky's, it seems like patrons seldom partake in both eating and drinking. In my opinion, there are several comparable options for grabbing a drink in Wrigleyville, but Lucky's sandwiches stand head and shoulders above the competition. The sandwiches are composed of meat, cheese, tomatoes, tangy coleslaw, and delicious golden brown fries jammed between two slices of bread. Needless to say, you won't be going home hungry. Highly recommended options are the Fredo (capicola, salami, ham, swiss cheese) and the Two-Bagger (corned beef, pastrami, provolone cheese). Lucky's Sandwich Co. is a great option before a night of hitting the bars or heading out to the Cubs game.




Posted By:  Raf Miastkowski
Photo:  Raf Miastkowski

The Yard
There are dozens of bars in Wrigleyville, so The Yard attempts to differentiate itself with a classier approach, albeit slightly. Large golden letters out front advertise the bar's presence to hungry stomachs and stumbling crowds of drunken Cubs fans. The interior is a pleasant melange of dark wood, leather, and exposed brick. The real highlight at The Yard, though, is the cozy beer garden in the back featuring some old horse stables--perfect for grabbing a burger and a beer while enjoying the outdoors. If you're looking to save some money at the Cubs game, don't bother with overpriced nachos. You can fill up on good grub here before the game, since The Yard opens at 11 am on game day.




Posted By:  Raf Miastkowski
Photo:  Raf Miastkowski

The Ashland
The Ashland is basically a blueprint for all good neighborhood bars. The staff is friendly, the prices are decent, and the music is always jamming. In the summer, intense games of bags take place on the outside patio, so college students should feel at home. Lakeview residents would agree that this is as good a spot as any to grab a few hot dogs and wash them down with a cold can of Schlitz or a more-refined New Holland Mad Hatter India Pale Ale. You can't go wrong if you're looking to enjoy the Cubs game away from the ruckus of Wrigleyville.




Posted By:  Jamie Smith
Photo:  Jamie Smith

Sheffield's
Drinking and writing go together like peanut butter and jelly (or rum and coke). But it wasn't until a few years ago that anyone thought to put the two together. Reading Under the Influence is a monthly event where writers come to share their work with a rowdy but well-read audience. Each author reads one piece of their own, and one piece written by someone else. It's up to the audience to guess who the author of the mystery piece is and answer trivia questions about the work for the opportunity to win prizes. Replies are shouted, shots are taken, and a good time is had by all. RUI takes place on the first Wednesday of every month, from 7-10 pm at Sheffield's.



Posted By:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya
Photo:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya

Samah
The wispy lettering on the yellow sign outside of this hookah lounge is a prelude to the aromatic clouds of smoke wafting inside. They have a wide selection of flavors--mix and match for your own unique combination. If you can round up 8 people its ten bucks per person for three hookahs and unlimited drinks. Their teas are fabulous and while the smoking ban put a damper on their formerly delectable menu, they do have a variety of desserts and traditional Middle-Eastern appetizers like Hummus and Baba Ganoush to munch on when it's not your turn with the hookah. The atmosphere is sensual and funky; picture ethnic Moroccan decor, earthy tones, dim lighting, and curtained rooms. Word to the wise: reserve at minimum a few hours beforehand, particularly on weekends, and make sure that at least one overachiever in your party is punctual, as they give away reservations after 10 minutes. They have three types of accommodations: couches for large parties, pillows on the floor for medium parties, and glass tables and high chairs for stragglers. Some minor grievances: buzz-kill time limits on the reservation, and only two bathrooms, so gentlemen, don't be surprised if you see a vixen coming of your designated door.



Posted By:  Alan Snider
Photo:  Alan Snider

The Gallery Bookstore
When you move to a hip area, one of the first things to do is check out the local used bookstore. Initially, it's invigorating. Just look at those displays--no Harry Potter here! An entire end dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut! I love him! How exciting, another one on political theory--I had to read excerpts from some of those books in grad school! And you know you've hit it big when they have a literary criticism section. That's like finding a unicorn or the G Spot. Sorry to burst your bubble, but those previous owners? They're you, ten years from now. And while Mr. Vonnegut and Edward Said didn't make the trip with them to Schaumburg, J.K. Rowling most certainly did.



Posted By:  Kristen Orser
Photo:  Kristen Orser

Bittersweet Pastry Shop and Cafe
The cookies at Bittersweet are as big as my head. Literally: as big as my head. I've put the cookies up to my face to demonstrate this to friends, and strangers. It helps that the cookies are also delicious, but it matters more that you can eat it all day long. Sometimes, when the cookies break, you can have as many free samples as you want. There is always something to taste while you are looking at the large assortment of really beautiful cakes and pastries. I don't know what half of the pastries are called, but some of the really pretty ones don't taste as delicious as they look. It took me two years to stop going in here just for these mega, half moon cookies. I've moved on to croissants, almond cake, and even leek soup. And I've even enjoyed sitting down for lunch in the cozy, very French shop. Be warned, this is a pretty popular lunch spot and, for the people who get there in time to have a seat, it's a popular sit-and-do-all-my-work-on-a-laptop spot. Luckily, in the summer, you're not too far from the lake so you can take your pastries and let the yuppies keep responding to their important emails.



Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

House of Sushi & Noodles
Don't look too hard for the noodle portion on the House of Sushi & Noodles menu because the number of noodle dishes they offer is negligible. You're really there for the $15 sushi buffet. Along with miso soup and vegetable tempura, you get all the made-to-order sushi you can eat. If you're one of those types who must always have the super-authentic experience, this place might not be for you, because with over forty different rolls to choose from, some get pretty Americanized. Still, the flavor combinations are interesting, and the names of the rolls allow you to play with your food. Order a monster-named roll like the Godzilla Maki, have it attack a Philadelphia Maki, and you'll have hours of entertainment! This restaurant is fun and popular. During buffet hours the tiny dining area is mobbed, but if you're stuck waiting, you can browse through the pictures of regular diners that line the walls.



Posted By:  Kristen Orser
Photo:  Kristen Orser

Guthrie's Tavern
How do you go to Wrigleyville without getting (a) into a fight, (b) puked on, or (c) leaving Wrigleyville thinking you never want to go back? If you are willing to walk away from Clark and all the bars pumping loud music, you can walk over to Guthrie's Tavern where you'll meet bartenders who know how to talk beer and a crowd that wants to unwind. Read: nobody is dressed like they are "going out" and the atmosphere of the place feels more akin to drinking in someone's home bar. It's the coziness of the wood interior and the honey-colored lighting that keeps this place simple and makes it easy to pull up a chair to a table full of strangers playing a board game. Most of the people are playing Jenga, Chutes and Ladders, or Scrabble—there's something like a million board games to choose from. For being so surprisingly close to Clark, the place manages to stay a pretty local haunt. It's definitely a bit of hidden gem.



Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Goose Island Brewery
Back in 1988 when the craft beer revolution started teaching people what beer really tastes like, John Hall decided to bring a better beer to Chicago. Ten years later, Goose Island's beers and sodas can be found in fifteen states and the UK. Although some of their mainstay offerings, such as Honker's Ale and 312 Urban Wheat are in many Chicago bars, it's great to kick back at the brewpub for some of their more esoteric brews like the Lincoln Park Lager, Cubby Blue, or the Bourbon County Stout. Every day there are at least ten beers on tap, and they change regularly depending on the seasons. Sign up for their Masters of Beer Appreciation program, work your way through their beer list, and you can earn free beer. A long foul ball away from Wrigley Field, it's a great place to enjoy some good bar food and local beer while you watch the game.



Posted By:  Max Minor
Photo:  Max Minor

The Full Shilling
If you live in Chicago in the summertime, at one point or another, you're going to end up in Wrigleyville. You just will. Whether going to a Cubs game or seeing a friend in an I.O. show or checking out Goose Island's current beer selection, the occasional stop in the heart of darkness is unavoidable. Of all the Irish-themed, Cub-centric saloons located near Wrigley Field, The Full Shilling is by far the most acceptable. Free popcorn, off-game day trivia nights, and giant, cheap table-taps filled to the brim with delicious domestic light beer help prevent The Full Shilling from being lumped in with their weaker, exponentially more obnoxious competitors. The occasional stray douche bag is unavoidable, but The Full Shilling is by far, the lowest key Wrigleyville bar in Wrigleyville.



Posted By:  Max Minor
Photo:  Max Minor

Comedy Sportz
The recently re-opened Comedy Sportz theater, next to the Belmont red/brown/purple line, is in arguably the best location of any improv company in the city. The new improv kid on the block of an already over-crowded North side territory (I.O., The Playground, and The Annoyance can all be considered neighbors), Comedy Sportz's new theater has all the makings of a hit. Deriving most of their interior design from granddad Second City, Comedy Sportz utilizes clean, game-themed improv to attract an inordinate amount of suburbanites in town for the evening. Fortunately, what Comedy Sportz does they do very well, and their shows frequently sell out, a claim many competing theaters, improv and otherwise, cannot make. As for those who prefer their improv doody and peepee-related, Comedy Sportz's late night show, "The Hot Karl" guarantees to satisfy the less-sophisticated improv connoisseur. So if you're in the neighborhood (which you probably are or will be), and you hate cursing, Comedy Sportz is worth at least one night of your time.




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