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Neighborhood Hotspots: West Loop

October 16, 2017

This post was a Tide Spin post. Tide Spin has now merged with Pressbox to create Tide Cleaners.

 

Chicago’s West Loop is no longer considered “up-and-coming” but rather the very definition of cutting edge, as the hottest chefs and restaurateurs fight to claim a spot in this hip--but not so pretentious--neighborhood.

 

Being just a stone’s throw from the working masses of the Loop, the West Loop is the perfect place to enjoy a buzzing happy hour or score a table at a Michelin-starred joint for dinner.

 

All the time you’re saving from not worrying about your laundry or dry cleaning, Tide Spin has you covered here too with the down-low on some serious eats in some seriously cool interiors.

 

 

MOUTH-WATERING BITES

Source: website 

 

There’s good reason why West Loop’s Randolph Street is also known as “Restaurant Row”--it’s home to Girl & the Goat, Au Cheval, and Blackbird, which barely scratches the surface of the street’s coveted diners. We’re taking the spotlight off some of these big guys to let some other knockouts shine in this round.

 

  1. Green Street Smoked Meats--String lights, picnic tables, and pitchers of bourbon-spiked sweet tea dot this Texas barbeque locale. Feast on thick and tender sliced brisket, pulled pork, ribs, or pork belly with some side dishes bound to do some serious damage. We only wish they offered a place to nap afterwards.

  2. Grange Hall Burger Bar--Skip the forever wait at Au Cheval and indulge in a grass-fed beef burger creation just down the street. CTO Mark always gets the Berries and Brie Burger, but suggests Victor’s Veggie Burger topped with caramelized onions and chipotle mayo for veggie-lovers.

  3. Bad Hunter--Vegetarians, don’t be scared away by this seemingly meat-heavy foodie district! Named after the joke “‘Vegetarian' is an old Indian word for 'bad hunter,’” the menu offers something for everyone--even the vegan and gluten free. Top rated entrees include the butter dumplings with kimchi and roasted sweet corn pudding, but the menu changes daily.

 

 

 

AFTER-DINNER DRINKS

 

Photo Credit: The Daily Meal 

 

West Loop is the place to go for out-of-this-world cocktails, period. Honorable mentions go to CH Distillery and The Allis in Soho House, but our super-condensed pickings are as follows:

 

  1. The Aviary— Chief Marketing Officer Adam wouldn’t stop raving about this place for, literally, weeks after taking his lady out here. The science behind the mixology and the whimsical presentation (pictured above) make it an all-around 5-star. The imaginative cocktails are definitely not cheap, but sometimes you gotta treat yourself. Reservations are needed

  2. Maude’s Liquor Bar--The Parisian-inspired bar appears in Eater’s 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmand List, which means it’s quality served at an affordable price. The drinks are categorized by Sparkling, Shaken, Stirred, or Smashed, and go down well with a plate of fresh oysters or other hors d'oeuvres.

  3. The Press Room Wine Bar--The neighborhood newbie just moved in this September and is finding a way of fitting in with the neighbors as a “relaxed, easygoing place,” according to owner George Saldez. Located in a century-old building on Washington Boulevard, the Press Room features more than 60 wines, many hailing from Saldez’s home country, Australia.. Prices start at $9 a glass and tip the scale at $1,600 for a bottle of 1991 Shiraz. See the full list here.

  4. Fulton Market Kitchen – Tucked away on Fulton, this is the place off-the-beaten path and definitely might shock when you first go in, but it’s about as unique and exciting as it gets. Part art gallery, part cocktail bar, part restaurant there’s no shortage of things to stimulate your senses. While the food is excellent, this is a perfect spot to grab a drink at the end of your date or to start your night.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD GEMS

Photo Credit: See Chicago Dance

 

Food and drinks aren’t the only things that the West Loop has to offer. Here are some Tide Spin team-verified fun activities in the neighborhood.

 

  1. City Winery--Walk to the back of the dining hall to enter a more intimate dining room offering live performances nearly any day of the week. Order a few flights of glasses and take in the seriously cool vibe of an interactive performance. See what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

  2. Latin Rhythms Academy--Dance off those calories with some salsa, bachata, mambo, or cha-cha! Small class sizes and affordable pricing (even student discounts!) make this a dance school easy to commit to. The industrial space holds bi-monthly socials to show off your new moves or sit back and watch the pros do their thing. Better yet, the socials are open to the public, so anyone is welcome to stop in.

  3. The Fig Tree--This boutique describes itself as the West Loops “one-stop shop for gifts.” Between weddings, babies, white elephants, and home decor, The Fig Tree will become your saving grace when gift shopping has left your brain a mushy mess. We’re already eyeing the Sriracha Cookbook and some new ceramic mugs for the office.

  4. Randolph Street Market--Randolph Street Market is Chicago’s hotspot for all things indie, vintage, or modern vintage. It runs all year round (indoor October through April, and indoor and outdoor May through September) and is located at the 1350 block of West Randolph Street (inside the Beaux Arts Plumbers Hall). Randolph Street’s Holiday Market will run this November 18 and 19 and December 16 and 17 and features global goods and fancy foods--and Chicago Magazine recommends it for “top holiday shopping”!

 

 

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