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Neighborhood Hotspots: River North

November 16, 2017

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


With its close proximity to the Loop, River North is Chicago’s go-to neighborhood for happy hour once 5 p.m. hits the bustling downtown. But it’s on the weekends when it really transforms into Chi-town’s quintessential nightlife scene. Between the infamous bar strip, Hubbard Street and the most exclusive clubs a half mile up, there’s no shortage of places to post up with your friends.


The glitzy neighborhood lives up to its reputation with a never-ending list of places to dine in, liquor up, shop, or just people watch between Grand and Chicago Ave. And don’t worry about looking sharp before your night out--just leave the dry cleaning to Tide Spin.




Portillo's / Photo Credit: The City Lane 


River North is a great blend of classic Chicago eats and trendy new spots, from Lou Malnati’s deep dish and Jet’s 8-corner pizza to the two Michelin-starred Sixteen. There’s a spot that will suit whatever your occasion for dining out!


  1. Portillo’s - This iconic River North locale screams Chicago with its fully garnished hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and cheese fries. The Barnelli’s side serves up hot pasta dishes and large salads (get the Chopped Salad). Leaving without a cake shake--or maybe the whole dang chocolate cake--would be downright wrong. They even ship their food to the rest of the U.S.!

  2. Sunda - Arguably Chicago’s best-known sushi spot, Sunda features mouthwatering Asian fusion concoctions. Opt for some signature rolls filled with braised octopus or creamy lobster and pair them with sides like crispy brussel sprouts, Seoul wings, or spicy tuna-stuffed avocado. You’ll need a minty Saketini to properly digest your feast afterward.

  3. Barrio - Top Chef contestant Katsuji Tanabe created a buzz with the recent opening of the art-deco designed Mexican restaurant, but don’t show up looking for burritos. The menu features chicharrones, ceviche, and Chilean seabass. To up its authenticity factor, the staff actually grinds heirloom corn in-house to make the tortillas for a variety of tacos (barbacoa and al pastor, among others!).


3 Dots & a Dash / Photo Credit: Zomato


Sipping a drink in one of River North’s lounges is an experience in itself. The places are just so...pretty. And cool. And even better with some live music!


  1. 3 Dots and a Dash - This underground tiki-style bar is a must for craft cocktails if you’re lucky enough to grab a spot after work. They use fresh, seasonal fruits, make their own syrups, and bring in spices, herbs, flowers, and sugar from around the world. We’re eyeing the Rum Barrel: a “secret” rum blend, “mystery” spices, and exotic fruit juices.

  2. Pops for Champagne - Where else can you find a selection of 150 champagnes and sparkling wines? They open a different style of champagne to taste by the glass on “Magnum Mondays” and feature live jazz--no cover charge--Sunday-Tuesday at 9 p.m. We bet you didn’t know there was another bar downstairs--the Watershed parlour room offers a different vibe when you feel like switching things up.

  3. Green Door Tavern - Dating back to 1921, you’ll really get a feel for Chicago’s history in this landmark bar. Walk to the back of the unassuming first floor to take the stairs down to The Drifter, a speakeasy from Prohibition times. Drinks are listed on tarot cards, and the intimate room fills up with nightly entertainment acts such as jazzy singers and burlesque showgirls.




Eataly / Photo Credit: The Design Bureau

It’s hard not to keep talking about food when there’s just so much more to list in River North!


  1. XOCO - Come for the cubano sandwich and Mexican drinking chocolate with churros for dipping. .

  2. DESSERT! - Sweets are in your face at every corner. Donuts from The Donut Vault, Firecakes, or Glazed and Infused. Ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. Flavored latte creations (like the pepper fig) at Fabcakes. It’s overwhelming!

  3. Eataly - A huge Italian marketplace/food hall was exactly what Chicago was missing all these years. At 63,000 sq. feet, it’s the largest Eataly in the U.S. Break the bank on Italian products, or dine at one of the many food counters, including the newest Cannoli Bar or the favorite Nutella Bar.

  4. Leonida’s Chocolaterie - This quaint cafe on Chicago Ave. will have you thinking you’ve transported over to Europe. Indulge in fluffy croissants, chocolate crepes, rich hot drinks, and Belgian chocolate.




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