Cool and Chill Places in The West Loop

The West Loop has become kindof my second home and I get that there are some of the best restaurants there – I read Emily Belden’s “Hot Mess” (and also interviewed her on a West Loop Entrepreneur panel) and partnered with some Randolph Street restaurants. I get it – I love the shimmer and sparkle of the west loop. But sometimes, I want to be low key and just grab a good drink and be silly with my girls.

So, since I get asked this question – the question of where to go and what to do in the west loop – as a community and marketing manager for luxury coworking space, Co-Optim, I want to share with you those cool and chill places where you can unwind and get those much needed laughs with friends in the west loop.

Parlor Pizza

I’m not biased – even though Parlor Pizza regramed my cheese pull video. It seriously is always happening at Parlor Pizza- maybe because it’s right next to SoHo house or just off the ever-busy Randolph Street. I love the rooftop during the summer. If you do go, don’t order the pizza, order the pizza bread. It’s so good that me and my friend ordered it and had it delivered to a bar while watching a basketball game. It is life changing and the salads are pretty good.

Also, my friend and fellow blogger, Sany, did an insane video on Parlor Pizza covering their dessert bar – dessert tacos never seemed so appealing.

 

CH Distillery and Cocktail Bar

CH Distillery has a flight of vodka – need I say more. It’s across the street from Olgilvie Transportation Center. Fair warning, it opens at 4 pm and they have a cute patio.

The cocktails can be a little bit much – don’t order the mojito. It’s not good. I heard the Rosemary’s Baby cocktail is good. Oh, and P.S. the burger looks insane. P.S.S. they have a cocktails and humor night with stand-up comedians on September 8, 2018. You can learn more and get tickets here. 

Lone Wolf

Lone Wold is right next to Au Cheval. Good beer list and artisanal hot dogs on the menu. A fellow Chicago blogger, Blair Bitove from The Blair Necessities shared “[Lone Wolf] was a nice little bar where you can actually talk to people but still have fun.”

Blind Barber

For a cool experience  – Blind Barber is a barber shop by day and an old school bar at night. It’s still on my list to go – so if you do go, tag me in your Instagram post please. One of my favorite Chicago bloggers, Tavi from Chi At A Glance wrote a Yelp review about it – sharing that it is like a speakeasy because “Unless you know about this spot you’ll never find it. Lol. You actually have to enter the barber shop and then walk through the unmarked door once inside.”

Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl Social is so nice and chill. Their motto is “Here’s to going out right.” When you walk in, you feel like you are at the wrong place because it looks like a laundromat, but you go up the stairs and there’s so much to explore. Punch Bowl Social is huge – like Marco Polo huge. With karaoke bars and a bowling alley and a gigantic scrabble board – you are sure to have one of the best nights of your life. Once you get bored of one activity, there’s another. It’s perfect for a windy/cold/too hot – basically every other day in Chicago. It’s seriously The Monopoly of this year – with multiple locations throughout the nation. We were lucky to get one this spring.

El Che Bar

El Che Bar was inspired by time spent eating, drinking and traveling in Argentina and you definitely get that flavorful cool and trendy vibe from the interior to the patio. I had a few drinks there with fellow Chicago food bloggers, but honestly – you go there for the food, particularly their steak because it’s an Argentinian-style steakhouse. I wouldn’t pass over the appetizers – the braised beef and horseradish aioli empanada was delicious as were the Spanish olives and their – never discounted – buttery and grilled oysters.

 

So, these are some of the gems in Chicago’s West Loop to chill grab a drink, and just live after a long day at work. My next question is – who are you taking with you?

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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#SoxSocial Tap Room: A Night of Baseball with Chicago Blogger Babes

Did you hear? Revolution Brewing partnered with Guaranteed Rate to take your Chi summer baseball experience to the next level on the south side. The #SoxSocial Tap Room is a new bar and events space for all White Sox baseball ticket holders stocked with some of Revolution Brewing favorites like Anti-Hero IPA, Fist City Chicago Pale Ale, Rev Pils that baseball fans can enjoy along the left field line.

What’s better than beer, baseball, and besties on a Friday night? We had to check it out and hold on to the last month of summer with a Chicago blogger baseball outing. I joined some of my favorite Chicago bloggers from the Chicagogrammers community for August 17th’s game – The Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (a city I just fell in love with this year when I interviewed Hallmark and HBO).

Getting Ready for Baseball with Chicago Blogger Babes:

Since there’s a hashtag in the title, you know #SoxSocial Tap Room is going to be a social media experience. I heard there’s a selfie area and thank goodness – a phone charging station. So, I prepped for the big night of baseball at The #SoxSocial Tap Room with a new hair look – pigtails – and an illuminating glow from my new Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow palette – that literally smells like peaches. Ulta Beauty had sponsored a girl’s mentorship Shine and Dine benefit dinner for Step Up in Chicago that I attended last week (you can read more about giving back by being part of Step Up’s mission to inspire women to inspire girls here).

 

White Sox vs Kansas City in Chicago

I took my office look to night by ditching my BCBG heels and switching them for flip flops. I’m thinking more and more about investing in streetwear shoes, like these (comfortable and) gorgeous Air Max 270, but I’m not there yet.

Booze and Baseball:

It’s always exciting to go to a Chicago sporting event. I went to my first White Sox game last year – and honestly it’s much more relaxed than the Cub’s stadium, but it has better food. So you win some, you lose some – it applies for baseball and a night out.

This game was no different. It was chill. People were dressed in white and black. There was a crowd, and they were excited about The Sox, but in a perfect way – it was more tame than Wrigley Field.

 

Baseball is amazing because it makes you excited to be an American – they honored soldiers by having three of them parachute into the stadium. Also I feel like when anyone sings Star Spangled Banner – you just get goose bumps.

We started off the night with nachos and beer because we were at Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap Room. This space wasn’t over the top. It was a common area off to the side and up the stairs where people could enjoy a beer and maybe a taco and also swag a free hat by downloading the MLB hat. Once you have the hat, it changes the game. You start getting interested in baseball – even if you don’t follow baseball.

 

After a drink (or two), we decided to explore the stadium. It was about the second inning and people were already flocking in lines for hot dogs or to take photos with Elvis impersonators. I’m assuming there was a themed Elvis night – because Elvis look-a-likes were everywhere.

We got our hot dogs with extra onions and finally found our seats in the bleachers. It was there that I loved baseballs. Hats. check. Hot dogs. check. But it wasn’t until I was sitting in front of the bright green grass and taking a selfie with my girls, that I felt the true sense of going out for a night at the ball game.

The #SoxSocial

Overall, I think the #SoxSocial is a nice addition to the Guaranteed Rate Ball Park – but I think you should also explore other parts of the stadium and find your seats for the true baseball experience. Make sure to add a night at the stadium to your Chicago Summer Bucketlist. It’s chill. It’s fun. And if the Sox wins, the night ends in fireworks (like it did for us). What’s #1 on your summer bucket list?

 

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Where to Go For The Best Taco in Chicago on Taco Tuesday

While we may not be as active on the Throwback Thursday’s, Taco Tuesday’s are here to stay in Chicago! For National Tequila Day (July 24th), a few of my favorite bloggers like Jennifer Mai from Jen Eats Chi and Lee Lepe from Chicago Standard and Katie from Appetite4Adventure and you know, 380 other people got together at Park & Field in Logan Square (which by the way is one of the best patios in Chicago – it seriously gives me LA vibes) to sample six different tacos to vote on the best taco in Chicago.

The Tortilla Awards

The crowd was lit with excitement as people lined up after work on Tuesday, July 24th to vote on the best tacos and take part in the festivities. The Tortilla Awards is a party open to the public featuring a city-wide search for the best tacos. It launched in Los Angeles on June 26th and will end in Austin on September 11th. For the Chicago Tortilla Awards, both partners, Tequila CAZADORES and Chef Aarón Sánchez, hand selected the top five tortilla makers to come together in person to compete for the title of being the best taco.

“My culture and heritage are the number one influence on my cooking, and there is nothing more authentic to my upbringing than the art of making a tortilla. Each of these contestants has
been selected because of their dedication and craft in preparing a fresh tortilla that reminds me of being back in Mexico, and I look forward to meeting each of them at these competitions,” shared Chef Aaron Sanchez, Chef/owner Johnny Sánchez, located in New Orleans and co-star of FOX’s MasterChef and MasterChef Junior.

Margs!

Of course you can’t have tacos without margaritas. And there were so many margaritas to choose from! After going to the tequila shot hut (with three different types of tequila), we gathered around Park & Field’s fire pit and  enjoyed Tequila Cazadores cocktails, including the Rosa La Poderosa, an exclusive recipe from local Chicago bartender Julieta Campos that features Cazadores Blanco, Apologue Aronia, cucumber, Weatherby Cola Bitters and lime.

Tortilla Taco Awards in Chicago at Park and Field 2018

While the sky was brooding, we stayed the night running back and forth to sample all six tacos and catching up on summer romances and blunders. Around 9 pm, our rims we’re getting a little saltier and the mood was lighter, and we got up to cast our votes.

Tortilla Award Winners:

Chicago blogger, Erin from 312 Food at the Tortilla Awards in Chicago

 

So, when you’re out and about this summer, add Big Star in Wicker Park to your must-see patios and tacos. Come back soon for more places to go, food to sample, and people to meet.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Time Out Chicago Bar Awards Names This as Chicago’s #1 Bar

Bar industry experts curated by Time Out Chicago have chosen the best bars in Chicago – and there are definitely some to add to your Chicago summer bucket list.  

This June, we got together in the west loop at The Herbarium (right next to Au Cheval – I’m still digesting that burger). After tasting inventive cocktails from William Grant & Sons, which were notable next to individual sized bottles of Rose with cones on them. It seriously felt like a summer spin New Year’s Eve.

Time Out Chicago’s editor, Morgan Olsen announced the winners for Time Out Chicago Bar Awards 2018, who were ranked and profiled by an industry-renowned panel of high-profile drinks experts and top bartenders. The panel included Julia Momose, beverage director at Oriole; James Beard Award-winning sommelier Belinda Chang; Benjamin Schiller, beverage director at The Fifty/50 Group;  Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador Mattias Horseman; Monkey Shoulder Ambassador Vance Henderson; and , the Olsen, herself.

The full list of Time Out Chicago Bar Awards 2018 winners:

Guests enjoyed craft cocktails. Photo: Time Out Chicago

Guests enjoyed craft cocktails. Photo: Time Out Chicago

  • Bar of the Year presented by Hendrick’s Gin: Lost Lake

Guys! I haven’t been here. I was excited about this bar back in 2015 when it opened. For about a year and a half I was following Logan Square’s bar and restaurant scene as a new business writer (shout out to JAM for the best brunch of my life), but I transitioned out and sadly haven’t really explored Logan Square that much besides the occasional PBR, Jamison shot, and pizza special at Boiler Room. If you make a bar crawl out of Lost Lake, I would also add the vintage sports club and eatery, Park & Field to your list of summer time bars – it gave me Cali vibes in their patio with the fire pit and summer games 🙂

Green Mill is a staple. I use to go every Friday night with visitors from Hi USA Hostel. I personally love it for a date night on Sunday with the poetry slam.

Maple & Ash recently got on my radar. It’s always a popular spot – even when I pass through it in the Gold Coast on a Tuesday.

  • Sexiest Cocktail: Spanish-Style Gin and Tonic at Cindy’s

Cindy’s is the best – actually all of Chicago Athletic Club is because it’s versatile for a girl’s night, book club hangout, or a sexy date night. I think I visit Cindy’s the most often. Need to add this cocktail to my list, though 🙂

Photo: Time Out Chicago

Time Out Chicago Bar Awards 2018 panelists

  • Mattias Horseman
  • Vance Henderson
  • Ed Marszewski
  • Julia Momose
  • Danny Shapiro
  • Calvin Martin
  • Christopher Marty
  • Benjamin Schiller
  • Brenton Engel
  • Paul Hletko
  • Caitlin Laman
  • Nandini Khaund
  • Belinda Chang
  • Morgan Olsen
  • Zach Long
Photo: Time Out Chicago

Celebratory hugs all around for the best bars in Chicago for 2018. Photo: Time Out Chicago

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Chicago Events Celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018

Ladies! This week is a good week to network and meet other amazing, entrepreneurial women in Chicago for International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, 2018. I went to a beauty event with the Tulle Project today and as we were introducing ourselves, one women shared the four, yes four jobs she has. Another woman, in awe, noted how ambitious Chicago women are. I wholeheartedly believe that. I encourage you to meet these Chicago girl bosses this week at one of the many Chicago events for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Look for events and opportunities to connect all month long for women’s history month.

Quick note: International Women’s Day theme is #PressForProgess.

Global Strategist Association Event:

The Global Strategists Association is hosting a luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day to discuss opportunities for women of color.

Details:

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: The DuSable Museum of African American History

RSVP

1871 Event:

1871, a Chicago incubator for startups is hosting a day of workshops and speaking events for women. 1871 is such a great resource that female founded companies like this 3D printing jewelry company, this beauty services company that is now offering company perks to GrubHub, and this designer clothes and accessories startup all used to help grow their business.

This event series has several sessions that you can drop into throughout the day. I’m personally looking forward to the Building Your Company’s Brand Panel Discussion.

Details:

Time: 8 am – 9 pm

Location: 1871, Merchandise Mart

RSVP

SheSays Chicago Event:

SheSays Chicago, a Chicago chapter of a national organization of women in creative fields, is putting together an event with Leo Burnett on Thursday, March 8, 2018 right after work.

I’ve been attending SheSays Chicago events for years and even spoke at one of the panels about networking. You can read about some of my past coverage of their events like Turning Passion into Profit and Networking Advice from Edelman, PR Agency.

There will be a panel discussion.

MODERATOR:

Jessica Papilla, Data Analyst at Leo Burnett

PANEL:

Monika Black, PhD, CPC | Chief Strategy Officer at DyMynd

Kayte Malik, CEO and Co-founder of Dresscode

Beth Sehgal, Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion for A.T. Kearney

Priya Shah, Founder and Executive Director of The Simple Good

Details:

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Location: Leo Burnett Office

RSVP

Ladies Get Paid Event:

Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women achieve their professional goals and get equal pay, is hosting an International Women’s Day event at Ace Bounce. This looks like a causal event to get drinks and meet other professional women.

Details:

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm

Location: Ace Bounce

RSVP

WeWork Kenzie Event:

WeWork Kinzie is hosting an International Women’s Day workshop for freelancers and female entrepreneurs. Over 150 people have signed up for this event. In this workshop, speakers will present four topics: (a) finding the courage to lead, (b) the foundations of entrepreneurship, (c) a woman’s story of finding her purpose, and (d) establishing a position of influence in a competitive industry.

Details:

Time: 6:00-9:00 pm

Location: WeWork Kinzie

RSVP ($20)

She Means Business Event:

She Means Business will be presenting a panel discussion and gender equality and female leadership in the workplace.

The Panelists:

• Naima Prince, Expert Budget and Financial Analyst at GSA

• Lindsey Branding, Controller at Hireology

• Colleen Wilson, Founder & CEO of Collaborate Chicago

• Holly Glowaty, Co-Founder at K+H Connection and Founding Co-Producer at Flourish

• Katharine Hebenstreit, President & COO at Link Capital

Details:

Time: 5:30-8:00 pm

Location: Topstep Trader

RSVP

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce:

If drinks aren’t enough for you, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is hosting a dinner crawl. Get all the savory details below!

Time: 5 pm

Location: Edgewater, over 10 restaurants

RSVP

Conclusion:

I hope to see you at one of the Chicago events for International Women’s Day or you can join the conversation online using the hashtag: #PressForProgress.

How do you build a professional community in Chicago? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @windycitycosmo.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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