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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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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One of The Most Spacious Chicago Sports Bars Opens By UIC

If you want to chill on sleek black couches and take in 40 beers on tap or seasonal cocktails with front row viewing of your favorite sports game, then I invite you to Bracket Room, a new restaurant and bar located on 1315 S. Halsted St. by UIC. One of Chicago’s most spacisous sports bars recently opened at the end of summer and is catering to anyone who wants to get out and watch a football game with over 50 TV’s to choose from. But this sport’s bar offers more than just football games and beer. It also has a VIP section and a live DJ for parties on the weekend.  This will be Bracket Room’s 4th location to open, and the first Chicago location with plans for additional expansion in the city. Bracket Room is owned and operated by OHM Chicago LLC in partnership with Chris Bukowski.

“We are in the perfect location to embrace the University of Illinois, Chicago as well as the neighboring businesses, residents, and community,” said Chris Bukowski, the original founder of Bracket Room and partner at Bracket Room Chicago. “Our food and drink menu will be approachable, yet interesting with a wide variety of options, with some including a unique Chicago flair. Our array of over 50 televisions, including a huge HD projection screen, makes it the perfect spot to watch sports events, from not only your favorite Chicago teams, but everyone’s favorite sports teams.”

A couple menu items you will not want to miss include the; “The World’s Best Tots” and the “Lamb Lollipops.” When I sat down with the restaurant owner and former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise star, Chris Bukowski, he insisted that I trust him as he ordered me these two “must haves.” And, I’m happy to report, that they were delicious!

 

As for this Chicago sports bar menu, it was adventurous and different. I was skeptical about the Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, which is an Asian twist to the Philly Cheesesteak. They were amazing and came with a tangy sauce.

Bracket Room is so much more than a sports bar – trust me – you can start with lamb lollipops and end the night with champagne and creme brûlée.

As far as cocktails are concerned, I enjoyed the peach twist to a Moscow Mule.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Katie from Appetite 4 Adventure also reviewed the restaurant. She enjoyed “The fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi Salad was my personal favorite and everyone at the table really enjoyed it, too. Tuna is one of my fave proteins and it was cooked perfectly. The entire salad was well balanced and I really loved the addition of grapefruit. it was a great balance with the tuna, grapefruit, nuts, and ginger-soy dressing,” as she stated in her Yelp Chicago review. 

One of my favorite aspects of this spacious Chicago sports bar by UIC is that it is enclosed in glass garage doors. It was nice to take in the neighboring businesses (and the Chicago breeze) near UIC when I had appetizers and drinks there.

I’m excited to go back for these DJ parties I’ve been hearing about. And if you’re into happy hour, which who isn’t? Bracket Room has a Happy Hour menu Monday – Friday from 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

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There is Lower Cost Transportation Options Than Rideshare for a Night Out

Planning a night out can be the worst. Everyone shows up at different times and wants to try out a dance bar or a Tiki bar or do a taco crawl. The more people involved – the more opinions. And since a night out in Chicago usually involves a few rounds of drinks, finding a designated driver or making sure all your girlfriends get home okay can add more stress. Of course, the go-to is to open up your favorite rideshare app, but there’s a much better option for a group in Chicago!

Better Than Rideshare:

Reserving a party bus or limousine for your next night out not only ensures a safe ride for everybody involved, but it also adds a layer of convenience that can’t be replicated by a taxi or Uber. You’ve reserved a block of time, so you’re able to visit multiple destinations through out the night instead of sticking to one or two within walking distance. You’ll be able to enjoy features such as spacious cabins for easy socialization through the night, cup holders for your beverages, sophisticated hardwood flooring and lighting, television panels with DVD players, stereos with the ability to stream through auxiliary ports, and more.

Professional chauffeurs have the knowledge needed to get you where you need to be efficiently and safely. They’ve also had tons of experience taking groups to local hot spots, so they can offer up suggestions if you’re unsure of where to head to next. It’s like having your own personal concierge and night club on the road!

Affordability:

While most groups assume that a Chicago Party Bus is too expensive considering the sophistication, when you divide the overall cost evenly among every one involved, it’s comparable to a rideshare service or taxi trip with a lot more to look forward to. You can save even more money by avoiding high traffic months like wedding and prom season, and the weekend if possible. With a bit of preparation beforehand, you can make sure your next get together is fun, safe and affordable!

This is a sponsored post.

About the Author: Alan James is a local travel writer who specializes in entertainment topics. They hope to provide a helpful voice for those looking to elevate their leisure time.

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When is the Super Bowl? I’m Not Single.

“I’ve been putting myself out there,” I told my friend

“I’ve been going to dinner parties and museums, and I have only met gay guys,” I went on.

“That’s because straight men don’t want to comment on centerpieces. Single men go to concerts and sports bars,” she divulged.

“Oh, I don’t go to any of those,” I sighed.

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Super Bowl 50 Details:

We’ve concluded that if your winter has been more Hulu and Isolation instead of Netflix and Chill, you should make plans to attend a Super Bowl party (which is this Sunday, February 7, 2016).

P.S. The Denver Bronco’s are playing the Carolina Panther’s in this year’s 50th (no Roman numerals this time) Super Bowl.

You can still go just for the Super Bowl commercials which are $5 million for a 30-second spot. You can also go for the Super Bowl Half-Time Show with Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce. Yes, Beyonce is back.

Kick-off is at 5:30 pm on CBS.

Bonus: The weather is going to be perfect compared to last year – no precipitation and a high of 43 degrees.

Where to Watch the Super Bowl:

Chicago is the best sports town. We turn into a college campus with pride and support for our Chicago sport’s teams.

Chicago Eater put together a comprehensive map of places throughout Chicago to watch the Super Bowl. 

Below are a few options for the sport’s fan, the Chicago foodies, the rooftop lover, and your average meetup.

The True Sporting Experience:

Timothy O’Toole’s Pub

Address: 622 N. Fairbanks Court

Super Bowl Sunday

This is one of my favorite bars for holidays. People show up —a lot of people show up here for a good time. They get decked out for holidays like no other Chicago bar. I expect the Super Bowl 50 to be no exception.

Specials include:$4.50 Miller Lite/Coors Light Stadium Cups, Jameson Shots $6.50, O’Toole’s Vodka Cocktails $6, Panthers Shots – $5

Bonus: Super Bowl Squares and scratch cards to win prizes every quarter. Flat screen TV Giveaway.

Bub City

Address: 435 N. Clark St.

Reservations recommended. 5:00 pm – 12:00 am

I love this place. It’s definitely a sport’s bar with a country flare. It’s trendy, it’s in a great location, and Bub City already has the 16 flat-screen TVs. I just hope you like Whiskey and southern food i.e. pulled pork nachos, Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, and hot, sticky, and sweet wings.

Stretch Bar & Grill

Show up for the game. Enjoy specials: $15 domestic buckets, $5 mimosa’s and bloody mary’s, Half-price bombs.

Bonus: Each shot you purchase gets you a raffle ticket to win a Bear’s jersey at the Super Bowl Halftime or at the end of the game.

Super Bowl Packages:

Bar Toma

Address: 110 E Pearson St.

Tickets: $30 per person starting at 5:00 pm to the end of game

Bar Toma_1

Bar Toma is excited to play host for the first time this year. With 22 big screen TVs and your bar food of wings, S’mores pizza, and more elevated by Chef Tony Mantuano’s, it’s going to be a good time.

Bonus: Stay till the end of the game  and you could win four tickets to the Cubs Opening Day Game at Wrigley Field, and a cute ensemble to wear to game day. Double date, anyone?

Rockit Bar & Grill

Address: 22 W. Hubbard St.

Tickets: Pre-Party Charity Event: $10 or $20 from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Furever Football

If you’re more about the pre-party then the actual party, you are in luck. Rockit Bar and Grill is hosting a special Super Bowl 50 pre-party to benefit, Furever Rescue, a local animal rescue non-profit. Your ticket includes two free drinks and appetizers.

There are game-time party packages for parties, which range from $200-$400.

The Pony

Address: 1638 West Belmont

Tickets: $40 per person from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be the usual TVs, but each table also gets their very own flat-screen. Yes, this will be up-close and personal for you. Your ticket includes a pizza and wing buffet, domestic, import and craft pints, call liquors. Specials: $4 Jameson.

Bonus: Super Bowl Half-Time competition, where you can kick a field goal to win a $250 prize. The game will be broadcast on overhead plasma TVs and at tables that feature an individual flat-screen TV for viewing.

The Super Bowl + A View:

The J. Parker

Address: 1816 N. Clark St.

I’ve always wanted to go here. It’s one of the classiest places in Chicago, and it’s not even downtown. Go up in the air for a Super Bowl tailgate atop Hotel Lincoln. Chef Paul Virant will be preparing: chili, patty melts, pork sandwiches, chili cheese fries, and sliders. Specials on Bud Light and Tecate buckets.

360 Chicago

Address: 875 N. Michigan Avenue

Tickets (at the door): $20 per person starting at 5:00 pm

Don’t eat too much or drink too much if you’re going to the 94th-floor observatory of the John Hancock Center. Like Bar Toma, this is the first time the John Hancock is hosting a Super Bowl party. They will have two 80-inch TV’s.

It’s worth noting that this is a family event.

It’s also worth noting that there is seating for about 40 people, a Hancock spokeswoman said, but a lot more standing room available, reports DNAinfo.

Bonus: Specialty cocktails themed after the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are on the menu. We know you are classier than beer.

Extra Bonus: Anyone who shows up wearing an NFL jersey can ride Tilt for free!

I Need Something More Than The Super Bowl:

Howells & Hood

Address: 435 N. Michigan Avenue

Tickets:  It’s free, but $16 chili-trio packages

You’re invited to eat something besides wings on Sunday. The Third Annual Chili Cook-Off Super Bowl Sunday will add tasting and voting on something other than who is going to win the game. Zed 451 and Chop Shop will be battling for the title of “Chili Master.”

Super Bowl Parties:

If going out in groups is more your style, there are a few Super Bowl parties to join:

The Chicago Adventures Meetup Group is organizing an event Super Bowl Party @ Trophy Room: $40 3.5 Hour Food Drink Package! 56 people have signed up thus far, so you’re sure to meet someone. Start time: 5:00 pm

The Chicago Loop Happy Hour Group is meeting up at Roanoke Club for the traditional Super Bowl food and drink specials including $3.00 beers and $5.00 wine. 13 people have signed up. Start time: 4:00 pm.

Go Team:

You don’t need to cook, just show up with team spirit. Let me know how your Super Bowl boy turns into your Valentine’s Day date. I’m rooting for you because I honestly don’t know who to root for in the Super Bowl.

P.S. Windy City Cosmo’s top pick is The John Hancock. Themed cocktails, a view, a new experience, and a socially relevant game all in one? Yes, please!

P.S.S. If you are single and want to mingle, Bub City might be the better option. It’s less family and more friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

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