5 New Spots to Grab a Cocktail in Chicago This Summer

Summertime Chi is a time of discovery and well, cocktails. We’ve combined the two to give you five of the newest bars to grab some cocktails in Chicago this summer – including one of the most talked about rooftop! From cocktail bars to social clubs, chances are there are some hot spots that will help you plan your next happy hours and Friday night benders. And if you’re gone every other weekend or spending the summer in Rome – we’ve covered some solid choices to put in your rotation for months to come. When you’re drinking and having a great time, you’ll definitely want to think about how you’re going to bar hop! I suggest organizing transportation ahead of time so you can focus more on the drinks and catching up, than on the logistics when you’re soaking up the sun. Click here for some suggestions. 

Z Bar

108 E Superior Street

This rooftop bar has an awesome location near the Magnificent Mile downtown. It just opened this June with a few evening parties with some of the hottest bloggers like Olivia Rink. It is often packed, especially during weekends, but the hand crafted cocktails are certainly worth the wait. Their cocktail menu is inspired by luxury travel around the world, and you’ll notice it in the quality of the drinks here. Plus, the rooftop terrace has unbeatable views of the city – am I right? 

80 Proof

1500 N Wells Street

You can find this new American bar in the Old Town near the North side of town. Their dishes are upscale comfort food with options like chorizo sloppy joes and spicy shrimp tacos. They have a DJ at their brunch which is the perfect way to start your weekend! There are a lot of photo opps – so if you missed 29 Rooms or Happy Place – you can still spice up your insta. 

Flight Club Darts Chicago

111 W Wacker Drive

Flight Club Darts Chicago is a social club with fun games and delicious food and drink options. It’s fun to play darts while socializing with friends – because sometimes we need another activity besides just drinking.  You can expect the usual bar food menu here. They even host fun events with magicians and other entertainment through the month.

The Gringo

1201 W Grand Avenue

When a taqueria meets a beer garden, you get The Gringo, and it’s as magical as it sounds. You can order elotes, margaritas (by the pitcher), and if that isn’t enough motivation to get you here, maybe the oreo churros will be! They play hip, indie music, and you have a variety of meat and salsa options to choose from.

Dutch & Doc’s

3600 N Clark St

This new restaurant in Lakeview is located right across the street from Wrigley Field, so it’s a perfect stop if you’re doing some sightseeing in the city or heading to a Cub’s game. They serve a variety of cuisines on their menu, and they make a mean homemade vanilla bean soft serve for that hot afternoon or if you’re starting early they have you set with fresh, bloody Mary drinks for brunch.

This is a sponsored post. 

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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6 Ways to Brainstorm a Business Name for Your Startup

There’s a lot of important decisions to make when starting a business. One important part is brainstorming a name for your startup.  

Choosing a great business name can be a lot of things – fun at first, but then quite strenuous, frustrating and time consuming.

CrowdSpring founder Ross Kimbarovsky, described his personally experience in an Entrepreneur article, “We spent over 50 hours in 2007 when we came up with ‘CrowdSpring.’ Some entrepreneurs can easily spend hundreds of hours – and thousands of dollars – searching for a perfect name, only to hit a creativity wall.”

Even though it is usually the quality of a company’s products and services that determine if it is good or bad, names do weigh into the decision. According to Time Magazine, 77% of consumers make purchases based on a brand name.

So if you’re looking to start a business and are in the process of brainstorming a name that exudes trust, credibility and excitement to your target audience, then let’s help you brainstorm a business name for your startup. 

Characteristics of a Good Business Name

I think things are easier when we give them limits. You know, to narrow down the thousands of options you have out there. 

  • Simple and easy to pronounce: a good brand name is one that is easy for your customers to pronounce and remember. It should have no more than three or two syllabus and be easy for reporters and journalists to prounce and talk about. Let’s not make it hard like graduation when the principal butcher’s everyone’s names. One of the best examples of this is in the movie, That Thing You Do, when the  band tries to come up with  a name. They like the “Wonders” but want to spell it the “Oneders.” It didn’t last when the announcer pronounced it the Oh-need-ers. 
  • (Legally) Available: There is no point is starting a business if you cannot acquire the full rights to its name. Be sure that you opt for a registration certificate that is issued by the USPTO (or another equivalent agency where you live in). While you’re at it, check the domain name and the social handles. You don’t want to make it hard to find you online or tag you in posts. 
  • Be unique: Your startup name needs to be unique in the sense that it does not a) sound weird or b) come off similar to your competitors. Think of Hiring.com, Careers.com and HotJobs.com – none of which stand out. But Monster.com does (even if it doesn’t describe its business).

Start Word Dumping

We’re going back to basics. The most basic of all brainstorming techniques is to get out a piece of white blank paper or the notes section of your smartphone and start jotting down your ideas. If sticky notes are more your style then by all means, go right ahead.

Try to dump in as many words as you can that relate to your business, even if some of them don’t make any sense or match with what you’re selling. The idea is that you drop as many names and words you can think of until one of them clicks.

If you want to streamline the results, go for these categories; words, verbs, feelings, aesthetic, people. You’re even free to use a dictionary, a thesaurus or even the internet all things considered.

Collaborate with the Right People (or Apps)

If you’re hitting a wall in coming up with a good business name, perhaps it’s time to ask for help (which I know we don’t like to do). It’s always a good idea your colleagues or close friends, family members help you.

You can also use apps like Name Mesh or Naminum to help you generate names.

Think of Names that Explain What You’re Selling

Before Google became the multi-billion-dollar corporation it is today, it was supposed to be named ‘googol’, which represents the number 1 followed by a hundred zeros. But the creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin, decided to go with the name for their search engine (which was going to be called BackRub).

Apparently, the name Google had more to its name than being short and easy to recall; but because the search engine generated large amounts of information, it matched the definition of the word googol. This created a compelling story that remained in the minds of the customers for years up till now.

If you’re into the flower-selling business, you could come up with names like Bouquet4U, Blooming Petals or Smiling Blossom, among others.

Alternative Spelling

Go through each of the names and phrases that you’ve come up with and highlight the ones that pique your interest. One simple trick you can try is altering the spelling of the words you’ve picked out. You can get simpler results just like Toggle, Tumblr, Flickr or Scribd.

Make a Mood Board

Give your brainstorming endeavor a visual appeal with a mood board. You can grab old magazines and newspapers, cut out some pictures, words or colors that identify with your business.

Better yet, you can digitize the process and create a Pinterest account. Start a new board and look for fun and relevant images and quotes that best describe your company. This is a relatively much quicker way than having to sort through dozens of magazines.  

Conclusion:

There’s a lot in a name – especially a startup name. Granted how much time I spend thinking about a blog post title, I feel you. You can read the full story on how Windy City Cosmo came up with their name here. 

 

Hamza Shahzad is a freelance writer and blogger. Currently, he’s working with Smile Tutor. He assists with business development and social media content planning.

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Summertime Chi is busy. Everyone wants to find that friend of a friend who has a boat. And when that doesn’t happen, we turn our attention to rooftops and patios. So this year, I’ve decided to put a twist on dinner parties and create a patio party series.

Once or twice a month this summer, I’m taking my networking skills to my home and inviting people over for brunch or dinner. I start by reaching out to people I want to catch up with or meet IRL and invite them to come cook and dine at Windy City Cosmo’s patio.

I wanted to share with you my patio party series and hopefully you’ll find your own summer twist on dinner parties.

Windy City Cosmo Patio Party

Creating the Look:

You can have dinner anywhere – but I’m a settings person. I need the flowers, the candles, the comfort and the company. So far, I’ve had a brunch patio party and a dinner patio party.

For the dinner patio party, I brought out my Christmas white lights and strung them over my terrace. Then I picked up an Off! candle (or you can be fancy and make your own bug repelling candles). Add a lot of wine and it’s a perfect girl’s night.

For the brunch patio party, I woke up early and had a beautiful bouquet of purple roses from celebrity’s favorite florist, Ode á la Rose. There’s something about waking up to the smell of fresh roses that makes me smile. It was a hot day, but the flowers looked lavish in their signature box.

I added them to my patio table to brighten up the setting and add some plants to my concrete patio. I tried to grow my own rose garden (and only one rose grew last year), so I appreciated the help.

 

 

 

Cooking and Bonding:

Girl’s Dinner Party Edition:

It’s true that you bond when you cook together.

For the dinner party, I invited over Chicago food blogger and Time Out Chicago Tastemaker, Mary Mangia.  She’s like, “we’re making pasta.” We both split up the ingredients and bought them. It was cute because I’ve never actually cooked dinner with someone like this and I loved it. I bought fresh basil for the first time and it was just domestic af.

We opened the bottle of champagne and chopped and sautéed in my kitchen. As we let the sauce simmer and thicken, we went out on the patio and quickly realized that I didn’t own a wine opener. Mid-talk about someone’s bad date, I headed to Mariano’s to find the most complex wine-opener ever.

We ended the night learning more about each other’s careers, relationships, and how we really are just a bunch of pasta loving bitches. Case in point, we met up at Summer Truffle Festival at Eataly a few weeks later.

Can You Cut a Watermelon Edition:

Brunch is one of the best parts of Chicago summers. I use to have a designated brunch friend and every weekend we would travel throughout the city for gourmet French toast or savory chicken and waffles. But I was glad to make my go-to scrambled eggs with a side of asparagus (yes, for some reason I like this combo, Thank you Whole30), and sausage.

I’m not going to lie, I impulse bought a personalized watermelon and thought this was the opportune moment to bring it out. My friend and Instagrammer, Lee Lepe from Chicago Standard, came to my rescue and brought out his picnic skills by cutting the watermelon for me.

It was cute and we turned my basic breakfast into a lavish brunch fit for discussing when we were going to check out Happy Place (because we’re the only ones who haven’t jumped into the sunshine ball pit). We finished brunch and headed off on our next adventure – heading to Ulta to spray tan.

How to Host a Patio Party Without Cooking For Yourself Recap:

We’re in Chicago – we all don’t have rooftop pools, so the next best thing is patio parties. This is like the one time you can host from your studio apartment.

Make a list of people you want to get to know better or catch up between their Paris vacation (seriously who isn’t in France right now?).

Add some ambiance to your patio. If it’s a day party or brunch, I suggest flowers. For a dinner patio party, make sure to get some bug spray and either light up lanterns or string lights.

Don’t put all the pressure on yourself. Cooking can be very difficult. I get that you want to impress everyone, but it’s so much better when you invite Chicago foodie’s and add an activity to your dinner party. Cook the meal together – not by yourself – and make sure you have a wine opener.

Cheers to more patio parties and more connections in the city.

 

 

 

 

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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I Don’t Know What to Call This Relationship But He Feels Like My Husband

I don’t know what to call this relationships, but he feels like my husband. I feel like we’re married. We’re not even in a relationship. We’re just friends who call each other almost every day – sometimes once a week. He knows what I’m making for dinner. I tell him I’m throwing a Ramen dinner party and he tells me, “That has a lot of carbs.” He knows how I feel about my ex. How many guys have tried to hook up with me. He sends me book recommendations. He sends me presents – that the mail person never delivers.

We talk about our dreams and our fears. He FaceTimes me, and I say “hello” to his father.

This has been going on for awhile.

And, it feels like he’s my husband – or what I imagine my husband to be like. Well, I hope my husband is in the same room as me – but he never is. Other than that, there’s a raw honesty in our conversations.

We’ve met and hung out, but it isn’t the same as our phone conversations, which usually happen at off hours after a run or a date.

We’ve had breaks. I’ve traveled and he’s traveled. We stopped talking for months – but when we start talking together – I don’t know how to describe it.

I feel like this is all I’m going to get in life – a virtual connection. No one to hug and kiss me after a long day. No one to make dinner with or travel with. And I can’t write that this is settling. We don’t even think of each other romantically – and have never slept together. But we both love each other and want the best for each other.

Seriously – what is this? I can’t say that we’re just friends. Because he’s so much more than a friend to me.

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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