Bars & Cafes
From the masterminds behind Avec and Blackbird, the Publican is a European-themed restaurant focused on using quality ingredients and serving over 100 types beer. The decor is reminiscent of a European beer hall, complete with rich wood accents from the wainscoting to the high back chairs and communal tables. The menu features seafood, vegetables and meat, specifically pork. The cuisine changes with the seasons and dishes have included striped bass, sweetbread and pork country ribs.
For over 30 years, this has been a classic Loop watering hole for business people, students and the occasional tourist. Stop at the bar for a drink and salty popcorn, or stay for a satisfying lunch, which includes the usual selection of burgers, salads and steaks. Or skip all those, order a pitcher of beer, and split a pizza between you and your buddies. According to Exchequer, Roger Ebert, film critic extraordinaire, ranks Exchequer's pizza as his favorite in Chicago.
Situated at the Palmer House Hilton, Lockwood Restaurant & Bar offers you contemporary fare with traces of Italian and French cuisine. Seasonal produce is used to create mouthwatering breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus. This family-friendly restaurant has entrées like Atlantic cod and white bean chicken stew on offer, along with rolls, burgers and sandwiches. There are numerous wines to choose from, whether by the glass or the bottle.
Located near the Crowne Plaza Hotel and within a 10-minute walk of Chicago's Loop theaters, Symphony Hall and the Lyric Opera, Ada's offers breakfast, lunch and dessert fare. The quiet restaurant boasts outstanding deli-style sandwiches, heavy breakfast platters and flaky, rich pastries. Take-out is available near the entrance, as is a small bar area, with the dining area towards the back. Tables are set up on the sidewalk during the summer, but the passing elevated trains make conversation difficult.
Situated just across the street from the Bank of America Theatre, the Grillroom Chophouse & Wine Bar is the lunch destination of choice for many working professionals. A great setting for business lunches, this restaurant has some amazing steaks and seafood on offer. Australian lamb loin chops and center cut sirloin in sauces like peppercorn and sage pesto are popular. Lemon-rosemary chicken, American whitefish and chicken pot pie are scrumptious entrées. A selection of wines, as well as drinks like the Cucumber Cooler and Berry Sangria complete the meal.
Considered as one of the most casual dining places La Cantina is located in the basement of Italian Village. The look and ambiance is more like a wine cellar with recessed seating and large fish tanks. Famous for its traditional Italian steaks and seafood with a North Italian twist to it. The food served is brilliant and a visual treat, try the macaroni with scallops and shrimp in a garlic-pesto cream sauce or the house specials manicotti with fresh tomato sauce, fresh Dover sole filleted tableside, shrimp casaligna and spaghetti mare Monti with one of the fine wines.
The Atwood Cafe serves everything with Americana written on it, emphasizing the grandma-got-the-apple pie-sittin'-in-the-window atmosphere. This creates a warm and delightful place for a coffee and standard pot pie with a flaky buttermilk crust alongside a luscious maple-glazed grilled pork chop. Your average dinner entrée won't bore deep into your pockets, and the experience is worth every penny!
"A Taste of Italy...Unchained!" With three locations in Chicago, this place is all Italian, all the time. Except for dinner. This location is for breakfast and lunch only and caters to a large number of professionals with generous sandwiches, salads, pastas and pizzas. The decor is predictably Italian-themed, with tastefully bland portraits of old farmers and bowls of fruit hanging on the walls. The tables, like an authentic Italian caffe, can be too close together at times and fill up quickly.
For some much-needed refreshment once you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop on the Magnificent Mile, recharge at Simply Fresh Café & Juice Bar. Located steps away from the Bean, one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, this convenient pit stop offers not only fresh-squeezed juices, but also smoothies, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. For something heartier, Simply Fresh Café & Juice Bar also serves breakfast and lunch items such as made-to-order sandwiches and wraps, coffee drinks, and a few pastries. Designed to be grab-and-go, walk to the nearby Millenium Park and enjoy your frozen yogurt along with the view so after you push your way past locals on their lunch break. -Betsy Mikel
Close Up 2 is a jazz club-cum-bar, that is an ideal venue for jazz lovers. Located across Clark Street, it features a resident band as well as invites guests performers to entertain patrons. Stylish and modern decor perfectly befits uber-cool and hip patrons. Cool cocktails and other variety of drinks, ideally complement the casual mood of its guests. While you are in Chicago, do drop-in at Close Up 2 and enjoy good music coupled with great drinks.
Old Timers Restaurant & Lounge lives up to its name. The faux-stained glass window, the nappy carpet and oak paneling scream of a 1970s style (if style is the right word for it), but the sit-down restaurant is a good, reasonably priced alternative to nearby fast-food fare. The bar and its clientele an odd mix of white- and blue-collar types also harken back to days gone by, when it was more acceptable to chug down some alcohol during lunch.