Cafe Ba-ba-reeba
Barcito
Sunda
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1. Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar 230 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

A towering two-level sushi bar with graffiti-covered concrete walls and a custom-made Robata grill, Union's Sushi-Wabi-vet chef's using said flame to work up prosciutto-wrapped scallops and garlic-soy lamb, while also kicking out noodle creations.

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2. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba 2024 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

This tapas joint is satiating Chicago with their small plates, like bacon wrapped dates (warrants a second date, for sure), goat cheese in a tomato sauce w/ garlic toast, and pitchers (after pitcher) of sangria. Call ahead to make a reservation and thank us later.

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3. The Matchbox 770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

As the self-proclaimed "most intimate bar in Chicago" at only 460sqft, The Matchbox is not for those who require substantial personal space. It is, however, for folks who enjoy high-quality cocktails like fresh lime juice gimlets and Manhattans garnished with tasty french cherries, paired with emphatic conversation with friends and strangers at very close range. Having stood at the corner of Ogden and Milwaukee for over 75 years, the divey hallway-eqsue space is a Chicago staple, with red tin ceilings, a dark-wooded bar, and ever-present rows of christmas light dangling above shelves crammed with liquor. The place serves a handful of bar snacks -- panko-crusted mozzarella, bacon-wrapped-scallops, wings -- and in the warmer months, there is side walk seating available (with far more space and far less character than the joint's interior).

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4. Howells & Hood 435 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

From the folks behind Old Town Pour House and Sweetwater, Howells & Hood is an epic beer hall in the Trib Tower, equipped with 114 beers on tap springing from 360 draft faucets spread across the 23,000sqft venue. With copper-topped bars and inscriptions on the travertine-tiled walls, the restaurant replicates the epic neo-Gothic design of the landmark space credited to John Howells and Raymond Hood, who thankfully weren't name Lipschitz and McDingleberry.

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5. Barcito 151 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

Barcito is serving up a rambunctious, awesome happy hour deal, as well as specialties like artichoke salad and something called a Booty-Collins (get it).

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6. Sunda 110 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Toeing the line between swanky hotspot and sophisticated dining destination, this Asian fusion concept from Rockit Ranch Productions is a worthy choice for an undeniably hip meal out in River North. The menu offers some seriously interesting eats (duck breast kimchi, oxtail pot stickers) and includes sushi, sashimi, and plenty of wok dishes. The beer list is heavy on the Asian pours, and there are sake and speciality cocktails as well. Sunda's decor feels just as sleek as the menu with polished black bamboo and high wooden tables.

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7. Beer Bistro North 1415 W Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

The former Small Bar Fullerton has changed hands, but will remain craft-centric now that it's BB North, a second location for the West Loop bar that flaunts more than 160 taps, and sports a menu aided by the kitchen's smoker, which'll flavor up everything from ribs to wings.

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8. High Noon Saloon 1560 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Are you a fan of Tombstone? The 1993 film, not the popular frozen pizza brand. Because you can get an Old West feel and stop eating from the freezer section thanks to High Noon Saloon, a Tex-Mex tequila bar sporting a spur-scuffed hickory floor, olde-tyme photography, butcher block tables, and fringed leather stools.

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