Do you know Wicker Park? Like, really know it? Like, you've known it since way before it was a Josh Hartnett movie? Because sure, Big Star and the Double Door are great and all, but there are some under-the-radar gems you may be missing. So keep reading -- that is, unless you hate homemade Oreos or drinking all the Bloody Marys you can for less than 10 bucks..
We like our brunch like we like our women -- bottomless: Lokal 1904 W North Ave; 773.904.8113 Sometimes your Sunday morning just needs a dose of Nutella frites, chimichurri-laden steak & eggs, or a duck confit Benedict. But a real Sunday Funday starts with all-you-can-handle mimosas ($7) and Bloody Marys ($9), ensuring that you'll need a calorie-heavy breakfast on Monday, too. If you're feeling extra-classy, go straight bottomless bubbly for $12, until you're no longer feeling extra-classy
Hilarity, craft beer, free pizza: Stand Up at The Crocodile 1540 N Milwaukee Ave; 773.252.0880 At free comedy nights, you often get what you pay for, but this particular gratis comedy showcase routinely offers serious local talent like Adam Burke, Sean Flannery, Mike Lebovitz, and Junior Stopka. And the free doesn't stop there: you get a free personal pizza with every beer. The beer is not free. That would be a crazy business model
Photo by Matthew Reeves PhotographyCan’t decide if you’re hungry or horny: Porn and Chicken at Evil Olive 1551 W Division St; 773.235.9100 The late-night bar that's caused many an ill-advised La Pasadita burrito trip throws a lewd and lascivious dance party that will cure your case of the Mondays with turntables, fried chicken, and half-naked women on the bartop. Oh, and there's porn. It's not just a catchy title
Place to nerd out for an hour: Myopic Books 1564 N Milwaukee Ave; 773.862.4882 One of Chicago's oldest and largest used bookstores, their three floors and more than 80,000 editions including a stellar selection of graphic novels (the comic book kind, not the X-rated kind). They also have an ongoing experimental music series, but again, not the kind of experimenting you might find yourself getting into at Evil Olive
Home cooking without the guilt trip of going home: Cooking Fools 1916 W North Ave; 773.276.5565 The take-out storefront of this cooking school and catering outfit is a great way to trick a date into thinking you successfully made her those shrimp & scallop cakes with citrus aioli. But more importantly, we pity the fool who doesn’t cap off a visit with a delicious homemade Oreo. Be there early -- they have a habit of selling them all
Store that’s ironically interesting: The Boring Store 1331 N Milwaukee Ave; 773.772.8108 Your mission, should you choose to accept it: check out undercover spy gear such as envelope X-ray spray, rear-view glasses, or a samurai sword umbrella for when the weather is so bad you want to commit harakiri. And the store's secret (well, kinda secret) mission is supporting youth creative writing programs, so you can flaunt your frivolous novelty umbrella with pride
You sat on your sunglasses, again: Labrabbit Optics 1104 N Ashland Ave; 773.957.4733 Having previously run an optical speakeasy from his apartment, Coyote DeGroot (coolest optician name ever) curates a selection of coveted vintage and contemporary frames such as Cazal, Neostyle, Aframes, and Ralph Lauren. And, on occasion, they go regular speakeasy with booze-backed release parties.