Food & Drink

The 28 Best Bars & Restaurants Along the 606

Published On 06/05/2015 Published On 06/05/2015
Jennifer Bui/Thrillist
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TITUS RUSCITTI/THRILLIST
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La Encantada
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1. Hollywood Grill 1601 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622-2246 (Wicker Park)

Open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, Hollywood Grill is for when late nights roll into early mornings, if you follow me. Like, you were out partying, and it got late, and now it’s morning. And you want a side of grilled chicken fettuccine Alfredo with your pancakes.

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2. Choppers 1659 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Bucktown)

Choppers fills your belly with deliciously simple burgers, topped with basics like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and bacon. Get your authentic Chicago burger experience card punched with the Choppak, "The Happy Meal for Adults" -- a double cheeseburger with fries and homemade slaw.

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3. Bucktown Pub 1658 W Cortland Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Nothing starts the day like a PBR and shot of that whiskey you used to steal from your old man’s liquor cabinet before you knew any better. Call it an eye opener. Or just relax in the chilled-out back patio with a $10 pizza, your call.

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4. Louie's Pub 1659 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Participating or people watching, it’ll be a good time so long as you have a table to call home base. Otherwise you’ll be swept up in a sea of Fugee crooners killing you softly.

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5. Lillie's Q 1856 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

LQ's a patio-abetted 60-seat temple of slow-n-low BBQ, decked with butcher's hooks outfitted with Edison bulbs, tables made from reclaimed barn boards, and seriously delicious barbecue-style smoked, fired-up meat. We think that Lillie's serves up the best BBQ in Chicago, and locals agree.

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6. Las Palmas 1835 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Go just a little more upscale at this romantic date spot. Split an order of French-cut polle en mole over a few mojitos and hit the trail together. There are definitely worse ways to get to know one another.

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7. Lottie's Pub 1925 W Cortland St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Bucktown)

Born in 1934 as a destination for Chicago’s mobsters to gamble and indulge in prostitution, the modern-day Lottie’s promises its guests beer, bar snacks, and a little slice of history. The pub has, obviously, undergone renovations, but its exposed brick walls, wood paneling, and various memorabilia help maintain its old-time, neighborhood atmosphere. Now offering a full menu of bar food favorites -- chicken tenders, nachos, burgers, pizza, and the like -- and a large selection of cheap beer, the two-story dive draws a mixed demographic to its corner in Bucktown.

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8. Lemming's 1850 N Damen, Chicago, IL 60647

Lemming’s remains one of the neighborhood’s most underrated bars, and they like it that way. One of the few regulars joints (along with Map Room) in a constantly changing area, we’re hesitant to even mention it for fear you might ruin it. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?

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9. Presidio 1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

This cocktail-focused lounge in the old Bluebird space keeps things California breezy with exposed brick walls, plush couches and chairs, and a West Coast-leaning beverage program. Pick your poison from a selection of CA wines, beers, and cocktails inspired by Bay Area classics such as the Tommy’s Margarita and Pisco Punch. The food menu (crafted by Chef Shaun Connolly) is similarly influenced, with California-grown ingredients like sunchokes, kumquats, and Meyer lemon adding interesting touches to dishes like scallops, wild salmon, and olive oil cake.

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10. The Map Room 1949 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

With flags and world maps decking the walls, Bucktown's The Map Room is a self-described "traveler's tavern." Appropriately so, it's a drinking destination for any beer geek passing through Chicago. Since opening in 1992, the bar has struck up deep ties in the brewing community, and the rare and varied brews on its insanely long beer list are proof of its status as a beer mecca. The Map Room takes tastings to the next level with "Beer School," a 20-plus year tradition hosted by various brewmasters that will teach you everything you need to know about beer.

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11. Roxie's by the Slice 1732 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60647 (Wicker Park)

Brendan Sodikoff checks "pizzeria" off his restaurateur bucket list with Roxie’s, a cozy, 56-seat, brick-fired ‘za mecca in the former Café Con Leche space, where Chefs Cameron Magee and Chad Anderson are slinging 28in Brooklyn-style pies by the slice. Toppings include hot coppa, serrano ham, pork salami rolled in black pepper, sweet peppers, and more. Thirsty? Snag a cold one from the shop’s selection of craft beers.

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12. Irazu 1865 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

Irazu has a blend of surprises and reliable standards that make it a solid place to stop for eats. Dishing out mouth-watering pepito sandwiches (ribeye steak or chicken), a unique oatmeal shake (surprise!), and a number of delicious empanadas and burritos, this Bucktown Costa Rican spot is perfect for any occasion.

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13. Silom 12 1846 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

Sure, you could get the pad Thai at this trendy spot. And while it’s good, it’s criminal to overlook the more creative offerings at this top-of-the-line Thai joint including Osso Buco and the shrimp/crab meat/fried eggplant mouthgasm-inducer known at the Thai Coon.

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14. The Handlebar 2311 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Wicker Park)

This hipster-approved restaurant and bar in Wicker Park serves a vegan and vegetarian menu of American classics. Breakfast is served daily until 3pm (don't worry, there are plenty of egg dishes) but expect seitan sausage instead of bacon. The rest of the menu (it serves lunch and dinner too) is filled with meat-free bar bites like fried avocado tacos, chili cheese fries (available with vegan queso), soy-based sloppy Joes, all of which taste especially good when paired with a drink in the beer garden.

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15. Belly Shack 1912 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Opened by the Urban Belly folks, Belly Shack is Chicago's best (and possibly only) Korean-Puerto Rican restaurant, a cozy spot nestled underneath the Blue Line in Logan Square. Designed with industrial-feeling black and white graffiti'd murals adorning gray walls and a menu of options like lemongrass chicken sammies and hot & sour soup, it's no wonder Belly Shack has become a cult favorite amongst even the most chi-chi Logan Square foodies.

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16. Green Eye Lounge 2403 West Homer St, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Conveniently located under the Western Blue line stop, this unassuming neighborhood joint has a retro fridge filled up with old school games like Uno, and a $5 shot-and-beer combo everyday. If you’re lucky, the tamale guy will show up.

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17. 90 Miles Cuban Cafe 2540 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

There're plenty of reasons to love this easygoing Cuban cafe (with a sibling in Roscoe Village). You'll find tasty Cubano sandwiches and ropa vieja, hearty chicken and skirt steak, and really good seafood soups here. It's also BYO, and if you bring your own rum, you can get a pitcher of mojitos.

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18. El Nuevo Borinquen 1720 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Humboldt Park)

Home of the Jibarito, El Nuevo Borinquen is still regarded one of the best spots for authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Even with a new look and management, patrons can still enjoy classics like the Jibarito and empanadas.

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19. Parson's Chicken & Fish 2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Parson's Chicken & Fish in Logan Square knows a thing or two about deep-frying -- the menu features chicken, fish, hush puppies, and cheese curds in all their breaded and battered goodness. Not everything is deep-fried though; there's a small raw bar selection and small plates to share. The spot is upscale for a quick-serve spot, and its large outdoor patio is one of the top summer hang spots in Chicago.

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20. Dante's Pizzeria 3028 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

This Logan Square pizzeria -- with another location in Avondale -- serves New York-style pizza with a quirky punk rock/heavy metal-themed vibe. Available in extra-large 20" pies or by the slice, the pizzas are made with a notoriously strong and foldable crust ready to handle an abundance of toppings. Though cheese, sausage, and pepperoni pizzas are on the menu, Dante's speciality is unusual pies topped with anything from shrimp and prosciutto to sausage and broccoli rabe. Your best bet is to trust whatever the kitchen is cooking up and order the slice of the day. The spot is super laid-back and has some old-school arcade games to play while you wait for your pizza.

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21. Sink | Swim 3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

From the good people that brought you the gin-focused Scofflaw and the dance-ready Slippery Slope, nautical-themed Sink|Swim proves its seafood game is on point with affordable yet refreshingly inspired offerings like a shrimp toast tea sandwich and monkfish liver torchon. As for the digs? Charming, with whitewashed walls, teal tufted seats, and framed ocean-themed paintings hung along the perimeter.

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22. Zoku Sushi 1616 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

From BLT to sweet potato, the ridiculous variety of inventive sushi rolls here can be overwhelming. Stick to the “city maki” section of the menu and you won’t be disappointed, with on-point rolls named after cities like the eel/cucumber/avocado/jalapeno sensation New York.

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23. La Encantada 3437 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Expand your horizons beyond the taco truck at this artful neighborhood gem offering things like elote soup, flan, and banana enchiladas. For something new, try the Chile Relleno de Queso, a poblano pepper stuffed with chihuahua cheese, deep fried in egg butter and topped with tomato sauce.

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24. Weegee's Lounge 3659 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

One of the area’s more unsung cocktail spots is the perfect place to toast with a low-key martini and a game of shuffleboard. With the western end of the trail just a few blocks away, this place is always on the verge of being discovered.

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25. Scofflaw 3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

This classy bar in Logan Square will make a gin lover out of even the most gin-averse of clientele. It's one of Chicago's top cocktail bars because it proves that the versatility of gin extends far beyond the usual G&T and because it's outfitted with antique sofas that are palatial AND comfortable. Scofflaw also serves a menu of better-than-basic small bites, and the kitchen is open until 1am daily.

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26. Mindy's Hot Chocolate 1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Wicker Park)

Pastry chef Mindy Segal's Bucktown restaurant is synonymous with comfort food from both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Mindy's Hot Chocolate serves soul-warming dishes, like the Slagel Farm beef burger topped with a fried egg, creamy mac & cheese, and daily soups with crusty sourdough bread. Of course, a meal here isn't complete without dessert, which should include an order of the amazingly rich hot chocolate and a slice of the daily cake (or anything off the dessert menu -- it's all addictive).

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27. Roeser's Bakery 3216 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Humboldt Park)

This historic family-owned bakery is known for its ultra-creative custom cakes (ie. hot dog, barber pole, and Wonder Woman cakes). They also offer traditional wedding cakes, cookies, tortes, and low-glycemic options.