Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to neglect your hollow New Year’s resolutions to drink and eat less... by drinking and eating MORE at the hottest bars and restaurants that opened while you were off drowning yourself in egg nog. So, here they are: all eight of December's best new spots.

the franklin room

The Franklin Room

River North
This whiskey-focused tavern is the latest concept from the Union Sushi + Barbecue folks, who're doing classic comfort food like chick-fried ribeye, fried bologna, and Reuben sandwiches, as well as a healthy selection (as in, large amount-healthy, not, like, healthy-healthy) of cheese and charcuterie boards. If you’re overwhelmed by the massive (we’re talking well-over-100-varieties massive) whiskey selection, opt for one of six different whiskey flights to take the guessing out of the drinking.

Rockit Ranch Productions

Duck Inn

Bridgeport
New from Billy Dec and Kevin Hickey (the power duo behind Bottlefork), this cozy tavern effortlessly toes the line between casual neighborhood hangout and gourmet foodie haven with a penchant for all things duck. Snack on anything-but-ordinary bar fare like duck (see!) and foie tamales doused in fennel orange pico de gallo, fill up on sumac-spiced lamb saddle and rotisserie duck (see again!) for two, and revel in the ingenuity of the cognac and Chinese five spice syrup-infused Duck Out cocktail.

berrista coffee

Berrista Coffee

Old Irving Park
This new coffee shop and café from Chef Homaro Cantu (ING, Moto) is a far cry from the usual caffeine-slinging suspects, thanks to a menu built entirely around the Miracle Berry, a peculiar fruit that transforms bitter and sour flavors into sweet ones. This allows Chef/partner Azeez Yusuf to create dishes like chicken and sourdough-based waffles which, when consumed after letting the berry dissolve on your tongue, taste sweet without any added sugar. #Science

white oak tavern & inn

White Oak Tavern & Inn

Lincoln Park
Webster Ave mainstay John’s Place is now White Oak Tavern, a rustic, farm-driven resto with second-floor lodging accommodations and one of Chicago's all-time great snacks: caramel popcorn with candied pecans, bourbon maple, and aged Gouda. Yup. Also worth ordering: a massive duck board laden with fried duck leg, duck liver mousse, cherry mustard, pickled cauliflower, and grilled bread, or (/and?) a tender beef shoulder paired with potato polenta.

sean cooley

Whirlyball

Bucktown
At long last, everyone’s favorite mash-up drinking sport has moved from its old location on Fullerton into an impressive, 50,000sqft space in Bucktown, bringing with it a solid beer list, laser tag, steak rangoon, and an awesome, tap handle-covered ceiling. Check out all the deets here.

alliance patisserie

Alliance Patisserie

River North
An offshoot of popular Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park, this 20-seat sweets emporium in the former Grahamwich space offers hungry Downtown shoppers a French-leaning alternative to the area’s myriad cupcake and donut shops. Indulge in everything from macaroons and eclairs to fancy French desserts that aren't, um, eclairs. Pair it all with copious amounts of Bow Truss coffee.

Barley & Brass

Barley & Brass

Wicker Park
The same people who brought us excellent burger stop 25 Degrees have transformed the former Fame space on Division into a dimly lit, casual bar and eatery sporting plenty of leather seating and exposed brick alongside a marble-topped oak bar. Stop in for kegged cocktails (which we know you love), re-imagined classic cocktails, and an array of bar snacks including poutine, lollipop wings, and Greek-inspired sliders with feta and tzatziki.

sean cooley

Wonuts

Gold Coast
In the wake of the equal-parts-sudden-and-glorious Wonut boom, the folks behind Waffles Café have opened up a small stand in Water Tower Place that's dedicated to the eponymous hybrid treat. The simple shop is super tiny (like, no tables or chairs tiny), but if you want an instant iced red velvet Wonut and an Intelligentsia coffee on the go, this is gonna be your jam.

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Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a food blogger, bacon enthusiast, and devout user of the Oxford comma. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.

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1. The Franklin Room 675 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

This whiskey-focused tavern is from the Union Sushi + Barbecue folks, who're doing classic comfort food like chick-fried ribeye, fried bologna, and Reuben sandwiches, as well as a healthy selection (as in, large amount-healthy, not, like, healthy-healthy) of cheese and charcuterie boards.

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2. Duck Inn 2701 S Eleanor, Chicago, IL 60608 (Bridgeport Sox)

The name of this spot might conjure up images of a cute bed and breakfast, but in reality, The Duck Inn is a stylish restaurant decked in bare brick and orange accents that specializes in -- you guessed it -- duck. They aren't playing around here: The seasoned rotisserie duck, four-course chef's tasting menu, and creative dishes like potted foie gras and scallop and clam stew earned it a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016.

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3. Berrista Coffee 4219 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641 (Irving Park)

This coffee shop and café from Chef Homaro Cantu (ING, Moto) is a far cry from the usual caffeine-slinging suspects, thanks to a menu built entirely around the Miracle Berry, a peculiar fruit that transforms bitter and sour flavors into sweet ones. This allows Chef/partner Azeez Yusuf to create dishes like chicken and sourdough-based waffles which, when consumed after letting the berry dissolve on your tongue, taste sweet without any added sugar.

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4. White Oak Tavern & Inn 1200 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

White Oak Tavern's a rustic, farm-driven resto with second-floor lodging accommodations and one of Chicago's all-time great snacks: caramel popcorn with candied pecans, bourbon maple, and aged Gouda. Yup. Also worth ordering: a massive duck board laden with fried duck leg, duck liver mousse, cherry mustard, pickled cauliflower, and grilled bread, or (/and?) a tender beef shoulder paired with potato polenta.

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5. WhirlyBall Bucktown 1825 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Bucktown)

Whirlyball combines lacrosse, basketball, and a bumper car arena -- and it's also super fun. This gigantic Whirly complex in Bucktown is complete with a 32-strong beer list, Buffalo chicken BLTs, bowling, laser tag, and 60 flat screens.

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6. Alliance Patisserie 615 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

An offshoot of popular Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park, this 20-seat sweets emporium in the former Grahamwich space offers hungry Downtown shoppers a French-leaning alternative to the area’s myriad cupcake and donut shops. Indulge in everything from macaroons and eclairs to fancy French desserts that aren't, um, eclairs. Pair it all with copious amounts of Bow Truss coffee.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Barley & Brass 2015 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

The same people who brought us excellent burger stop 25 Degrees have transformed the former Fame space on Division into a dimly lit, casual bar and eatery sporting plenty of leather seating and exposed brick alongside a marble-topped oak bar. Stop in for kegged cocktails, re-imagined classic cocktails, and an array of bar snacks including poutine, lollipop wings, and Greek-inspired sliders with feta and tzatziki.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Wonuts 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Gold Coast)

The folks behind Waffles Café opened up a small stand in Water Tower Place that's dedicated to the eponymous hybrid treat. The simple shop is super tiny (like, no tables or chairs tiny), but if you want an instant iced red velvet Wonut and an Intelligentsia coffee on the go, this is your jam.

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