You already know about the 15 most hipster bars in the city, but hipsters gotta eat too, don’t they? (Seriously, DO THEY EAT???) The answer to that question is a resounding yes, especially if you visit these 15 restaurants full of mustaches, flannel, and nothing but contempt for you if you didn’t know about these places already.
Located down the street from local hipster holy site Thrill Jockey Records (purveyors of music from awesome indie bands you’ve never heard of), this laid-back coffee shop/café/neighborhood art gallery isn't your typical hipster hub in that it attracts a more diverse crowd. BUT THEY'RE STILL THERE.
Somehow this place keeps surviving year after year. Calling itself an “Asian gastropub and future lounge,” they specialize in food/drink that'll make getting into those skinny jeans still totally doable (think Thai Buffalo tofu and ginger hibiscus margaritas). Stop by for weekend specials like $6 PBR and a shot or $7 ramen while dancing/being way too cool for dancing amidst futuristic club lighting and live DJs/bands nightly.
The outdoor scene here is a veritable hipster who’s-who in the summer months, when you’ll slurp down Negroni slushies and Old Milwaukee cans (for people who think PBR is “too mainstream”).
The only thing this upscale, exposed brick-adorned Pilsen spot is missing? Fixie parking out front. Really though, you'll eat maitake mushroom faro with a side of Werp Farm radishes while checking out rotating art exhibits on the wall with your oversized frames that you don't actually need to improve your vision.
11. Leghorn Chicken
Two words: free condoms.
Name of the place doesn't do enough for you on its own? How about fried chicken sliders, bourbon fishbowls, and Old Fashioned shots?
8. Antique Taco
For those who think Big Star is sooo totally passé, this still-largely-under-the-radar local taco joint is the place to be for horchata milkshakes, Mexican Pop-Tarts, and lots, and lots, and LOTS of beards.
Dusek’s earns hipster street cred you've probably never heard of thanks to its prime location within the hipster Holy Trinity that includes Dusek's, downstairs punch bowl haven Punch House, and nearby venue Thalia Hall (owned by the Empty Bottle/Longman & Eagle dudes). The $4 Schlitz and bourbon boilermakers don’t hurt either.
The only place to make both our hipster bar and hipster restaurant list, Handlebar and its mustachioed bike messenger vibe, vintage concert posters, and cool back patio feels like the kind of place you'd find lots of people with, well, handlebars. The vegan-friendly menu helped this spot reach the Top-10, but it's the house rule (“We like loud music and cannot turn it down”) that earns Handlebar Top-5 status.
4. Lula Café
If there was a Godfather of Chicago hipsterdom, Lula Cafe would be him. Just with, like, more ironic facial hair.
This new entry to the hipster restaurant scene has risen through the ranks quickly, thanks to its “Bartoon Brunch,” where you can watch animated comedy like Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, and Futurama while drinking Green River floats and PBRs. Check out occasional live indie bands like White Mystery while dining on classic double patty griddle burgers in booths that look like they were crafted in the console of some futuristic video game.
2. Boiler Room
Owned by the same crew as Parts & Labor (as well as established hipster hubs like East Room and Simone’s), Boiler Room’s claim to fame is its $8.50 PB&J special that include a slice of pizza, PBR tallboy, and shot of Jameson. Where they rack up major hipster bonus points, though: boozy Jameson soft serve, PBR meatball sandwiches, and something called PBR bingo -- where you can win prizes including PBR dartboards and PBR bag toss games. PBR. PBR. PBRPBRPBR.
So. Many. Hipster. Boxes. Checked. Too many to be dislodged from its top ranking. 1) PBR breakfast with a can of PBR, 2) 300+ whiskeys, some of which can be yours in the form of $3 shots, 3) an upstairs B&B with rooms outfitted with Apple TV, plus vintage cassette tapes consoles WITH mix tapes, and 4) the next-door Off-Site Bar, a garage of Malört and $1 Old Milwaukee cans.
1. Cafe Jumping Bean1439 W 18th St, Chicago
2. Rodan1530 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Parson's Chicken & Fish2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
4. Nightwood2119 S Halsted, Chicago
5. Leghorn Chicken959 N Western Ave, Chicago
6. Yusho2853 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
7. Analogue2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. Antique Taco1360 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
9. Bite Cafe1035 N Western Ave, Chicago
10. Dusek's1227 W 18th St, Chicago
11. The Handlebar2311 W North Ave, Chicago
12. Lula Café2537 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago
13. Parts and Labor2700 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
14. The Boiler Room2210 N California, Chicago
15. Longman & Eagle2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
Part-coffee house, part-art gallery, part-central neighborhood meeting place for the past 20 years, this warm and inviting Pilsen space not only opens your eyes with fancy caffeinated drinks (like white satin mochas and iced Thai coffees), but also opens your mind with some of the best revolving art demonstrations in the area. You be silly to ignore the fresh and plentiful food selection here, too. When you go, get a focaccia pizza with "the works," a black bean burger or whatever specialty cake they've prepared that day.
Calling itself an “Asian gastropub and future lounge,” it specializes in food/drink that'll make getting into those skinny jeans still totally doable (think Thai Buffalo tofu and ginger hibiscus margaritas). Stop by for weekend specials like $6 PBR and a shot or $7 ramen while dancing/being way too cool for dancing amidst futuristic club lighting and live DJs/bands nightly.
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.
From the Lula Cafe peeps, Nightwood's an intimate, rustic cafe adorned with mismatched antique gaslamps hung from a carved white oak ceiling. The wood-fire grill'd open kitchen slings a constantly rotating menu of heavily local, seasonal eats, and the space hosts rotating art exhibits on the wall.
Leghorn Chicken is one of the best fried-bird establishments in Chitown. Get their chicken-fried fries, or even some free condoms (seriously).
Because apparently not everything in Japan gets lost in translation, former Charlie Trotter's exec chef Matthias Merges drew on the energy and community he discovered in the country's street food scene when conceiving Yusho. His architect wife channeled his vision into an eclectic space with a bar made from century-old wood beams and a skylit back room projecting anime. Crunch on salmon and chicken skins while you sip a boozy soda or one of the formidable offerings of Japanese and domestic beers. Then share a bowl of mentaiko carbonara, a seaside leaning take on the Italian pasta with spicy cod roe and bucatini from sister restaurant A10.
Cajun is the name of the game at this Logan Square restaurant and cocktail lounge. You could to Analogue for just a drink, but you’d probably find the dinner menu, heavy on crawfish, po boys, and catfish, too tempting to pass up. The weekend brunch is one of the best, mainly because of the beignets, biscuits, and house-made bacon.
Antique Taco's a brick-n-mortar mash-up of an upscale taqueria and a Cracker Barrel, sporting barnwood tables, mismatched china and, of course, for-sale antiques ranging from glassware to old Jays potato chip tins. The fare includes housemade tortillas with Slagel Farm ribeye and boozy agua fresca.
An updated rendition of the Empty Bottle's longtime BYOB neighbor, BC's received a wood-paneled makeover and a new chef, who's serving updated American comfort vittles like an all-beef meatball w/ tomato sauce & grilled bread. And not to worry -- that whole BYOB part is still in effect.
Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.
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.
This Logan Square restaurant has been embracing the farm-to-table philosophy long before the term was so ubiquitous. Open since 1999, Lula Café is a weekend brunch destination with lines running out the door for unreal breakfast sandwiches and veggie-centric mains. The menu is always changing given ingredients' availability, but you'll find it hard to be disappointed by whatever's in store. The garden patio area is the perfect spot for sipping morning cocktails and people watching on Sundays.
Parts and Labor is a hamburger-centric barestaurant in Logan Square known for its griddle burgers, sodas, and beer. The classic double burger, topped with two slices of American cheese, packs so many sandwich pickles between buns that you'll get a taste of the crisp texture in every bite. Vegetarians, don't be turned away by the beefy signature -- black bean and vegan patties are available, and the grilled cheese sandwich is a beautiful blend of three cheeses.
This industrial restaurant-slash-bar in Logan Square does pizza, beer, and general comfort food (fried cheese balls, poutine, mac & cheese) really really well. The pizza options are staggering: aside from simple cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pies, there are more than 15 specials and a build-your-own options. The Boiler Room's real claim to fame is its PB&J special: a slice of pizza, PBR tall boy, and a Jameson. There's plenty of communal tables and a great outdoor patio, and if you couldn't tell from the aforementioned PBR and whisky special, this place is a hipster destination.
Longman & Eagle, the Michelin-starred gastropub in Logan Square, has an exclusive whiskey selection (clocking in at over 400 labels), a craft cocktail menu, and an extensive beer list all fit for the most pretentious of drinkers, in the least pretentious of atmospheres. Longman takes a flavor-forward, honest approach to eating and drinking, and because it doesn’t accept reservations, there is always a wait for brunch, happy hour, and dinner alike. (And it is always worth it.) While whiskey may be king, the regional American fare has just as much to offer, hence the Michelin star. The menu changes often, but expect anything from beef tallow beignets and veal brains to wild boar sloppy joes, chicken and waffles, and a burger that, if you know what's good for you, you will order.