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Recently in Irving Park Category

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

Cumin -- Finally, Wicker Park gets an Indian restaurant!
Phoenix Inn -- The Evanston favorite has risen from the ashes to serve Chinese fare once again.
Seasons 52 -- Expect fresh grill fare and plenty of wine at the first area location of this nationwide chain.
El Llano -- The Colombian restaurant gets a second location in Irving Park/Avondale.
I Dream of Falafel -- Now you can get your falafel fix on Monroe.

Cookie Bar -- You can expect to get 18 varieties of cookies at this Lincoln Park bakery...starting tomorrow.

Tizi Melloul - We may have seen the last of the $3 martini.
Cuatro -- After faking us out a few months ago, the upscale Latin spot is now closing for good.
Baja Fresh -- Sorry, fish-taco lovers...the national chain is closing all its Illinois franchises.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

This could be you on Saturday. (photo: Hop Cast)

Dark Lord Day
10 a.m. Saturday at Three Floyds Brewing; free
Even if you didn't snag one of the coveted "golden tickets," which give you the right to purchase bottles of the rare Dark Lord Imperial Stout, it's worth heading down to Munster, Ind., for this all-day party including tons of other awesome beers, live music and more.


We have to give you credit, CTA. After all the ways you’ve screwed us over in 2009 (full buses passing us by, trains running express when we least expect it, the persistent odor of bodily fluids), you think you can make us forget all of it by offering penny rides on New Year’s Eve. And you know what? It just might work. Because instead of writing up a list of grievances, we’ve been busy brainstorming how to spend those cents between 8 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday. Here’s what we’ve come up with (not including all the New Year’s Eve events on the slate):

  • Hop on the Red Line and spend some time at the Jackson stop, where you’ll surely find a music performance in progress, whether it’s classical violin or jazz on electric guitar. Increase your enjoyment by stopping by Ceres Café for a drink with the traders first.
  • Take a ride over to the Chicago Blue Line stop to view the new installation from local artist Peter N. Gray. While you’re there, head above ground for a cocktail at the Matchbox and maybe a heart attack (the Three Little Piggies Sandwich) at the nearby Silver Palm.
  • Plan a Pink Line journey to 18th St, where the decorated station will have you in awe. Not only that, but perennial favorite Nuevo Leon is just a short walk away (and if you’re taking a ride on the tail end of the deal, Panaderia Nuevo Leon opens at 5:30 a.m.)
  • Pre-party with the Wildcat faithful at Tommy Nevin’s Pub in Evanston, off the Purple Line’s Dempster stop – the diehards have plenty to prepare for, as Northwestern plays its biggest football game in several years on New Year’s Day, against Auburn in the Outback Bowl at 11 a.m. (if you can’t bear to leave the city, try Lion Head Pub – by the Fullerton stop – or the brand-new Purple Haze, steps away from Belmont).
  • Ride the Brown Line out to Francisco, just so you can confirm it exists (seriously, it’s gotta be the least referenced stop on the North Side). The welcoming Montrose Saloon is a short jaunt south.
  • Go for a late, late dinner (or an early breakfast) at the 24-hour Huck Finn Donuts near the Pulaski stop on the Orange Line. We recommend the Donut Delight (topped with whipped cream and ice cream).
  • Brave the cold and take a walk to Promontory Point, near the Garfield Green Line stop in Hyde Park. It’s the perfect place to toast to 2010 (with non-alcoholic beverages, of course).

Got better ideas for how to take advantage of cheap public transit on New Year’s Eve? Let everyone know in the comments. And remember to check out Centerstage’s Virtual L to find the best spots near train stops year-round.

The Holy Hour House Band performs at The Kerryman.

Yesterday's news that the city may cancel or shorten several of its biggest summer festivals came as something of a shock, even if it makes good fiscal sense. Seriously, if the 50-year-old Venetian Night can be chopped, is nothing sacred?

You'd better have a backup plan to get your fest fix. We're not sure where else you can go to see boats loaded up with lights, but we do know of two upcoming ways to dull the blow in case (god forbid) the Celtic Fest is ever sent back to the Emerald Isle.

One: Magners Irish Sessions. This series of concerts sponsored by Magners Irish Cider, which began last month, features the city's best known traditional Irish musicians playing songs in intimate settings (plus, lots of cider). Upcoming events:

  • Friday, October 23: The Holy Hour House Band, 9-11 p.m. at Chicago Gaelic Park, 6119 W. 147th, Oak Forest
  • Thursday, October 29: Danny Burns and The Defectors, 8-10 p.m. at Mystic Celt
  • Friday, October 30: Danny Burns and The Defectors, 9-11 p.m. at Hidden Shamrock
  • Thursday, November 5: Danny Burns and The Defectors, 8-11 p.m. at Abbey Pub

Two: iBAM!. Did you know the Celtic New Year is coming up soon? Celebrate it with three days of books, arts and music at the Irish American Heritage Center.

It starts with a $100 black-tie-optional dinner (6-11 p.m.) on Friday, October 30, with entertainment from the likes of Malachy McCourt and Black 47. On Saturday and Sunday, the fun continues, with a $5 admission fee getting you access to book sales, panel discussions, live dance, theater and more (11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily). Because it is Halloween weekend, expect a costume parade, face painting and a presentation on the life of Bram Stoker (writer of Dracula). You'll need to pay a little extra for access to the full Irish breakfast (11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday) and concerts from Black 47 (7 p.m. Saturday) and Maura O'Connell (7 p.m. Sunday). Tickets are available on the website.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Irving Park category.

Hyde Park is the previous category.

Jefferson Park is the next category.

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