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Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Club Blujazz
Wicker Park live music lounge specializes in … blues and jazz.

Off the Beaten Path: Mr. Daniels
Find all your Polish favorites in this Portage Park café.

Weekly Treat: Buck-a-beer tomorrow at Cuna
Lakeview lounge offers domestic bottles for just $1 on Wednesdays.

Man We're Crazy About: Tao Ran Ju Restaurant
One-of-a-kind dishes in Chinatown.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.


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.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Halsted Street Deli/Original Rainbow Cone
Try two Chicago favorites in one Loop location.

Weekly Treat: Cheap wine Wednesdays at Sheffield's
Take half off any bottle of vino tomorrow night in Lakeview.

Off the Beaten Path: Memories
Portage Park dive focuses on live music, colorful characters.

Man We're Crazy About: KnockBox Cafe
Quaint coffeehouse in Humboldt Park offers wi-fi and applesauce.

For more about what's going on this week, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

Svengoolie will be among the spooky stars at this weekend's Ghost Conference. (photo via

Chicago Ghost Conference
5-11 p.m. Friday and 8:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday; Portage Theater; $50 for a two-day pass
Join paranormal experts and speakers for this annual event about all things otherworldly. This year's speakers include Lorraine Warren from A&E's "Paranormal State" and Jeff Belanger, paranormal author and creator of, who join members of paranormal groups from around the country to educate, inform, network, share ideas and entertain others that are fascinated with the supernatural. If that's not enough, Chicago legend Svengoolie makes an appearance on Friday night.

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About this Archive

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

Old Town is the previous category.

Pullman is the next category.

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