Chicago Sun-Times
Are you out in it? We're on it. All the street-level tunes, flicks, chow, cocktails and more from sources around the city ...

Recently in West Loop Category


Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beer Festival
5 p.m. at Delilah’s; free
What better way to celebrate the beginning of autumn than with some pumpkin beer? This tasting claims to have “every possible version” of pumpkin beer around, with tasting portions, full pours or complete samplings available.

Shecky’s Girls Night Out
5 p.m. at Union Station; $20-$30
Take the girls and shop from local and national apparel vendors while you sip complimentary cocktails. There will also be plenty of raffles and trivia contests for this ladies-only event.

Soul Summit Dance Party
9 p.m. at Double Door; free
Get your dance on at this swingin’ monthly event as DJ Meaty Ogre spins soul classics sure to make you move your feet.


Beach Boys
8 p.m. at Ravinia; $40-$65
If you're more into "California Girls" than "California Gurls," this is the show for you. The quintessential boys of summer aren't boys anymore, but expect all the sunny harmonies Mike Love and Co. have been belting out since the early '60s. Consider this an appetizer for the 50th anniversary reunion show that former member Al Jardine recently said was in the works for 2011.

Jazz Club Tour
Various locations around the city; $30
Get ready for this weekend’s Jazz Festival by hitting up 15 different clubs around the city, all aided by a convenient trolley service. Spots include Andy's, Backroom, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, M Lounge and Reggie's Music Joint.

Stimulus Social Club
5:30-9 p.m. at Market; $10
Mix and mingle for a good cause at this monthly event benefiting a new charity each month. This time around, proceeds go to ARFHouse. RSVP required.

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

Pour Drinks & Eats -- Joe Parra, the general manager of this Lakeview spot, took the garden concept up a notch with moody lighting, cozy seating, flat screens and a thought-out menu of affordable fare.
FreshBerry -- Yet another frozen-yogurt chain has set up shop in Chicago, this time in Streeterville.
Donatella Mediterranean Bistro -- Donatella Majore, owner of the now-closed La Cucina di Donatella, is back for more, opening this Mediterranean-inspired spot in Evanston.
Jimmy Green's Bar & Grill -- This self-described "all-American sports bar" serves up everything from pizza to hummus in the South Loop.
City Provisions Deli -- Gourmet catering company City Provisions (headquartered just up the street) offers up gourmet sandwiches, sides and a small selection of groceries at this shop.
Ojo de Agua Taqueria -- Get tacos, burritos and quesadillas on handmade tortillas at this taqueria on the border of Bucktown and Logan Square.
Kim & Scott's Cafe Twist -- The folks behind frozen-food brand Kim and Scott's Gourmet Pretzels now have a storefront restaurant to call their own.

Marche -- Got a steak frites craving? Better get there fast. The French West Loop spot plans to close its doors on June 13.

Martini Park -- No more adults will be playing at this River North lounge.
Sugar Syndicate -- One third of Lincoln Square's "Sweet Collective" has come down from its sugar high.
Purple Haze – The Northwestern-themed bar didn't last long in what seems to be a cursed space in Lakeview. The new inhabitant: Beer.
Shallots Bistro -- Apparently, gourmet kosher fare wasn't for everyone.
Shrimp Walk -- The Highwood Thai spot remains open for private parties.
Viet Bistro -- The Rogers Park restaurant stayed classy 'til the end.
En*Thai*Ce -- Andersonville just lost a favorite pad see eiw purveyor.

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.

Boner Petite wants to redeem itself tonight at Snubfest.

Snubfest Comedy Festival

8 p.m. at Chemically Imbalanced Theater; $10
Comedians who've been rejected from other festivals will perform at this annual event (running through Sunday), which features improvisation, sketch comedy, stand-up and even comedic music. Each night will feature a "Last Snob Standing" contest, with winning performers snagging spots on stages around the country. Tonight's performers: Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Boner Petite, Mason & Mason, A Dozen Red Roses and Unfurled.

Antibalas, The Very Best
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
It's an African celebration in the first installment of this year's Music Without Borders series. Antibalas will bring the AfroBeat-esque funk, while The Very Best (Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya and London production duo Radioclit) will branch out to include a whole range of eclectic styles.

NBA Finals Viewing Party
8 p.m. at J Bar
Whether you're a Celtics fan, a Lakers fan or just a fan of the game, this kick-off celebration for the Finals (and the beginning of The James Hotel's "Bring LeBron James to the Bulls" campaign, running through July 1). should be a good time. There will be $6 L-Train cocktails, (Jose Cuervo, lime juice, Red Bull, Triple Sec), $3 Miller Lites and a $23 Ultimate James Combo including a 40-day dry-aged burger, fries and a beer. Oh yeah, and you can watch the game on several screens throughout the space (including a big pull-down projection screen), and enjoy giveaways all night long.


Ellen Allien
9 p.m. at Smartbar; $10-$15
German-English hybrid DJ, Ellen "Allien" Fraatz, made her name in Berlin on the crest of the IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) wave. The movement swept underground club nation with new sequencer tricks featuring sonic landscapes only a computer could dream up, yet with the right human touch, it could feel as organic as watching a plant grow, especially with the addition of Fraatz's airy coo. Her crowning achievement came in 2006 on a split with producer Apparat, dubbed "Orchestration of Bubbles," which visualized the new electronica frontier. It felt like a shotgun blast of marshmallows with its blips and swooshes, and even with two follow-up flops, we're still excited to see what she's got up her sleeve. This will be great way to follow up LCD Soundsystem's show at Metro earlier in the evening. Get in for $10 before 11 p.m. by signing up with Smartbar's text message service.

Tour of Puglia
6:30-9:30 p.m. at Macello; $6-$12
Get a taste of Italy's Puglia region with this interactive event at the West Loop ristorante. Diners can purchase a $12 "passport" which allows access to red or white wine flights and a sampling of deli meats, cheeses, olives and salads in the butcher shop-themed space. Or just go for the $6 individual pizzas, topped with your favorites.

BYOP (Bring Your Own People)
8:30 p.m. at California Clipper; free
The Guild Complex's semi-quarterly "literary cocktail party" returns tonight with plenty of noteworthy offerings. Expect readings from The Encyclopedia Show, The Reconstruction Room and Rhino Reads.

We're always keeping you posted on what to see and do in the city with our daily "3 Things" feature -- but there's so much going on, we sometimes fail to turn the spotlight on the awesome food and drink events occurring daily. Hope you saved some room, because here are a few extra helpings:

Ommegang Beer and BBQ
6-9 p.m. at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap; $25
Sample some craft Belgian-style ales (including Ommegang Witte, Hennepin, Belgian Pale Ale) along with some BBQ bites (mini brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, Memphis smoked chicken) at this all-you-can eat tasting event.

Maker's Mark Bourbon Dinner
7 p.m. at The Tasting Room; $50
Tonight's three-course meal at this West Loop hangout features pairings of bourbon cocktails with each dish. You'll begin with wattleseed-rubbed venison carpaccio with toasted pine nuts and aged balsamic vinegar (drink: Maker's Mark, Tahitian vianilla and wattleseed nectar with blood orange bitters and tupelo honey). Then comes the Pork Belly Smoker with red onion and piave au gratin and Riesling apple sauce (drink: Maker's Mark, cedar smoked key lime and fresh mint nectar, mint sprig muddle, ginger ale float). Finally, take on a bone-in ribeye served with a grilled shrimp skewer, blue cheese Maker's Mark demi-glace and crispy shallots (drink Maker's Mark, Georgia peach and tarrago nectar, honeysuckle bitters). For reservations, call (312) 942-1313.

Spring Wines
7-9 p.m. at Feast (Bucktown); $20
The Bucktown spot's final tasting of the season features spring wines like muscadet, pinot noir and zinfandel. Cleanse your palate and then enjoy some of the world-spanning cuisine that's helped the restaurant along to two (soon to be three) city locations.


Girl & The Goat, Stephanie Izard's long-awaited West Loop restaurant, will finally open in June.

But if you just can't wait 'til then -- or you're not a fan of crowds -- you now have a chance to get a sneak peek at the goods a little earlier than everyone else. Izard and her cronies have begun distributing 1,000 "goat buttons" within the next week or so, each of which will have a unique number. She'll then draw 25 numbers and post them on her website on Monday, May 24. Each winner will get to bring a guest to one of the "friends and family" preview dinners at the restaurant.

Want a button? Stephanie will be handing them out at the Green City Market on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and at the 61st Market on May 22 at 11:30 a.m. You can also snag one by buying a local beer at Rootstock or one of several items (Midwest pork products, local asparagus, Milk & Honey granola, Sunshine Farms goat milk, Prairie Fruits Farm cheese, Carr Valley Applewood smoked cheddar, Half Acre beer or Three Floyds beer) at Whole Foods May 15-22. Steve Dolinsky is also giving away two tickets on his blog, too.

NBC New York reports, from “a very reliable source,” that it knows the locations of Chicago super chef Grant Achatz’s two new projects, Next and Aviary.

According to their blog, Next – the upscale restaurant with rotating historical-era-influenced menus and “tickets” instead of reservations – is moving into the shuttered Follia location in the West Loop.

In a little more shocking news, the accompanying bar/lounge, Aviary, would take over Fulton Lounge, located next door.

No confirmation of these rumors, and no time table has been announced (the mega-huge blockbuster trailer for Next only says 2010). But it likely won’t be anytime in the immediate future – you know, since Fulton Lounge is still open and all.

Updates forthcoming, hopefully sooner rather than later.

photo: the Maxwell Colette Gallery via Flickr

As Chicagoist reported yesterday, famed street artist Banksy (the creator of the hilarious new documentary, "Exit Through The Gift Shop") stopped in Chicago recently to make his mark on a wall at Randolph and Peoria in the West Loop. Check out the "Untouchables"-inspired piece while you can, and let us know if you find other Banksy work around town -- but you might want to confirm it on his website first.

Update: There may be another Banksy sighting in the Loop.

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

Manee Thai -- The popular Thai spot rises from the ashes, returning to Avondale after a fire.
The Vault -- This "upperground lounge" above Vivo offers cocktails, personal pizzas and more in an old bank vault.
Blue Frog 22 -- Kick back and have some fun at this River North spinoff of the popular Blue Frog Bar & Grill that looks more like a basement rec room. Board games and karaoke rule this bar.
Sushi Para M -- The Sushi Para all-you-can-eat sushi empire moves into Bucktown with this new BYOB location on Milwaukee.
Deca Restaurant + Bar -- The Ritz-Carlton opened this new restaurant with brasserie-inspired cuisine.
Cloud 9 -- This Taiwanese "snow ice" spot in Lakeview serves what can be described as a mix between ice cream and shaved ice, with fresh fruit and fruit purees.

Tizi Melloul -- You've only got another week to get Middle Eastern fare in a modern environment, as this River North staple closes May 15.

Follia -- West Loop Italian spot had great food, but not enough crowds.
Bar Louie (Little Italy) -- Don't worry, there are plenty of other locations to visit in the area.
Paris Cafe -- The short-lived River North spot was replaced by the generically named Chicago Bar & Grill.

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.


What is it about music and food that goes so well together? From IFC's 'Dinner With The Band' to Blue 13's rock 'n' roll dinners to Graham Elliot Bowles' Lollapalooza catering, the two arts have become increasingly intertwined in recent years. Whatever the reason, we've got no complaints about these multi-sensual pairings.

Next on the list: Eat to the Beat, a Sound Opinions-inspired dinner at Blackbird on May 27. The multi-course meal (no menu yet) created by chefs Paul Kahan (Blackbird) and Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate), with wine pairings from Lush Wine and Spirits, will feature dishes inspired by the Chicago Public Radio show featuring Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. Both critics will be in attendance, and you can be there too, for $175 (a portion of proceeds supports Chicago Public Radio). Visit the website to reserve a spot.

Well, the rumors were true...Big Boi of Outkast is among the final (we think) additions to this year's Pitchfork Music Festival lineup. But there were also a whole lot of other big names announced last night, including Swedish pop star Robyn, art-rockers Liars, Montreal indie standouts Wolf Parade and many others. The full list is below, and single-day tickets ($40) are still available for all three days of the fest.

Friday July 16
Modest Mouse
Broken Social Scene
The Tallest Man on Earth
Sharon Van Etten

Saturday July 17
LCD Soundsystem
Panda Bear
Wolf Parade
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Titus Andronicus
Real Estate
Bear in Heaven
Free Energy
The Smith Westerns
Kurt Vile
Freddie Gibbs

Sunday July 18
Big Boi
Major Lazer
St. Vincent
Lightning Bolt
Beach House
Sleigh Bells
Neon Indian
Cass McCombs
Here We Go Magic
Surfer Blood
Local Natives
Washed Out
Best Coast


102nd Annual Next Year Day
8 p.m. Saturday at Harry Caray's Tavern; $10-$15; get tickets
Party with the folks at satirical newspaper The Heckler as they celebrate another year of Cubs futility. There will be great prizes -- including tickets to Monday's home opener at Wrigley -- and music from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, as well as Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander's band, Del Crustaceans. Past parties have seen appearances by Bill Murray and Ronnie Woo-Woo, among others.

For once, the Pitchfork Music Festival is taking its cue from Lollapalooza, instead of the other way around; the fest is announcing new lineup additions in the form of coded messages on its Facebook page. The latest, as noted by Time Out Chicago, appears to be Big Boi of Outkast (code: 816 801). Stay tuned for other announcements.

A wise man once said, "Time does not exist."

We're betting that guy's out of a job now. If you're like most people, time is very real, and you wish you had a little more of it each day. Well, Real Simple magazine claims that it can provide just that. In honor of the mag's 10th anniversary, managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop hosts "15 Minutes and You're Done," from noon-7 p.m. (wait, that's not 15 minutes!) Friday at Union Station. The interactive event will feature stations and demonstrations from various Chicago celebrities (including Bachelorette Jillian Harris, NBC's Ginger Zee and others) on how women can simplify their lives. Even if you're not buying that, you might as well stop by for the free lunch, available from noon-2 p.m. Find more details here.

The event is part of a weeklong anniversary celebration, which also includes a 10-percent discount at participating retailers at The 900 Shops, and special lunch ($20.10) and dinner ($40.10) deals at the following restaurants through Friday:

Bistro 110
David Burke’s Primehouse
Epic (dinner only)
Fulton’s on the River
Markethouse (dinner only)
Rebar (dinner only)
Rockit Bar & Grill
sola (dinner only)


Henry Rollins
8 p.m. at Vic Theatre; $26.50
Talk about an enigma. The burly Rollins has been a punk-rock frontman, a stand-up comedian, a spoken-word artist and much more during his eclectic, always entertaining career. Tonight's show will be a fully seated, spoken performance, so be sure to get your head-banging in at home.

90 Years of Ravi Shankar
6 p.m. at Chicago Cultural Center; free
In recognition of Ravi Shankar's birthday and the official launch date of his personal record label, East Meets West Music, the Chicago Cultural Center hosts an evening of film and music dedicated to the legendary Indian sitar master. The evening will begin with the 2002 documentary screening of "Ravi Shankar: Between Two Worlds."

Performance Anxiety
8 p.m. at Gallery 400
This Chicago-premiere screening features a 50-minute collection of short video performances focused on cultural identity -- including issues of gender, race, class, sexuality and on- and off-line existence. Participating artists include Rochelle Feinstein, Kate Gilmore, James Murray, Jeroen Nelemans, Greg Stimac and Stacia Yeapanis.


9 p.m. Tuesday at The Shrine; $10
Known by many for the classic 1992 album "Dead Serious," this Brooklyn-born duo (Drayz and Skoob) pioneered the "-iggedy" suffix which came to be used throughout rap (The most iconic is still probably "Chiggedy check yo self before you wriggedy-wreck yo self," from the 1993 single "Check Yo Self" with Ice Cube).

Tony Kushner
7:30 p.m. at Mandel Hall (University of Chicago); $20 ($5 for students w/ valid ID)
The "Angels In America" playwright stops by U of C for an intimate chat with Charles Newell, the Artistic Director of Court Theatre, in this latest edition of Artspeaks. Kushner's latest work, a translation and adaptation of Pierre Corneille's "The Illusion," is being performed at the Court through April 11.

Dogfloydapalooza 2
9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Bottom Lounge; $20
Prep for this week's Craft Brewers Conference with this second-annual party featuring the brews of Delaware's Dogfish Head and Munster's Three Floyds. There will be 10 special beers on draft in the Bottom Lounge's second-floor Volcano Room, and music provided by Andre Williams with the Goldstars (9:30 p.m.) and Jon Langford and The Cashed Jonnies (11 p.m.). Admission price includes your first pint.

If you haven't already registered for this week's Craft Brewers Conference (April 7-10 at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers), you're pretty much out of luck, although a few events do remain open according to the website.

But who needs to sit through a bunch of boring meetings when you can enjoy the craft where it counts -- in a bar! Several of the city's favorite brewpubs and restaurants are offering special deals this week in honor of so many beer enthusiasts being in town. Here's what we've found so far:

Avec will be taking reservations for Tuesday's five-course beer dinner including selections from Brasserie Dubuisson and Vanberg & Dewulf (dining begins at 3:30 p.m.; $50 for food, $25 for pairings).

Longman & Eagle hosts a five-course dinner with pairings from Stone Brewing Co. on Tuesday, with brewery CEO Greg Koch on hand from 5-6:30 p.m. to answer questions. The $55 pairing menu will be available alongside the regular menu all night long.

The Publican celebrates with a week full of events, including a four-course Two Brothers beer dinner (5:30-10:30 p.m. tonight); late-night (10:30 p.m.-1 a.m.) beer specials on Wednesday (Dogfish Head, Stone, Three Floyds) and Thursday (Allagash, Avery, The Lost Abbey); and a beer dinner with pairings from New Holland and New Belgium from 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday.

Quenchers Saloon will offer brews from Shelton Brothers (6 p.m. Tuesday), Urthel (7 p.m. Wednesday) and Lion, Plank, Belgoo and Cucapa (4-7 p.m. Friday).

The Map Room has a full week of tasting events featuring Duvel (tonight, 5 p.m.), New Belgium (Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.), Capital Brewery (Wednesday, 5 p.m.), Flossmoor Station (Thursday, 5 p.m.) and Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Friday, 5 p.m.). Brewmasters will be attending many of the events.

Jake Melnick’s offers Lagunitas' Chicago Fusion brew from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, and all Metropolitan beers on Friday from 6-9 p.m.

Small Bar's Division Street location will host a rare beer tasting event beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday; brews include Boulder Oak Aged Mojo IPA, Bear Republic Porter, Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and more. Or head to the newer Fullerton location for a similar event including Moylan's Old Blarney Barleywine, Two Brothers Oak Aged Bare Tree and more. Lagunitas Fusion Ale will also be available during the conference.

Deleece Grill Pub hosts a four-course dinner ($50) with beer pairings from Hoppin' Frog Brewery on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Brasserie Jo's four-course menu (4-9 p.m. Thursday; $49) includes beers from Ommegang and Duvel.

Rodan pairs with Surly Brewing Co. for a four-course dinner on Thursday (7 p.m.; $50).

Hopleaf hosts Fritz Maytag from Anchor Brewing Co. on Friday at 6 p.m. The free event includes tastings of beer, cheese, spirits and wine.

Two Brothers notes all its various events here

1190606895beauty bar.JPGLook good while having fun at the new Beauty Bar. (photo: pinklife)

Baio, Kid Color
9 p.m. at Beauty Bar; $5
The late Sonotheque (sad face) gets its hair did Beauty Bar-style, as NYC's famed East Village salon-turned-hipster-DJ-hang plants a seed in our city. Owner Paul Devitt didn't come in cold, though, partnering with Empty Bottle owners Peter Toalson and Bruce Finkelman, who are filtering in artists like Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio (spinning records after his sold-out gig at the Riviera), teased with local disco-house fave Kid Color at this opening-night gala. As at all other Beauty Bars, martinis and manicures rule happy hour for $10.

Chicago Short Film Brigade Premiere
8:30 p.m. at Hideout; $8
The group's fourth season kicks off with a number of international short films, including entries from Canada, Peru, Germany, Russia and, um, Minnesota. We're especially pumped for the two short films by animator Al Jarnow, as well as the free popcorn and homemade pies from Sugar Kist.

Phinal Thursdays
8 p.m. at Red Kiva; free
This new event (last Thursday of each month) continues its "salute to Chicago underground hip-hop and cutting-edge urban apparel" with special appearances from rapper Reno Chinati and Black Orchard, as well as beats provided by PHLI Worldwide. Also on tap: $5 Absolut cocktails and a selection of gourmet flatbread pizza.

Fred Anderson (photo: Jazz Institute of Chicago)

Fred Anderson's Birthday Benefit Festival
Friday-Sunday at Velvet Lounge; $25-$30
This four-show celebration of the tenor sax legend includes an Asian Improv Records Tribute to the man on Friday, a Blackout Festival tribute on Saturday and a birthday party on Sunday featuring a two-set jam with the man and his quartet (with Jeff Parker, Hamid Drake and Harrison Bankhead).

Share Your Photos



About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the West Loop category.

West Lawn is the previous category.

West Pullman is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.