The Berghoff, Chicago

Why have I lived in Chicago for two years and not been to The Berghoff till yesterday?


I knew it was old and cool, but the website is confusing. It was closed, then it was reopened, the concept seemed different. I dunno, I just didn’t. But we like to go out after work so I’m always looking for cool old places. I saw that The Berghoff was having a Flights and Bites event last night, and it was only $15 per person, so I got us some tickets. I don’t see another one scheduled anytime soon, but they do have lots of other events.

ANYHOW, we went and it was fab. The bar and the whole restaurant, in fact, IS old and cool.

berghoff bar, chicago

The Berghoff started during the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Mr. Berghoff couldn’t afford a booth at the fair, so he sold his beer outside the gates. He opened the bar (saloon) in 1898 as a men-only place where he gave out corned beef sandwiches with the purchase of a stein of beer. Later the restaurant opened. But the bar stayed men only till 1969. 1969!!! This place is soooooo cool, that after prohibition, they got liquor license #1 from the city.

berghoff chicago liquor license #1

We got all this info along with  beer and food tastings. It was tasty and fun!

flights and bites, at the berghoff in chicago

One of the original murals in the dining room is a painting from The Worlds Fair.

berghoff worlds fair mural

After the tasting we went to the bar to eat and drink more. They have a seasonal “Stock” beer right now that was super good.

berghoff seasonal beer, stock

And some delicious potato croquettes.

potato croquettes from berghoff in chicago

The Berghoff is located at 17 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603. So if you’re just visiting, and especially if you live here, be sure to go!  They serve  lunch in a downstairs cafe from 11-2 Monday thru Friday, and a more substantial lunch and dinner in the bar and dining room from 11:00- 9:00 Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Cuuuute Jungle Themed Baby Shower Pics, and where to get decorations

My brother and sister-in-law are having their first baby, and the first baby in the family in 16 years, so we’re all pretty excited. My mom, two of her friends, and I decided to give her a fun baby shower. I think animal theme baby stuff is so great and decided on a jungle theme for the shower. Now they’re even doing the nursery in jungle theme. Lucky for all of us, it’s a really popular theme right now, so stuff is pretty easy to find.

I found a ton of ideas on Pinterest, of course. One of my mom’s friends took charge of the menu, and the other one did the flowers, and sourced some cute animal cookie party favors. Mom bought the cake and hosted.

It came out great, if I do say so myself.

We started with these fun invitations from Etsy Seller DesignsByDVB. She was great to work with and made several changes really quickly for me.


jungle theme party ideas

My mom gives a lot of parties so she had all the tables and chairs, linens, silverware, glasses and even the jungle print napkin rings! Since she already had the orange plates we decided to do a color scheme of oranges, yellow, and reds for the tables. This was a little more sophisticated than pastels, which I liked. I got the zebra runners and the fans (it was so hot!) as well as the little plastic animals at Windy City Novelties. also carries them. The animal print baby bottles came from Target, the flowers from Trader Joe’s. Mom’s friend did a wonderful job making grocery store flowers into cute arrangements! I got the animal faces for the buntings from Etsy seller WithEnvyPaper. The balloons were from the local party store.

use baby bottles for flower arrangements at a baby shower

SUCH a cute idea to put the flowers in baby bottles, and a plus that mom’s friend found animal print ones!

jungle theme baby shower

baby shower foodMom’s friend prepping the food.

Curry Chicken Salad, croissants, and fresh summer berries

Such a delicious idea- curry chicken salad, fresh berries, and mini croissants.

Spiked lemonadeI wanted to have a single cocktail for the cocktail hour, then wine and iced tea for dinner. I decided on a sparkling basil lemonade, that could have alcohol added to it for those who wanted it. I started with a glass filled with ice, 3 oz Simply Lemonade (I have never had luck making my own lemonade), a torn basil leaf, then topped off with sparkling water. For those who wanted it spiked, I added an ounce of gin and half an ounce of St. Germain. Really good and refreshing. Some people thought it was a little too sweet. If so, you can use less lemonade.

The original idea was to serve the drinks in baby bottles and mom and dad went all over town to find the right ones, but in the end, we couldn’t find crushed ice (it was a Sunday) and regular ice was too big to fit. With a little bit better planning, that would have been SO CUTE. Oh well, maybe next time…;)

baby bartenderMy other brother (not the daddy) surprised everyone with this fab bartender costume, LOL!

Head Snapper wineMom likes this white wine and I liked the label, LOL. The color scheme also went with the table decor.

The guest of honor and the young cousinsThe guest of honor sat at the end, with all the young cousins.

Not lame baby shower gamesI decided on 3 games plus an extra if there was time. We gave out Starbucks gift cards as prizes. Whose Your Daddy- link the celebrity kid with the celebrity dad, extra points for getting and spelling the last name correctly.

Great baby shower game ideasGuess the baby- I had people bring baby pictures of themselves and the guest had to guess who was who. I copied them all in black and white and in the same size for uniformity.

Baby Trivia, great baby shower game ideaOne of The guest of honor’s oldest friend happens to also be very smart and hilarious, so we had him MC the party and write and host a trivia game. I think the young people liked it better than the older ones, but all around it was pretty fun.

Baby shower trivia

Concentrate, ladies! Daddy-To-Be helping out.

Jungle theme baby shower cakeMom got this adorable cake from The Village French Bakery in Glendale, CA.

jungle cakeWe got chocolate on the bottom, coconut in the middle and strawberry on the top. The coconut was by far the best layer, followed by the strawberry. The animal decorations came from Michael’s.

Custom shortbread animal cookies for baby shower favors

Got these adorable shortbread animal cookies for party favors at Valley Bakery in Oak Park, CA

jungle theme baby shower

Congratulations Sarah and Dave!



Where can I watch The Blackhawks in Chicago?

Everybody loves the Blackhawks! You can go watch them live at the United Center if you can get tickets. Or watch them on TV with a bunch of other fans at one of these Official Blackhawks Bars.  Official Blackhawks Bars play the game on most or all of their TVs and there’s sound- other games on other TVs are muted. Also, they have the spinning red light and play the Chelsea Dagger  song when the Hawks score, which is fun. These are some of my faves: Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Old Town:

  • Butch McGuires. Bonus points if you go near Christmas for an out of control decoration situation.
  • The Lodge: Super low key, oldey timey and retro- one of the oldest bars in Chicago! Also, kinda lodgey.
  • The Snuggery: Ok, I’ve never been here but I like the name. Who doesn’t like to snuggle while watching sports and drinking beer?

Lincoln Park: 

  • Beer Bistro: Tons of different beers here and good food, too.
  • Crossroads Public House: This is where we celebrated the 2013 Stanley Cup Victory
  • Michael Diversey: Very lively, full to brimming with Bros and Trixies- but still, it’s our go to Blackhawks Bar, plus they have good food

River North:

If none of these appeal to you, you don’t HAVE to go to an official bar, pretty much any bar with a TV in Chicago will be playing Hawks games, or will put them on if you ask. Also! If you’re really a Blackhawks fan, be sure to go have a meal at The Palace Grill. Not only is it a neat old vintage diner, but it’s by The United Center and packed with Hawks stuff. Rumor has it that the players themselves stop in from time to time, too. Fun!

Winter Things To Do in Chicago- Butch McGuire’s

If you live in Chicago and haven’t been to Butch McGuire’s you are seriously out of it! It’s been around forever and is a Chicago institution! Get over there soon- Christmastime is the best time to visit. They spend two months decorating for Christmas with tons of lights and even a working train set that hangs from the ceiling. Good food, great drinks (perfect Irish Coffee)- we even went last year for their New Years Eve party. It was fun and not all crazy and ridiculously crowded. They have daily specials and weekend brunch, too. Now go on, go.

Winter cocktails at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

Christmas at Butch McGuire's, Chicago

Christmas at Butch McGuire's, Chicago

Butch McGuire's is a great spot for an Irish Coffee in Chicago

Warm up with drinks at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago


Winter Things To Do in Chicago- Christkindlmarket!

The Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza is an authentic (and free!) European (German mostly) Christmas marketplace. You can get handmade ornaments, scarves and hats, Christmas decorations, mugs, cuckoo clocks, candies and much more. They also sell German food, hot cider, beer, and warm spiced wine- yum! Pro Tip: go after work during the week instead of on the weekend, it’s prettier at night and you can beat the crowds!

The Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza, Chicago

The Christkindlmarket, Chicago

Authentic German Christmas market, Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Handmade ornaments from all over the world are available at The Christkindlmarket in Chicago

You can get fun international candies at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago