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.
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.
We got all this info along with beer and food tastings. It was tasty and fun!
One of the original murals in the dining room is a painting from The Worlds Fair.
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.
And some delicious potato croquettes.
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.
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?
Beer Bistro: Tons of different beers here and good food, too.
Harry Caray’s: A great old classic bar and restaurant with tons of Chicago photos and even a cool secret mobster shrine in the basement.
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!
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 is such a pretty time in Chicago, and we don’t let the weather slow us down. Between Thanksgiving and New Years there are tons of things to do. So many that I didn’t get to post about them all because they came and went already!
But one place that does it up for the whole month of December is The Lincoln Park Zoo.
The Conservatory and The Zoo are always free, and they’re inside Lincoln Park itself. You can walk around the park, see all the pretty buildings in the neighborhood, then visit the Conservatory and The Zoo.
If you time it right, you can see everything at once. Visit The Conservatory from 9-5 daily, then head over to the Zoo for the light show from 5-9! Over 2 million holiday lights festoon the trees inside the zoo. It’s sooooooo pretty!
Plus they have ice carving, and carousel and train rides.
There are stands that sell hot cider, hot chocolate and mulled wine- yum. You can even visit some of the animals. It’s fun and scary to see the big cats outside at night.
One of the things I like to do when visiting is check out lots of old stuff- buildings, restaurants, neighborhoods. Most of the time I just drive around but since L.A. is so huge, you can check out some of the local historical societies for guidance. Then of course, you’ll want to eat and drink, so I’ve included some ideas on where to do that.
Go visit the upscale shopping center Americana At Brand, where there’s a new Nordstrom and a new Bloomingdales next door at the Galleria. See a movie, check out the Mac store, or just have a coffee and walk around. I don’t usually approve of the destruction of all the old buildings they did to put this thing up, but downtown Glendale was pretty far gone and this is a big improvement.