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.

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- Zoo lights at Lincoln Park Zoo!

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.

Christmas decorations inside The Lincoln Park Conservatory

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!

holiday lights at the lincoln park zoo, chicago


Plus they have ice carving, and carousel and train rides.

winter at lincoln park zoo

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.

mulled wine at lincoln park zoo holiday lights

The Lincoln Park Zoo website has all the details and schedule.

lincoln park zoo christmas lights


lincoln_park_zoo_holiday lights

I guess this year they even have an ice skating rink– fun!

If you are still up for it, you can wander into the Lincoln Park neighborhood and stop at Galway Arms for a hot spiked beverage in front of one of their toasty fireplaces.

winter Holiday drinks at Galway Arms, Chicago


Things to do in L.A.- visit history

Do like the locals and stay out of the tourist traps! Captions are links.

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.

Glendale Historical Society

Los Angeles Historical Society

Pasadena Museum Of History

Burbank Historical Society

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

vintage window decorations

A vintage window decoration at what’s currently a Sprint store on California and Brand in Glendale

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.

Then you can go to Pasadena for more shopping, visit the Norton Simon Museum, which is small enough to explore in a couple hours but holds a ton of great art.

Do some shopping in OId Town. Old Town is a great example of restoring and reusing the old buildings instead of just tearing them down and putting in a mall.

old town, pasadena, ca

Old Town Pasadena

cassell's burgers, los angeles

So vintage! Cassell’s Burgers at 3266 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020 So vintage, they don’t have a website!

cassell's, los angeles

Old Fashioned burgers at Cassell’s, Los Angeles

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell's

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell’s

Pick what you want at Cassell's

Pick what you want at Cassell’s

No, that's not an egg, it's a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell's

No, that’s not an egg, it’s a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell’s

I’m sure you all know some cool out of the way spots in the L.A. area, so be sure to let me know about them in the comments!