Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has both the nightlife and dining to make it a great evening. From the notorious middle-aged hookup bars at “The Viagra Triangle” (Rush and State) to the late night fun at the Division Street bars, it is always a fun night.
Bordered by Old Town and the Near North side, the neighborhood is easily accessible via Michigan Avenue or the Clark and Division Red-line. If you feel like spending some serious money on apparel or accessories, Oak Street shop’s is where it is at – don’t tell your girlfriend. If you need to take a shopping break, Fred’s at Barney’s has a great outdoor patio on the top floor. Not too far are Le Colonial (French Indochina food), Q Restaurant (BBQ), and 3rd Coast (great brunch), which are local favorites.
Then venture a little farther north to State and Rush. Affectionately named for the clientele that patron the restaurants, “The Viagra Triangle” is a great place for food and drinks early on in the evening. Get a drink and watch the couples while playing the “Sugar Daddy or Regular Couple” game. This strip is home to the Chicago’s well-known restaurants including Gibson’s, Tavern on Rush, and Lux Bar. If you are looking for a little more casual meal, Velvet Taco offers some of the more creative takes on taco combinations.
Once you have wandered the triangle, the Division Street bars should be next on the list. If it is still too early, you can always go to Restoration Hardware, or “RH”, drink and look at overpriced furniture to replace the Ikea in your home. This restaurant/showroom always has a line to get a table, so expect to put your name down for a wait. As seems to be the trend these days, you can drink and shop while you wait - probably to facilitate the impulsive buying process. If you are looking for a more rustic feel, Glunz Tavern on Wells and Division is the place; I know I am encroaching on Old Town territory, so neighborhood purists please forgive me. The old school German bar has the best authentic German food and you can get a boot too! If you don’t know what a boot is, watch the epic poem Beerfest. This place is classier though and no theme music.
It should be late by this time, so it is time to head back to the Division Street bars. My favorites are Hangge-uppe (“Hang-up”), Hopsmith, Butch Mcguire's, and Zebra Lounge. All the other bars will blend together at this point. As all Boothies should know, if your feet aren’t sticking to the floor when you go to Hangge-uppe, you are there too early. Leave and come back at 3am. Zebra Lounge, on the other hand, is a great small live music piano bar that cannot be missed. Before you leave to go home, make sure to go to Five Faces on Division and treat yourself to a gyro or hamburger. You deserve it.
Charles is an Evening / Weekend student who calls The Gold Coast his home. A Chicago native, he’s always happy to help folks explore new neighborhoods in the city.