Out of The Loop: Venture to the Glorious Chicago Gold Coast

Charles Fisher, Class of 2019

Charles Fisher, Class of 2019

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.

Wander through Restoration Hardware and peruse furniture with drink in hand or grab a seat under the beautiful skylight for a leisurely meal.

Wander through Restoration Hardware and peruse furniture with drink in hand or grab a seat under the beautiful skylight for a leisurely meal.

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.

Out of the Loop: Hyde Park Edition. The World beyond Woodlawn

By Disha Malik, Class of 2018

By Disha Malik, Class of 2018

Spring is, dare we say, here and summer is on its way. As the weather improves, Boothies find themselves stepping out of the Harper Center to Summer Garden, perhaps venture as far as the outdoor patio at Plein Air Cafe. As a double Maroon (former UChicago undergrad) I love it when people explore beyond the bubble of Harper. Hell, we’re going to Mandel Hall for Follies! So this article is an introduction to just a few more places in Hyde Park and the great big university just beyond Woodlawn.

Coffee - Hallowed Grounds. (1127 E 57th St)

Up on the second floor of the Reynolds Club is the dim-lit, dark paneled, gothic Hallowed Grounds coffee shop complete with pool table. The soundtrack is barista’s choice, making this feel even more like a coffee shop by the students and for the students. Its cozy vibe and devoted customer base creates a homey atmosphere that you discovered all for yourself.

Quick Bite - Grounds of Being (Swift Hall, 1025 E 58th St)

The Divinity School Cafe known as “Grounds of Being” would be my pick for a quick bite, a cup of coffee, and a great place to see how the Battle of the Gods tip jar competition is progressing. It’s super pun-ny right now, with Protestant Reformation vs. Beyonce’s Formation my recent favorite matchup. The cafe curates lunch options from around the neighborhood so if you want a falafel or some pad thai, or both, go grab lunch and maybe an Irish Catholic coffee. After all, as their mugs put it, it’s “Where God Drinks Coffee.”

Collectibles at Grounds of Being Cafe

Collectibles at Grounds of Being Cafe

Leisurely Meal - Medici on 57th (1327 E 57th St)

Medici or The Med, is a Hyde Park institution. Go for the Garbage Pizza (or Garbage Salad if you’re being healthy) and stop at the Med bakery next door for a fruit tart or a mexicana shake! Before you leave, make sure you find a moment to scratch your name in with the millions of inscriptions in the tables and walls.

Frosty Beverages - Woodlawn Tap aka Jimmy’s (1172 E 55th St)

Go beyond The Pub to Jimmy’s, nicknamed after its legendary bartender and owner (you may find it on Yelp as Woodlawn Tap) for cheap food and fare. Walk up to Woodlawn and 55th Street to sit amongst a mix of students, professors and Hyde Park locals and order up a side of fries with your drink. You won’t regret it. (PSA: It’s cash only.)

Best View of the Chicago Skyline - The Promontory Point (5491 S Shore Dr)

This was a close one between the Astronomy Tower and Logan Arts Center, but since frisbee season is almost here, I went with The Promontory Point, also known as The Point. The Point (not to be confused with the restaurant The Promontory, which is also great) is a little oasis on the South Side. It’s right on the lake, you get an amazing view of the skyline and you can always sunbathe there.

Secret Escape - Osaka Garden or Garden of the Phoenix (6401 S Stony Island)

While you’re at The Point, visit the Osaka Gardens right behind the Museum of Science and Industry! The beautiful serene space has an art installation by Yoko Ono. It’s worth it.

Study Space - Harper Memorial Library (1116 E 59th St)

This doesn’t happen often but every once in awhile, Boothies need a study space that's not the Winter Garden. For that, head over to Harry Potter… uh… Harper Memorial Library. Comfy chairs, coffee supply from yet another student run shop, Common Knowledge Cafe, and the opportunity to enjoy a little slice of the Harry Potter world.

Fantastic Find - $1 Shake Day at the C-Shop (5706 S University Ave)

$1 Shake Day! If Wednesdays are getting you down, and the “hump-day” camel isn’t helping with the fact that the weekend is far away, step over to Einstein Bros Bagels at the C-Shop to grab a shake for just a dollar. Personally I wait for the Cookies N’ Cream but I respect your decision to get that Strawberry Shake with Oreos too.

Disha loves revisiting her favorite spots on campus and would be happy to lead a tour or give suggestions to anyone who wants to wander beyond the world of Woodlawn.

OUT OF THE LOOP: Lake View's Eclectic Views

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

A recurring column about the hottest things to do outside of the Chicago Loop!

Anyone who has ventured outside of the Chicago Loop area will have stumbled--either intentionally or somewhat by accident--upon one of the city’s liveliest neighborhoods: Lake View. Geographically amorphous, Lake View mostly covers the area east of the Chicago River and west of Lake Shore Drive, while being bordered to the south by W Diversey Pkwy and north by Irving Park Blvd. However, nestled in those boundaries are baseball fanatics’ Wrigleyville and Chicago’s LGBTQ mecca, Boystown. Nevertheless, no matter what you are looking for, Lake View has something for everyone.

Take the redline CTA train up to Belmont and head east until you reach North Broadway. There you’ll find great independent restaurants and some pleasant coffee houses. Grab a hot mocha and a window seat at the Chicago-born Intelligentsia Coffee (3123 North Broadway). While you could use the space and time to study for winter exams, it’s much better to flirt with the cute Chicagoans traversing by.

For a late lunch or dinner, check out DMK Burger Bar (2954 N Sheffield Ave). Try the crispy prosciutto or aged cheddar in classic beef, turkey, bison, or a thick portobello, with a side of jazzed up fries adorned with Amish blue cheese and smoked bacon or parmesan, truffle cream. Cap off your meal with a craft beer. If burgers aren’t your thing, check out the small, but very popular, Crisp (2940 N Broadway), serving up some of Chicago’s best and crispiest (get it?) Korean fried chicken doused in signature sauces. Also part of the draw are the eatery’s bibimbop rice bowls and BYOB laissez-faire attitude.       

Industrial decor lines the interior of Intelligentsia Coffee Shop, Lake View. Photo Courtesy of Intelligentsia. 

Industrial decor lines the interior of Intelligentsia Coffee Shop, Lake View. Photo Courtesy of Intelligentsia. 

To wash down the fried chicken or to continue the pre-game, head over to Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden (3258 N Sheffield Ave), a neighborhood staple, where you can drown yourself in the flavors of over 30 draft beers, an extensive craft beer menu, and featured brews of the month. Don’t stay too long or you’ll get swallowed up by the noise of the young and rowdy crowd. Instead, head to Bobtail Ice Cream (2951 N Broadway), serving up classic homemade ice cream in an old time shop. Check out the Tuesday special for a discount on one of the creamiest milkshakes you’ll ever have!

For some organized entertainment, grab a ticket to one of the many improv comedy shows at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar (851 W Belmont Ave). Particularly great is the weekly show “Messing With a Friend” (Thursdays, 10:30pm, $5), featuring Susan Messing and a rotation of Chicago’s top improvisers from legendary improv houses like Improv Olympic and Second City, among others. If you want something even more ambiguous, catch Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater (3133 N Halsted St; tix from $35 w/ student ID). Founded in 1991, Blue Man Group has garnered a reputation for combining music, technology, and comedy into performances that have been heralded as innovative and entertaining all around the world.

Exterior beer garden at Sheffield's, Lake View. Photo courtesy of Sheffield's. 

Exterior beer garden at Sheffield's, Lake View. Photo courtesy of Sheffield's. 

If you’re just getting started, stroll up North Halsted and get your dance on at one of the many bars and dance clubs along the Boystown Strip from Belmont to Addison. A favorite is Sidetrack Video Bar (3349 N Halsted St), a large modern venue showcasing reasonably priced drinks and theme nights featuring the hits of popular artists like Beyonce and Madonna (Beyonce Night is March 15th!). Sidetrack will once again be the venue for this year’s annual #PinkParty in May, hosted by the OUTreach LGBTQ student organization at Chicago Booth.

John is always exploring pockets of awesomeness all over the great city of Chicago. Join him!

OUT OF THE LOOP: Exploring Pilsen, Chicago’s Mexican Mecca

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

A recurring column about the hottest things to do outside of the Chicago Loop!

Chicago is a city full of wonders. You can easily traverse the its unique character distinctions by riding the entire Red Line “L” route, north to south, from Howard to 95th Street. While you’ll clearly notice its economic disparities along that ride, you’ll also experience the vast diversity of the third largest city in the United States.

But let’s diverge from that seminal route and head slightly southwest off the Pink Line “L” to a beautiful cultural mecca known as Pilsen, Chicago’s largely LatinX community. While it may very well succumb to the inevitable effects of gentrification in the next decade, Pilsen remains a timepiece in the city’s rich cultural history.

Your first stop should be the National Museum of Mexican Art. The first and largest museum and cultural center dedicated to Mexican, Chicano, and Latino culture in the United States, the NMMA is the only member of the American Alliance of Museums dedicated to Latino culture. Boasting over 6,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection, art shows, and educational program, the NMMA is the recipient of the Time Out “Love Chicago” 2016 Award. 1852 W 19th St; Tuesday-Sunday, free admission; Pink Line: Damen or 18th St.

The colorful interior of The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Getty/ Chicago Tribune. 

The colorful interior of The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Getty/ Chicago Tribune. 

For a no-frills delicious bite to eat, La Casa Del Pueblo Taqueria (also includes an adjacent grocery store) is as close to unpretentious as they come. Their signature tender tamales are the draw, as well as the homemade pico de gallo--green not from cilantro, but from jalapeño. Eat up for under $10! 1834 S Blue Island Ave; Pink Line: 18th St.

The vintage selection at Knee Deep Vintage in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Knee Deep.

The vintage selection at Knee Deep Vintage in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Knee Deep.

For some thrift shopping, avoid the north side of the city and check out Knee Deep Vintage, founded by locals Trent Marinelli and Carlos Lourenco in 2008. Specializing in fashion-forward vintage clothing and accessories, as well as hard-to-find pieces from the '20s-'50s, Knee Deep brings in new finds daily (and accept trade-ins for store credit or cash), so shop often! 1425 W 18th St; Open daily; Pink Line: 18th St. 

 

The bar at Simone's in Pilsen made out of recycled pinball machines. Photo courtesy of Simone's.

The bar at Simone's in Pilsen made out of recycled pinball machines. Photo courtesy of Simone's.

When you’re ready to relax and engage in that favorite MBA student pastime (drinking), head to Simone’s. Entirely made of repurposed materials, Simone’s dons a rooftop herb garden and numerous solar panels, and is one of a few environmentally-friendly spots in the neighborhood. Catch tons of live music, art, extensive food and drink menus, and several event spaces. 960 W 19th St; Open daily; Pink Line to 18th St.

 

So, grab a friend or two, hop on the Pink Line “L” train (or catch an Uber if you must), and head to one of Chicago’s hidden, yet bustling, gems. Fill up on tamales and vintage clothing, art, and all the live music and drinks you can stomach. Then spread the word about this cultural mecca.

John challenges Boothies to get out and explore more of what Chicago has to offer!   

 

Out of the Loop

By Sidney Santos Filho, Class of 2017

By Sidney Santos Filho, Class of 2017

A frequent feature of the hottest happenings (mostly) outside of the Loop

There's More University to Discover Outside of Harper Center

From tasty milkshakes to real Nobel Prize medals, the University of Chicago offers many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered by Boothies. I am often astonished by how little Boothies seem to know about the greater university community and sometimes how little we seem to care. In chats, we often see the importance of connecting with UChicago more broadly, yet when was the last time you ventured beyond the Metra--Harper Center path? 

I decided to collect a few interesting things that might motivate you to leave our Booth bubble and, who knows, maybe stumble upon a student from another program, have a chat, and make a new friend. In the process, you can share your experiences and learn from them. So, spread the word, grab a classmate, and go explore. Here are some great ways to get started:

Food trucks prepare for the lunch rush on the University of Chicago campus.

Food trucks prepare for the lunch rush on the University of Chicago campus.

$1 Milkshakes on Wednesdays (Reynolds Club, Einstein Bros. Bagels, 5706 S University Ave): With the heat that is surely to come (we hope), why not treat yourself to a delicious shake? It’s so cheap.

Food trucks (daily, S University Ave and S Ellis Ave, between 57th and 59th streets): Many of you may know this, but there are many great alternatives to Kovler. During lunch time, there are several food trucks on campus offering diverse cuisines, from Korean and French, to Italian and Mediterranean. So put that microecon theory to work and exercise your freedom of choice!

Saieh Hall of Economics (1160 E 58th St, across from Harper Center): Besides the amazing architecture and the fact it is a former Seminary, Saieh holds two hidden gems: the Chicago Economics Experience, where you can see actual Nobel Prize medals and certificates, and a full-fledged Starbucks (ahhh...Frappuccinos!). 

Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E 59th St): For a bit of culture, Doc Films, the longest continuously running student film society, holds screenings of different movies every evening, directly across from Harper Center. Tickets sell for $5 and the quarter pass goes for $30.

King Tut stands 17-feet above the main exhibit hall at the Oriental Institute.

King Tut stands 17-feet above the main exhibit hall at the Oriental Institute.

Oriental Institute Museum (1155 E 58th St) A full-fledged campus museum housing artifacts from Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Egypt, the Oriental Institute features a 17-foot tall statue of King Tutankhamun. Visit to show your support for the field research and excavations undertaken by researchers and students. 

Sidney loves to explore the university community and would be happy to lead an excursion for anyone who wants to branch out of Harper Center!