Well, those windbags were on to something because the second city isn’t just corn and cows anymore. Chicago has shed the stereotypes and become a haven for some of the hottest luxury boutiques, restaurants and places to be seen in the country.
This 1,900 square-foot boutique located on trendy Milwaukee Ave. is a pillar in the Wicker Park fashion scene, offering both men’s and women’s clothing from emerging designers like Rag & Bone, Band of Outsiders and Vena Cava. Although the store’s main attraction are the cutting edge garments, the boutique is dedicated to promoting local artists by hosting in store installations and local art and architectural speakers.
Lissa on Maxwell | 729 W. Maxwell St. | Chicago, IL 60607
Lissa on Maxwell is the newest and only boutique of its caliber in the UIC/University Village area. Located on historic Maxwell Street, once known better for its flea markets and hot dog stands than luxury fashion and sushi bars.
Though the neighborhood has come a long way since those days it’s still up and coming which is actually why Lissa chose the spot as opposed to a higher end area like the Gold Coast or Bucktown. Showcasing only the best from emerging designers like Hengst, Coven and Loeffler Randall. Lissa is sure to become a destination spot on everyone’s radar.
P.45 | 1643 North Damen Ave. | Chicago, IL 60647
An old favorite in the Bucktown shopping district, centrally located on Damen Ave., is P.45. Laden with steel beam designs and avant-garde architecture, the boutique is notorious for carrying the freshest crop of Chicago designers.
This season, P.45 is chock full of the hottest trends, including men’s wear inspired pieces, chunky knits and super cute shift dresses. My favorite piece in the shop is a gold Sretsis mini dress, detailed with a pintucked waistline for added femininity with a surprising hint of masculinity, provided by a faux tuxedo collar. Just looking at it made me feel like a bond girl.
If you’re looking for a great sushi experience without the pretensions of a high-end sushi, then head to the west loop and experience Meiji. This place gives you the ultimate dining experience by setting the perfect ambiance, as well as, by providing some of the best sushi this city had to offer.
Meiji’s menu offers obvious choices like California Maki and salmon teriyaki but for the true sushi connoisseur, who loves to experiment, they have rolls that are unique to the Meiji experience. A crowd pleaser is the Philly crunch roll, which takes an ordinary Philly roll and magnifies the taste with Wasabi cream cheese, scallions, and cilantro. The restaurant is worth a try if you’re looking for a fine dining flavor adventure.
Fixture | 2706 N. Ashland Ave. | Chicago, IL 60614
If you think the only spot to grab a late night bite consists of ordering from a dollar menu then you haven’t been to north side locale, Fixture. Open until 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends, Lincoln Park night dwellers can stop in to cap off their evening with a glass of wine from Fixture’s deluxe by-the-glass selection or interesting fare from their small plate menu.
The delectable small plates come in both hot and cold varieties, with interesting options like the “Creole dusted” calamari, grilled sausage and truffled potato salad and saffron risotto. For the less daring, there are classic American treats like beer battered fish and chips, grilled cheese and buffalo sliders. Sure beats the dollar menu
Las Palmas | 1835 W. North Ave. | Chicago, IL 60622
For traditional Mexican fare without traveling to the Little Village neighborhood, go to Las Palmas in Bucktown. The menu features all the classics: fajitas, burritos, chiles rellenos and enchiladas but veers off course with a small portion of the menu dedicated to Nueva Mexican house specialties like the “La Casa Borracha” – a tequila and pineapple-glazed skirt steak with a side fried potatoes and rum-soaked plantains
If margaritas are your favorite part of a Mexican menu, you’re at the right place; Las Palmas has nearly 50 tequilas to satisfy your drink tooth. I f you come in on a weekend, plan on doing a little chair dancing after your meal because a DJ spins every Friday and Saturday beginning at 11 p.m.
Recognizable only by the green, neon cross above the door, RelaX is the newest hot spot to hit the East Village. Named after the medical term for prescription, the space was originally an old pharmacy.
Inside the walls are papered with vintage looking damask wallpaper and framed photos of dead rockers. On weeknights the atmosphere is chill with the exception of dollar burger night on Wednesday and the weekend is packed from front to back with suburbanite bar hoppers.
Juicy Wine Company | 694 N Milwaukee Ave. | Chicago IL 60622
Hidden on the outskirts of river north, Juicy Wine Company is truly a diamond in the rough. The small building with a quaint wooden facade is hardly noticeable to passer-byers but once you catch a glimpse you cant help but wonder what’s inside.
Upon arrival, you’ll walk into the wine bar’s market stocked with imported cheeses and a floor to ceiling wall of wine bottles. Head further back to a lovely seating area that just shouts romance. This place is perfect for a first date or a laid back evening with your pals.
Rodan | 1530 N Milwaukee Ave. | Chicago, IL 60622
This hipster hot spot is happening every night of the week. Catering to locals with a guest DJ every night spinning anything from House to Soul and everything in between. Plenty of lounge seating is available throughout the bar.
If you feel like shakin’ it to the music a small dance floor is available in front of the DJ booth and projection screen but it’s rarely gets moving ‘til after midnight. Even if dancing isn’t your thing, sit closer to the front for a laid back evening of Milwaukee Avenue people watching and an amazing Asian fusion meal.
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