Bars Archive



February 2016



Budapest: Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub

Written by , Posted in Travel

It’s nearly impossible to put into words the strange awesomeness that is Szimpla Kert. Szimpla Kert is Budapest‘s first and most popular ruin pub – bars created inside abandoned, run-down buildings with unused outdoor space and decorated with an eclectic mix of vintage decor that many would consider garbage. We first explored Szimpla Kert one afternoon before heading out for dinner and I highly suggest a visit during daylight hours to fully appreciate this unique bar. At night the place is packed wall to wall but during the day it’s an almost quiet, peaceful spot to kick back and enjoy a beer or giant glass of rosé for under $2. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this quirky little place!

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Lion + Maven | Budapest

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert, Mermaid



March 2015



Food & Drink in New Orleans

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

When it comes to food, we are straight up spoiled. Chicago has hundreds upon hundreds of truly great restaurants and we take advantage of that every chance we get. Lucky for us, New Orleans had no shortage of fantastic restaurants in every shape, color, and size and it was nearly impossible to narrow down our choices for our 4 day visit. Thanks to the one-two punch of a sinus infection and stomach bug, I wasn’t feeling my best for most of the trip;  although it may have slowed me down, it definitely didn’t stop me from getting my eat (and drink) on in NOLA!


301 Tchoupitoulas St

I wasn’t feeling well and we had to cancel our Friday lunch reservation at August, but their prix fixe lunch special is too great of a secret not to mention. For $20.15 you get three courses at chef John Besh’s highly acclaimed flagship restaurant and that just can’t be beat.

Café du Monde
800 Decatur St

Once you starting seeing powdered sugar lining the sidewalk, you’ll know you’re close to Café du Monde. Crowded and definitely a place some may consider a tourist trap, but their warm, sugary beignets are famous for a reason.

Cafe Du Monde Beignets

Cafe Du Monde Beignets

Central Grocery
923 Decatur St

Just down the street from Café du Monde is Central Grocery, the spot where you can find their famed Muffuletta sandwich. I don’t even like olives, but I loved this sandwich. If the line is long at Café du Monde, send your traveling partner to Central Grocery to grab a sandwich for later while you wait.

New Orleans, Central Grocery, Muffuletta

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave

A New Orleans institution. We stopped in for lunch and it was easily the most memorable meal of the trip. Along with their 25¢ martinis, we started with the Shrimp & Tasso Henican and the soup trio – both fantastic choices. Mike went with the Creole Cochon de Lait Cassoulet and it was delicious, but I think the NOLA BBQ Gulf Shrimp with goat cheese grits that I ordered was the best dish of the trip. Finishing off with their Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé, it was the perfect introduction to NOLA.

Commander's Palace Exterior

Commander's Palace Shrimp & Tasso Henican

Commander's Palace Cochon

Commander's Palace Barbecued Shrimp & Grits

930 Tchoupitoulas St

Reservations at Cochon are not easy to come by, so make sure you plan as far in advance as possible. If you do manage to snag a table, get ready for some amazing Cajun cooking! Donald Link does Southern right at this laid-back restaurant focusing on locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood with BIG flavors. The Wood-Fired Oysters with Chili Garlic Butter are a MUST-order, they are seriously amazing. The Fried Alligator and Fried Boudin were just ok for me but the Ham Hock with its deep, smokey flavor was fantastic. The Butterscotch Pudding was the perfect end to this wonderful meal.

New Orleans, Cochon, Oysters

New Orleans, Cochon, Ham Hock

District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew.
2209 Magazine St

The name says it all – Donuts, Sliders, and Brew (coffee) are what District is all about. We came here twice and if we would’ve stayed longer we would have been back again and again. If you’re feeling indulgent go for a Croquenut – District’s take on the Croque Monsieur with ham, Havarti, dijon, and béchamel packed inside a griddled donut!

New Orleans, District Donuts

La Petite Grocery
4238 Magazine St

La Petite Grocery is a charming neighborhood restaurant and it was the perfect spot for a quiet, special dinner on our last night in New Orleans. First of all – Crab Beignets. Oh yes, and they were every bit as rich an indulgent as you could imagine. We also loved the Steak Tartare and Gulf Shrimp special and the Bittersweet Chocolate Torte was a very satisfying choice for dessert.

New Orleans, La Petite Grocery

New Orleans, La Petite Grocery

New Orleans, La Petite Grocery

Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave

You’ll see Poor Boys (or Po’ Boys) everywhere in New Orleans and Parkway supposedly has the best so we had to give them a try. This spot is definitely out of the way if you’re staying in or around the French Quarter but I will admit, their shrimp po’ boy was overflowing with crispy fried shrimp and pretty damn good. I’m no po’ boy expert, so I can’t say if you’d be able to find something similar a little closer to downtown, but if you’re up for a field trip then Parkway is worth a visit.

New Orleans, Parkway Bakery

New Orleans, Parkway Bakery Po Boy

800 Magazine St

Another cancelled reservation that I was super bummed about, but I heard so many great things about Pêche that I had to mention it. This Seafood Grill by Donald Link will definitely be at the top of my list the next time we visit New Orleans.

777 Bienville St

Sunday Jazz Brunch is a big thing in New Orleans and R’evolution does it right in the French Quarter. Yet another reservation we missed, but from the looks of their Death by Gumbo, I’m sure this would be a great spot to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The Company Burger
4600 Freret St

A last minute decision thanks to a Thrillist article, The Company Burger’s namesake burger was definitely worth a little detour. Simple in all its juicy, cheesy glory – this burger and those onion rings are a match made in heaven.

New Orleans, The Company Burger

Tivoli & Lee
2 Lee Circle

Located in the Hotel Modern, Tivoli & Lee is a great restaurant and the perfect place to grab brunch on the weekends. Not only do they have a killer Bloody Mary bar complete with cheese, bacon, sausage, and 3 varieties of homemade mixers, they also have Avocado Fries, a Fried Chicken Biscuit, Elvis French Toast, and a Sloppy General Benedict that will rock your world.

New Orleans, Tivoli and Lee Bloody Mary Bar

New Orleans, Tivoli and Lee Avocado Fries



The Avenue Pub
1732 St Charles Ave

Definitely no-frills, but this pub is open 24-7-365 and they have an impressive line-up of craft beers.

936 St Charles Ave

Fantastic cocktail bar right next door to the Hotel Modern – their mystery punch in the large crystal bowl was surprisingly tasty!

The Bulldog
3236 Magazine St

Great selection of craft beers, cool patio, and dog-friendly.

New Orleans, The Bulldog, Beer Tap Fountain

4905 Freret St

Another fantastic cocktail bar – try the I’m Your Huckleberry or the Everybody Daylight.

Lion + Maven | Food & Drink in New Orleans

Carousel Bar & Lounge
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St

This classy bar in the Hotel Monteleone actually rotates around the center like a carousel! Perfect spot to grab a Sazerac any time of the day.

The Funky Pirate Blues Club
727 Bourbon St

If you can handle the craziness of Bourbon Street, The Funky Pirate is a great place to enjoy a little blues and a brightly colored frozen drink, if that’s your thing.

New Orleans, Funky Pirate Blues

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon St

Supposedly the oldest structure used as a bar in the US and also supposedly haunted, it’s definitely worth a stop if you’re out on Bourbon Street.

New Orleans, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

Pat O’Briens
718 St Peter St

Hurricanes and people watching on the Pat O’Brien’s patio is where it’s at! Usually crowded and always lively, you can’t help but have fun at this spot right off Bourbon Street.

New Orleans, Pat O'Briens


The Spotted Cat Music Club
623 Frenchmen St

If it isn’t already, Frenchmen Street should definitely be on your New Orleans radar. It’s the more mature version of Bourbon Street with live music in every bar and The Spotted Cat Music Club is a great place to start.

New Orleans, Frenchmen Street, Spotted Cat Music Club



September 2014



The Best of Lakeview

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants, Shopping

Today is a bittersweet day. Mike and I are packing up our lives and leaving behind the first condo we bought together 3 years ago. We’ve had some great times in this condo and Lakeview and the Southport Corridor have treated us well. We’re not moving very far, only to Lincoln Park, but it’s a move nonetheless. We’ve had some pretty epic get togethers with friends and family that I’m sure our neighbors remember well; our kitchen counter as seen a lot of butter and phyllo on our Greek cooking days and a lot of smoked meat and fireball whiskey when our friends get together. We also got engaged and then married while living here, so although we’re excited for things to come, it’s still a little bit sad thinking of all the memories we’re leaving behind. So rather than leaving them all behind, I’m going to keep a few alive here and also give you my version of The Complete Guide to Lakeview – all the places we love in our first Chicago ‘hood! If there’s anywhere I’m forgetting, make sure to add it to the comments below!


Champagne on closing day, May 2011

Butter, Phyllo

All the butter and phyllo (and mimosas) necessary for Greek cooking day


The pit master

Bjork, Swan Costume

Halloween party, 2013

Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly Sweater Party, 2012


Best Pizza

Best Deep Dish – The Art of Pizza 3033 N. Ashland Ave.    I’ve written about The Art before. Not only is it the best deep dish in Lakeview, it’s my pick for the best in the city.  

Best Thin CrustMichael’s 4091 N. Broadway St.    Ok, so Michael’s is technically in Uptown, but they deliver to Lakeview so I’m counting it because I love it. They’ve perfected the ratio of crust:cheese:sauce and I love that the sauce has some sweetness to it – sausage and giardiniera are my go-to toppings.

Best Late NightDimo’s  3463 N. Clark St.    There is not much better than a slice of Dimo’s Mac ‘n Cheese or BBQ Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza after a night on the town. Leftovers the morning after are an added bonus.

Best FastBlaze 953 W. Belmont Ave.   Recently opened and immediately popular. Their assembly-line style pizzas that are ready to eat in 180 seconds are as delicious as they are convenient. Don’t forget a glass of Blood Orange Lemonade and a S’more Pie.

Honorable MentionD’agostino’s 1351 W. Addison St.   A close runner-up to Michael’s for my favorite thin crust. Their super thin and crispy crust and sauce with a subtle sweetness always satisfies.

The Art of Pizza, Chicago, Deep Dish

Deep Dish from The Art of Pizza


Best Beauty

Best FacialAbsolute Precision Skin Care 1421 W. Belmont Ave. Kelly and Kimberly are the only ladies I trust with my pores!

Best Hair – Jane Roberts Salon 1404 W. Belmont Ave.  Samantha is my girl, and until I leave Chicago I’ll be making the trip back to see her at Jane Roberts.

Best NailsSpa Spot 3125 N. Lincoln Ave. Not all nail salons are created equal. Heat packs for your shoulders, paraffin wax, and a quickie shoulder massage are all included in a pedicure here.

Best Finishing Salon – Goldplaited 2803 N. Sheffield Ave. For all your blow-out and makeup application needs, sisters Mal & Co have created the perfect destination, complete with complimentary champagne.

Retro hair and make-up by Goldplaited

Retro waves and make-up by Goldplaited


Best Shopping

M2 3527 N. Southport Ave. For all your accessory needs, there is no better place than M2. Looking for a cute, inexpensive necklace to go with that outfit you want to wear tonight? M2 has you covered!

Blue Mercury 3512 N. Southport Ave.  Beauty lovers heaven! With great brands like Kiehl’s, NARS, Bobbi Brown, and many others, you’ll have no problem finding an excuse to fish out your wallet here.

Inkling 2917 1/2 N. Broadway St.  Cute, unique gifts with a little touch of Chicago.

Waxman Candles 3044 N. Lincoln Ave.  In case you weren’t sure, you’ll find a whole lotta candles here.

With Grace 1914 W. Cornelia Ave. Paper, paper, paper, and more super cute paper.

Spencer’s Jolly Posh 3755 N. Southport Ave.  For the British and Irish lovers out there – try the bangers, bring home some tea.

Two-sided/Foursided 2958 N. Clark St. and 2939 N. Broadway St.  If you’re looking to have something framed (four-sided) or find a unique greeting card or gift, these sister stores have you covered.


Best Sweets

Jeni’s Spendid Ice Cream 3404 N. Southport Ave. When Jeni’s opened on Southport last fall I knew I was in trouble. Their Salted Caramel and Black Coffee flavors are straight-up addicting, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Scooter’s Frozen Custard 1658 W. Belmont Ave. A waffle cone with a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of vanilla from Scooter’s is probably my favorite frozen treat, ever. What can I say, I’m a sucker for frozen custard.

Bobtail Ice Cream 2951 N. Broadway St. Gotta show some love for East Lakeview ice cream as well. Bobtail’s Cubby Crunch is my go-to.

Bittersweet 1114 W. Belmont Ave. Beautiful pastries line the display cases in Bittersweet and they’re almost too pretty to eat….almost.


Best Bars

Higgins’ Tavern 3259 N. Racine Ave. Neighborhood dives are my jam, and Higgins is an all-time favorite. This is our version of Cheers, where everyone knows your name.

The Green Lady 3328 N. Lincoln Ave. If you’re looking for an impressive line-up of craft beers, look no further than The Green Lady. Darts, a jukebox, and a laid-back atmosphere make this the perfect spot for a relaxed night out.

Guthrie’s 1300 W. Addison St. Board games! A great spot to chill out and entertain your competitive spirit.

Delilah’s 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Dark and awesome, the perfect spot for the whiskey lover in your life. Rumor is Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain met here…

Headquarters Beercade 2833 N. Sheffield Ave. Craft cocktails + free old-school arcade games, need I say more?

Northdown Cafe & Taproom 3244 N. Lincoln Ave. Great food and great beers made Northdown a regular stop for us. Lots of vegan choices for all the veggies out there.



Ukai 1059 W. Belmont Ave. Not only is Ukai our go-to sushi spot in the ‘hood, it’s our go-to sushi spot in Chicago. The Crunchy Spicy Tuna, Godzilla, Hawks, and Bears rolls are our favs.

Tango Sur 3763 N. Southport Ave. MEAT! Lots of delicious meat and an intimate atmosphere put Tango Sur at the top of our list for special nights out. The Pork Chop, El Filet, or Lomo Relleno are my tried and true favorites.

Big & Little’s 1034 W. Belmont Ave. A very welcome new addition to the neighborhood – quick and delicious tacos, truffle fries, po’ boys, and more.


Best Brunch

Southport Grocery 3552 N. Southport Ave. Don’t think about it – just order the Bread Pudding Pancakes. You’re welcome.

Harmony Grill 3159 N. Southport Ave. This little restaurant is attached to Schuba’s and is probably our most frequently visited brunch spot. Nice little outdoor patio and the food never disappoints. 2 thumbs up for their Bloody Mary as well.

Ann Sather 909 W. Belmont Ave. The most magnificent (and giant) cinnamon rolls you will ever eat.

Endgrain 1851 W. Addison A cute and very popular spot for brunch – their buttery biscuits are Oh, and did I mention they have some ridiculous doughnuts??

Bacon Doughnut, Endgrain, Chicago

Endgrain’s Bacon Butterscotch doughnut


Best Caffeine Fix

Heritage Bicycles 2959 N. Lincoln Ave. A coffee shop that doubles as a bike shop. A super cute spot to camp out, grab an iced coffee, and get a little work done. Make sure to treat yourself to one of their Snickerdoodle cookies.

Osmium 1117 W. Belmont Ave. This Dark Matter outpost just opened and is conveniently located on my way to the Red Line, so it has quickly become my go-to for a quick caffeine fix. Love their iced coffee and Mayan Mocha.

DAVIDsTEA 3530 N. Southport Ave. Tea seems to be the new “it” hot drink these days and DAVIDsTEA is my favorite.

Cafe Tola 3612 N. Southport Ave. You’ll find coffee and empanadas at this teeny tiny spot just north of Addison. Order a Spicy Mocha if you like a little heat with your chocolate and caffeine.


Best Workouts

Corepower Yoga 3232 N. Lincoln Ave. One of several Corepower studios in the city, their Hot Power Fusion class leaves me sweaty and in touch with my Om.

Body R+D 2940 N. Lincoln Ave. This megaformer workout is the best way to get serious about toning up. A couple days after a workout at Body R+D you’ll be feeling muscles that you never knew were there.

Crossfit Defined 1235 W. Belmont Ave. If you’re ready to step up your workout game a notch, Crossfit Defined will have you pushing your limits in no time.


Best Al Fresco Drinking and Dining

Crosby’s Kitchen 3455 N. Southport Ave. Family friendly with a nice little patio primed for people watching along Southport. Not in the mood to make dinner? I carryout the Wrightwood Salad pretty often.

Fish Bar  2956 N. Southport Ave. A small space that packs a memorable punch. Order the Lobster Roll if you’re looking to splurge, if not the Satchmo Po’ Boy is the perfect stand-in.

Sheffield’s 3258 N. Sheffield Ave. Sheffield’s has BBQ and a patio that is always hoppin’, and a great beer list to boot.

Schoolyard Tavern 3258 N. Southport Ave.  If Summer Shandy is in season, then it’s on tap at Schoolyard – and that’s why we love this place. Well, that and their delicious Queso.

Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar 3358 N. Paulina St.  An all-around winner that never disappoints. Great wine, great pizzas, and don’t miss the bruschetta.

Frasca, Chicago, Bruschetta

An assortment of bruschetta from Frasca


Best of the Rest

Best MexicanEl Mariachi 3906 N. Broadway St. 

Best Wings Crisp 2940 N. Broadway St.  Seoul Sassy all the way!

Best SoupSoupbox 2943 N. Broadway St. Their delicious soups got me through the Worst Winter Ever. The Lobster Bisque is sure to cure any winter woes.

Best Vegan The Chicago Diner 3411 N. Halsted St. 

Best Date Night HB Home Bistro 3404 N. Halsted St. 

Best Girls’ Night Bottle & Bottega 2900 N. Lincoln Ave. Wine & painting, pure genius.

Best Thai – Pho’s Thai 3332 N. Lincoln Ave.  No frills at this tiny hole-in-the-wall, but their Pad Thai is some of the best. (Also BYOB)

Best Burgers DMK Burger Bar 2954 N. Sheffield Ave. 

Best Fast Burgers Burger Boss 3208 N. Southport Ave. 

Best Brewery DryHop 3155 N. Broadway St. 

Best Fried Chicken Sandwich The Roost 1467 W. Irving Park Rd.  They started out as just a food truck and finally opened this brick and mortar earlier this year. The Spicy Chicken Sandwich on a biscuit (with pickles and chipotle sauce) is insanely good, and they also open at 9am for breakfast!

Best Sandwiches Panes Bread Cafe 3002 N. Sheffield Ave. 

Best Gyros Gyros On The Spit 2826 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Best Meat Market Paulina Meat Market 3501 N. Lincoln Ave.  You’ve never had jerky like Paulina’s homemade jerky – go for the cajun. Their pepper-crusted smoked pork tenderloin is also always a huge hit at parties.

Best Greek Melanthios 3114 N. Broadway St. 

Best Karaoke Trader Todd’s 3216 N. Sheffield Ave.  Anywhere that has “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” on their list of karaoke songs is a winner in my book. Their tiki theme makes it that much more interesting.

Best Lobster Roll New England Seafood Company 3341 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Best Hot Dogs Murphy’s Red Hots 1211 W. Belmont Ave.  Do not, I repeat do NOT order ketchup on your hotdog! (Only kind of kidding- they won’t say anything, but people will judge)

Best Chiropractor Aligned Modern Health 3514 N. Southport Ave.  Dr. Dever and team keep my aches and pains at bay, Aligned is so much more than your typical crack-and-go chiro.


What are your Lakeview favorites?? Share below in the comments!!


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