Restaurants, bars and other hidden spots.
Located in an unassuming storefront on a quiet residential street, Huaraches Doña Chio (1547 W Elmdale Ave, 773-878-8470) is a haven for its namesake Mexican dish: masa flattened into a sandal shape known as huaraches. They’re typically topped with meat, onions, cheese and cilantro; the restaurant also serves massive entrées.
Brimfield fans, take note: You can, for one night, rent an apartment decked out in this shop’s handsome midcentury style. In September, the store opened its second-story apartment (5219 N Clark St, 773-271-3501; call for rates) as an event space channeling the spirit of an old men’s club, complete with a fireplace, elk head–adorned bar and vintage pool table (all the furniture’s for sale). It’s perfect for playing house with a few dozen friends.
Just above Brimfield’s party space is the Upstairs Gallery (5219 N Clark St, third floor, firstname.lastname@example.org), which features free improv and sketch comedy nearly every night of the week. A sandwich board on the street advertises the evening’s roster, likely filled with local up-and-comers.
More than a dozen pool tables reside within spitting distance of espresso machines at odd-couple venue Pressure Billiards & Café (6318 N Clark St, 773-743-7665). Part pool hall, part coffeehouse, part sports bar, this is the little-known nightlife nook capable of pulling off big-screen TVs and the occasional live comedy show under the same roof.
We’ve always wondered how a single-family home with a private beach (5965 N Sheridan Rd) managed to skirt this stretch of North Sheridan Road’s high-rise development. Turns out the title is held in Demetris Giannoulias’s name (big brother of Alexi). The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home has been on and off the market since 2008, most recently priced at $1.65 million last fall (a steal compared to the house’s 2008 listing price of $2.7 million). Still not sold, it went off market in September.
Despite this town’s ridonk number of visual-arts galleries and project spaces, Experimental Sound Studio’s Audible Gallery (5925 N Ravenswood Ave, 773-769-1069) is one of the few to regularly showcase audio art. Currently exhibiting: “Sun Ra/El Saturn Commissions,” featuring recordings by Sun Ra and artwork by the Eternals’ Damen Locks, who painted what he felt while listening to the tunes.
Hardwood floors, original woodwork and antique light fixtures are among the carefully restored details in the Berger Park Cultural Center (6205 N Sheridan Rd, chicagoparkdistrict.com), a duo of Chicago Park District buildings that stand as two of Sheridan Road’s few remaining Victorian-era mansions. Visit for seasonal workshops like “Garden Buddies” and “Cold & Flu Fixers” (see website for prices; some free); come back to the northern coach house in the summer, when it transforms into the beautiful Waterfront Cafe.