Late night eats in the West Loop
Any good sports fan will tell you that if you care about your team, you need to eat before the game, both for energy and as a buffer in your stomach for all that beer. If your team is anything like the Blackhawks—that is, a winning team—you’ll be hungry after the game, too—all that celebrating works up an appetite. Thankfully the United Center is in a prime position to feed you late at night. So bring your appetite and some caffeine: It’s going be a late one.
Artopolis This Greek spot is forever busy, even at midnight, and that’s because it competently fulfills the three major requirements for quality late-night snacking: It’s cheap, it’s fast, and it’s delicious. The signature artopitas—flaky puff-pastry rounds with fillings like ham and kasseri cheese or chicken and mozzarella—take center stage, but there are also fresh salads, sandwiches and traditional Greek dishes like roasted lamb and a weekly moussaka special. Bonus: The front that overlooks Halsted Street—where people stumble home post-partying—provides perfect entertainment while you eat. 306 S Halsted St at Jackson Blvd (312-559-9000). El: Blue to UIC/Halsted. Bus: 7, 8, 60 (24hrs), 126, 156, 157. Mon–Fri 9am–midnight; Sat 9am–1am; Sun 10am–midnight. Average main course: $9.
Fulton Lounge With stocked bookcases and a lit fireplace, this low-key lounge can feel more like a sexy library than an after-hours hangout. The cocktails are some of the best in the West Loop, and the wood-burning pizza oven from the adjacent restaurant Follia puts out hearty pies topped with Gorgonzola, anchovies and Italian ham (best of all, you stay seated—Fulton’s servers bring the pies through the adjoining doors right to your table). 955 W Fulton St at Morgan St (312-942-9500). Bus: 8 Halsted, 65 Grand. Mon–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat 4pm–3am. Average cocktail: $8.
9 Muses Do the young Greeks who pack this trendy, clubby restaurant know something you don’t? Yes. And they probably want to keep this place to themselves. But on nights when you want Greek munchies like the Florina peppers (two roasted red peppers stuffed with creamy feta), loukanika, “toasts” (essentially panini) or huge gyro platters, you’re going to have to crash the party. 315 S Halsted St between Jackson Blvd and Van Buren St (312-902-9922). El: Blue to UIC/Halsted. Bus: 7, 8, 60 (24hrs), 126. Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $7.
The Tasting Room Pre– and post–United Center is the only time when this sophisticated wine bar is actually convenient to get to, so take advantage of the situation and go twice. Pre-game, supplement a bottle of wine with selections from its excellent cheese and charcuterie list. For something more substantial after the game, go for lemongrass and Thai basil mussels or cocoa nib-crusted lamb chops. 1415 W Randolph St at Ogden Ave (312-942-1313). El: Green, Pink to Ashland. Bus: 9 (24hrs), X9, X20. Mon–Thu 4pm–1am; Fri, Sat 4pm–2am. Average main course: $10.
Victor Hotel This warehouse-district lounge is a sprawling, high-ceilinged space that’s rife with models (mainly in the fashion photos on the wall, but also scattered throughout the crowd sometimes, too). Mini burgers and hummus are available if you want them, but the focus here is really on sushi. If a slice of raw fish doesn’t sound filling enough, don’t worry: The enormous Godzilla roll—bursting with shrimp, cream cheese, eel and avocado—has you covered. 311 N Sangamon St between Fulton Mkt and Wayman St (312-733-6900). Bus: 8 Halsted, 20 Madison (24hrs). Tue–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am. Average cocktail: $9.