It's al fresco dining season! Not many things can top eating outside when it's nice out, except of course having someone cook for you while you do the eating. Jesus and I have a few bar-and-grill-type spots for when we can't be bothered to cook for ourselves, or when we want a cold drink on a hot night, and I also have a few of my own spots that are great for an after-work drink and/or snack. And let's be honest, sidewalk chilling and people watching.
Good For: after work drinks, after work wings, tournament and playoff viewing.
Ambiance: intimate, yet modern. Lucky for them they have sidewalk space, because the restaurant itself is not big.
Notes: with daily brunch, delivery, and a well-stocked rotating draft list, The Harding Tavern caters to everyone.
Parts & Labor
Good For: "Damn Good Burgers. Damn Good Drinks. Damn Good Times."
Ambiance: industrial, yet comfortable. When I went they were playing all of Keira Knightley's movies in a loop.
Notes: as the cousin of popular Logan Square pizzeria, The Boiler Room, Parts & Labor holds up the reputation of a good themed (yet not kitschy) bar & kitchen.
Good For: eating and drinking and eating some more, all on the sidewalk.
Ambiance: half old-school Irish pub, half classy supper club.
Notes: I'm a fan of the tots and the pulled pork. I've heard the burgers are good as well.
Good For: late night eats and cheap beer. Sometimes live entertainment.
Ambiance: maybe because we go here the most, but I get a dive bar/everybody knows your name vibe.
Notes: tots rule again! Jesus and I generally get whatever the daily special is - tacos, burgers, fish fry. Especially the fish fry.
Good For: last minute drinks, al fresco.
Ambiance: I'm hesitant to label Citizen Bar since my first/only time visiting was underwhelming. They boast plenty of outdoor space, but we were shuffled around to several tables and nearly forgotten about by servers who drifted aimlessly around the seating area. None of them seemed pleased to be there or ready for outdoor dining season in Chicago. :-/
Notes: Once we did get our food and drinks, they were good! I had the spice chicken sandwich paired with Summer Shandy. If/when I go again, I'll update.
Check out last year's bar and grill roundup here, or all my past restaurant reviews here.