What Chicago lacks in happy hours—yep, they're technically illegal here—it makes up for in BYOB abundance. The past few months have added even more restaurants to our BYOB radar, from casual lunch options to special-occasion splurge spots in neighborhoods from Uptown to Chinatown. While we love a good sushi restaurant with a bring-your-own policy, that routine can get old after, oh, the 20th visit. Break out of your rut with our rundown of the new crop of Chicago BYOBs—not a maki roll in sight. email@example.com | @redeyeeatdrink
Si Fu Chino Latino Kitchen
2116 W. Roscoe St. 773-880-9144
Alias: "The Hybrid"
Vital stats: This days-old Roscoe Village restaurant mashes up Latin and Chinese cuisine to the tune of dishes such as orange chicken tacos (three for $7.88) and Mongolian beef burritos ($7.88). A partnership between the owners of Banh Mi & Co. and Hutch, the restaurant is expected to receive its liquor license by the end of summer, so take advantage of the BYOB option—and sunshine on the 15-seat patio—while you can.
Nearby provisions: For craft beer (and wine and spirits), you can't do much better than the domestic and imported bottles at West Lakeview Liquors, located two blocks north at 2156 W. Addison St.
West Loop Salumi
1111 W. Randolph St. 312-255-7004
Alias: "The Lunch Secret"
Vital stats: Summer Fridays—and Thursdays and Wednesdays ...—were made for the picnic tables outside this West Loop salumi shop. The year-old retail and wholesale charcuterie spot recently added weekday lunch service in addition to weekend daytime hours. Choose from charcuterie plates ($15 per person) or sandwiches including finocchiona on ciabatta ($8) or culatello with buffalo mozzarella ($8). Rare cheeses and breads both come courtesy of Eataly, so bringing an Italian wine is a no-brainer.
Nearby provisions: Arista Foods (112 N. May St.) offers a solid range of both wines and craft beer just a half block off Randolph Street.
2018 W. Chicago Ave. 773-252-9060
Alias: "Chilaquiles and Champagne"
Vital stats: Brunch by day, burgers by night. That's the M.O. at this week-old Ukrainian Village spot in the former Chickpea storefront. Brothers Rick and David Rodriguez serve Mexican-leaning breakfast fare such as chilaquiles ($10) and the Mexican Scramble ($10) daily from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., then switch gears to serve a menu of 10 burgers, plus wraps and salads beginning at 5 p.m.
Nearby provisions: There's a Mariano's (2021 W. Chicago Ave.) directly across the street, but if you're looking for craft beer, consider heading west to Nevada Food & Liquor (2600 W. Chicago Ave.), while wine folks can head east to The Noble Grape (802 N. Bishop St.).
1252 N. Damen Ave. 773-442-7238
Alias: "Prettier Pizza"
Vital stats: Pizzeria Serio owner Scott Toth recently expanded to with this smaller, slightly more upscale pizza shop that has all the requisite Wicker Park trappings: chalkboard menu, exposed brick, communal seating. Beer and wine work equally well with pizza, so bring your preference to drink alongside pies such as the Wicker Pork ($17 for the 14-inch size; $21 for 18-inch) pizza featuring Canadian bacon, pineapple and red onion.
Nearby provisions: Swing by Joe's Wine Cellar (2108 W. Division St.) to grab a pre-pizza bottle.
>>Read our pizza review of Craft
Tatoco Taco and Torta Company
949 N. Western Ave. 773-360-8072
Alias: "Pre-Bar Mexican"
Vital stats: This casual, cash-only 25-seat taco and torta spot opened in May on a stretch of Western Avenue that's home to more than a few bars—Sportsman's Club, The Blind Robin and Empty Bottle, just to name a few. Before a night out, snack on $3 tacos or $7 tortas including chicken, veggie, al pastor and barbecue carnitas, or share sides such as kimchi quesadillas ($6) or Tatoco fries ($3) with truffle olive oil and queso fresco. A 30-seat side patio is now open, and the restaurant recently debuted weekend brunch.
Nearby provisions: Across the street, popular new bar Sportsman's Club (948 N. Western Ave.) has a packaged goods license that allows the sale of beer, wine and liquor to-go.
2141 S. Archer Ave. 312-374-3450
Alias: "The Other Chinatown Noodles"
Vital stats: Though it opened this winter during what we'll call "ramen weather," this Chinatown restaurant is making a breezy transition to spring temperatures with a 24-seat side patio and bring-your-own-wine sangria pitchers. Yes, you bring the (cheap) wine, they'll supply the fixings in the form of pitchers ($11.95) or half pitchers ($7.95) of tamarind-citrus or melon-strawberry-lime fruit.
Nearby provisions: Owners recommend a pre-Strings stop at China Place Liquor City (2105 S. China Place) in Chinatown Square.
4662 N. Broadway
Alias: "The Hot Spot You Haven't Heard Of"
Vital stats: Unlike splashy downtown restaurants that open with a bang only to fizzle within three months, this six-month-old fine-dining destination in Uptown just keeps gaining steam. Former Sous Rising underground dining club chefs turn out a 14-course summer menu ($203.68, inclusive of tax and gratuity) of artfully constructed dishes that should be a date-night showstopper. Plan in advance for special occasions; reservations are only accepted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and online at 42gramschicago.com.
Nearby provisions: You've planned ahead for this dinner, so don't just duck into 7-Eleven for wine, please. Owners recommend Pastoral (2945 N. Broadway) or Provenance Food & Wine (2312 W. Leland Ave.) for supplies.