Hot right now: Chicago bars and restaurants
So, the eternal question: Where to go for dinner and drinks this weekend? Whether you're heading out on a date or meeting up with friends, these are the restaurants, bars and clubs you should have on your radar. View this weekend's recommendations and keep clicking to see recommendations from past weeks.
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Weekend of Oct. 24
Shay 222 W. Ontario St. 312-654-1230 (pictured)
The team behind champagne lounge Cuvee sets its sights on cocktails at this days-old River North bar in the former Crescendo space. Yes, bottle service still will be available, but the primary focus will be "accessible, reliable" cocktails and small bites, according to owners. A total renovation of the space includes a central bar, plenty of windows and raised VIP areas on the east and west sides of the room. Don't be surprised if a DJ-driven, higher-energy attitude replaces the cocktail-sipping crowd later in the night.
Glazed and Infused 30 E. Hubbard St. 312-226-5556
Chicago has plenty of gourmet doughnut shops, but daytime hours means you're out of luck when you're craving a doughy treat after a night of bar-hopping. This River North spot has answered our sprinkle-topped prayers with late-night hours on Friday and Saturday nights -- 8 p.m.-2 a.m., to be exact.
Charlatan 1329 W. Chicago Ave. 312-818-2073
It's opening weekend for this new restaurant and bar from the Three Aces crew, which took over the former West Town Tavern space and upped its cool factor with taxidermy, exposed brick and light fixtures made from reclaimed pipes. Chef Matt Troost can really flex the Italian skills that seem somewhat confined in Three Aces' bar atmosphere, designing a menu of modern Italian salads, pastas, seafood and entrees. The bar is sure to be an equal draw for original cocktails, beer and American and Italian wines.
646 N. Franklin St. 312-448-9922 Nearly three years in the making, this River North cocktail bar and restaurant from the Mercadito group (Mercadito, Mercadito Fish, Mercadito Counter) and cocktail consultants The Tippling Bros. finally opened last week in the former Hop Haus space. The menu is, to say the least, varied. Whether you're in the mood for beer, wine, cocktails on draft, a Manhattan laced with malort, a giant Bloody Mary or a riff on a gin and tonic, the bar has you covered. With late-night hours (4 a.m. daily; 5 a.m. Saturdays), you have more than enough time to pace yourself. See our full review of Tippling Hall at redeyechicago.com/tipplinghall.
The Kitchen Chicago316 N. Clark St. 312-836-1300
This Boulder-based group of restaurants debuted its first Chicago location in River North on Monday. If the restaurant's motto -- "community through food" -- sound a little precious, you should know that it essentially translated to a focus on sourcing local ingredients.