2210 N. California Ave. 773-276-5625
For a good deal any night of the week, hop off the train at the California Blue Line station, walk right into this low-key pizza bar and ask for the PB&J special: A slice of pizza, a PBR tallboy can and shot of Jameson, all for $7.50.
2646 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-342-5555
Head to this recently restored Art Deco-era movie theater for art films and mid-run mainstream flicks at several bucks less ($7, or $5.50 for matinees) than the downtown multiplexes. Bonus: The concession stand stocks local treats such as Kim & Scott’s pretzels and Intelligentsia coffee, and you can bring a cocktail from the adjacent bar into the theater.
2569 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-358-2569
This tiny triangle of a bakery sells crayon-hued macarons and imported French groceries that can add up quickly, but bring a friend in for crepes and the both of you can eat without breaking $20.
Miko’s Italian Ice
3000 W. Lyndale St.
The last few bucks in your wallet are well spent at this Italian ice stand, which opens in the spring when temps rise above 50 and then shutters in mid-September. Flavors change seasonally but might range from coconut, kiwi and banana with chocolate chips to classic lemon. There’s no phone here, but you can follow @mikositalianice on Twitter for flavor updates.
2072 N. Western Ave. 773-772-6020
This classic hot dog stand serves up simple dogs and fries, and with plentiful picnic tables out front, makes for a great summer date that won’t break the bank.
3224 W. Fullerton Ave. 773-276-6809
A neighborhood staple since the ’80s, this homey bar still offers plenty of choices when it comes to cheap beer and shots. Look to the walls for an impressive photo gallery of dedicated regulars.
2545 N. Kedzie Blvd. 773-278-2215
This greasy spoon complete with barstool-lined counter is a blast from the past right off the square. Perfect for when a few bucks are all you can spare for eggs and hash browns, or those late nights or early mornings when only classic diner fare will do.