The Smoke Daddy
Whether it’s lunch, dinner or carryout, the Smoke Daddy remains a reliable favorite for barbecue. The small dining space is host to live blues and jazz most nights, but the main draw is the meat—ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork, sliced brisket—ready to slather in house-made sauces.
1938 W. Division St. 773-235-1006
If one of the 100-plus sandwiches on the menu at this bar and eatery doesn’t catch your eye, you can design your own from a list of cheeses, breads, toppings and meats, which range from turkey meatloaf to corned beef to fried chicken.
2049 W. Division St. 773-772-2727
This tiny bar serves seriously delicious burgers. Opt for the simple house burger topped with onion, tomato and parmesan-herb aioli, or customize your own with funky toppings such as jalapeno-bacon jam or tobacco-smoked onions. There’s a killer craft beer list to boot.
The Violet Hour
1520 N. Damen Ave. 773-252-1500
The rules may be strict (no cell phones), the lines long and the door hidden, but neighborhood dwellers find this cocktail lounge well worth the trouble thanks to a menu of beautifully crafted classic cocktails served in a dark, whimsical space perfect for date night.