We get it. Winter sucks! It can quickly reduce the brightest socialite into an Emergen-C chugging cat lady, and the ladykiller into a Wii addicted shut-in. As the cold months loom before us, the prospect of any social activity outside the realm of Facebook becomes terrifying. Do not succumb! Food tastes better in company, and winter fashions are rad.
Remember, for all you singletons, a full-blown Chicago winter can level the playing field and uncover the truly intrepid spirits. While nothing beats the allure of finding love on a hot beach with a margarita in tow, a whiskey drink in a warm booth is equally tempting.
These deliciously cozy venues will help you avoid the temptation of GrubHub, Netflix and your favorite Snuggie. So call an Uber, add some traction to those heels (sandpaper does the trick), dust off your long johns, and venture out to these hot new spots where a couple of cocktails will warm you up and electrify your social life.
Pomp & Circumstance: Old Town
Brought to life by Carmen Rossi (owner of Hubbard Inn, Barn & Company and HVAC Pub), Pomp & Circumstance is housed in a grand 2-story building on the corner of N. Wells and W. Schiller, complete with intimate patio, first floor dining room and cozy upstairs lounge. The decor is inspired by a fusion of the spirit of the 50s and 60s, and offers guests a rich, friendly and unique experience.
Chef Chad Mace’s farm to table menu emphasizes big fresh flavors and seasonality; each dish from the Roasted Pork Belly (corn purée, fried okra, pickled fresno peppers, apple glaze) to the Sunflower Crusted Tofu (red quinoa, radish salad, lemon garlic aioli, sprouts) is genuine and hearty.
The cocktail list is straightforward and full-bodied, including such gems as: the Blinker (Buffalo Trace, white grapefruit juice, simple syrup, raspberry preserves) and the Pink Lady (Purity Vodka or Plymouth Gin, Laird’s Applejack, simple syrup, lemon juice, grenadine, egg white).
Pomp and Circumstance, 1400 N. Wells St.
Opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Open for lunch starting at 11 a.m. on Friday. Weekend brunch begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Cherry Circle Room: The Loop
Looking for an elegant evening out on the town? Stop by the Cherry Circle Room, located in the far recesses of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The renowned space has been reinvented by Land and Sea Dept., the group behind Longman & Eagle, and offers a dimly lit sultry experience perfect for those cold nights.
The rotational food menu features fresh classic dishes including: Pan Seared Farm Chicken (goat cheese gnocchi, chanterelle, finger lime) and the CCR Prime Triple Cheese Burger (smoked Gouda, b&b pickle, caramelized onion, horseradish-mustard aioli).
The cocktail menu, designed by the famed Paul McGee, with a focus on American and Scotch whiskeys is chic, but accessible. Tableside cocktail service is also offered for a more intimate atmosphere.
Cherry Circle Room 12 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 60603
Open every day 7a.m. to midnight.
Boeufhous: Humboldt Park
Welcome to this hip new steakhouse in Humboldt Park, which offers delicious fare at a reasonable price. Offering an exposed brick and wood interior, Boeufhous is perfect for first dates, where one can impress without the risk of pretension. Furthermore, intimacy is guaranteed in this 34 seat space.
Co-owner and Chef, Brian Ahern has created a menu, which is hearty and meaty, inspired by French and German cuisine. Don’t miss the 55 Day Dry Ribeye (22oz) or the Seared Halibut (roasted fennel and cauliflower, cauliflower puree, plumped raisin). The wine list compliments the menu well.
Boeufhous 1012 N Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60622
Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dinner Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday 5:30 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m. to midnight.
The Brass Monkey: West Loop
Check out this meticulously conceived 70s themed venue for a fun and funky night. The owner of the highly successful Untitled, Marc Bushala, has brought another masterpiece to life in this glittery haven, The Brass Monkey. Reflective surfaces and cozy booths add to the ambiance. A sweet view of the skyline is glimpsed behind the bar, and a private room filled with records completes the package.
The menu features a unique spin on American comfort food. Dishes such as, The TV Dinner, thankfully, unlike its original counterpart, is made with fresh ingredients: turkey pot pie, sweet potato mash, brussel sprouts, and seasonal cobbler or the Pot Roast (slow roasted beef belly, turnip, onion, carrot, fingerling potato) are much improved versions of 1970s cuisine.
The drink list is well rounded and delicious; it features one of kind items such as Chicago River Water (scotch, gin, creme de violet, lemon juice and honey).
The Brass Monkey 401 N Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60642
Open Monday to Wednesday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Closed Sundays.
Son of a Butcher Tavern: Logan Square
Don’t miss this warm neighborhood tavern, where there is more than meets the eye. Son of a Butcher is homey and inviting with a great selection of DJ’s several nights a week. Definitely worth a trip, Son of a Butcher is perfect for a cozy dinner, weekend brunch or night out.
Chef Frank Valdez offers a meaty menu with dishes like the Piggie by the Pound (smoked cabbage slaw, lavender BBQ, mini buns). The menu also includes,Veggie Casserole (butternut squash, farro, braised leeks, feta cheese), which is a delicious vegetarian option.
The cocktail list is reasonably priced and includes Angry Butcher (serrano infused tequila, grapefruit, Combier Orange Liqueur) and Blood Moon ( Fords Gin, sweet vermouth, Meletti). The beer selection is excellent and is sure to satisfy the most discriminating beer drinker.
Son of a Butcher, 2934 W Diversey Chicago IL 60647
Open Tuesday to Friday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday 11a.m. to 2 a.m.