Category Archives: Drinks

Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year

Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year


Perfect sunny weather set the tone for celebration and indulgence at the 7th annual Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appétit.  Set on the stunning backdrop of Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavilion, the festival brings together lovers of food, wine, beer and more for two days of incredible tastings. The event was preceded by Friday’s Hamburger Hop kickoff as well as several themed dinners around the city in the months prior, all in anticipation of one of Chicago’s best events of the year.


When Chicago Gourmet finally arrives, it feels like Christmas morning – bubbling anticipation for what’s to come. You prepare yourself for a day out in the sunshine meeting, greeting and eating around the Chicago culinary scene. It’s important to remember that Chicago Gourmet is a marathon, not a sprint, when it comes to taste testing the best the chefs have to offer.


Dozens of white tents around the perimeter of Millennium Park serve tasting portions of unique dishes the chefs designed just for the event, while tents in the middle of the park offer samplings of wine and spirits from around the world. While the lines grow as the popularity of each tasting tent is discovered, life isn’t so bad milling around in the sunshine waiting to be served an incredible mini-meal.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Surrounding the food and drink tents are several stages that host chef demos, seminars, book tastings and more. Seeing your favorite chefs in action brings to life dining experiences you’ve had at many of their restaurants. The demos brought out personalities previously hidden behind kitchen doors or on the covers of cook books.


On Sunday, Chef Tim Graham of Travelle and Chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle, Dusek’s and Punch House teamed up for a presentation of the “Magic Beast” – specially sourced pork that was seared on a pan and served with a simply dressed kale and stone fruit salad. Amidst the jokes were a few lessons for home cooks – make friends with your butcher, brine your meat ahead of cooking and coat your salad with oil before the vinegar to prevent wilted leaves.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chef Graham Elliot was equally entertaining as he reinforced his Chicago heritage in “Chicago Classic – Sweet Home 2.0.” Working with his Sous Chef Vinny, the two created a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin and a cauliflower giardiniera. “A good cook can go back in time,” Chef Elliot proclaimed as he explained that cooking popular dishes from other eras can transport you to a different time and place.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


While Chicago Gourmet is an unforgettable experience that brings together the best of the best, the Chicago culinary scene goes year round. Along with the best tastings offered at Sunday’s event, you’ll find comparable menu items offered by the same chefs at their Chicago restaurants.



Bringing You Delicious Food All Year Long


Restaurant: Epic (112 W. Hubbard)

Chef: Dan Marquis

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork cheek with pumpkin polenta and apples

To Try off Epic’s Menu:

  • Braised pork belly with Swiss chard, roasted apples, white polenta and natural jus
  • Duck confit salad with citrus supremes, red watercress, frisee and champagne vinaigrette
  • Pulled pork mac & cheese with chipotle braised pork and cotija cheese


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Antique Taco (1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Chef: Rick Ortiz

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pumpkin habanero soup

To Try off Antique Taco’s Menu:

  • Pork carnitas taco, with Adobo rub, tamarind glaze, bacon, spinach, onion, avocado and queso fresco
  • Sweet & spicy chicken taco, with cucumber and jalapeno pickle, honey yogurt and purple onion
  • Habanero popcorn with olive oil and cheddar cheese



Restaurant: Park Grill (11 N. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Gil Langlois

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork rillette on toast

To Try off Park Grill’s Menu:

  • Fettuccine Carbonara hand-made pasta, Raisin River bacon, woodland mushrooms, truffle oil, poached egg, Grana Padano
  • Sautéed Great Lakes Whitefish butternut squash purée, Brussels sprout leaves, sage and pinenut relish, balsamic reduction
  • Chorizo Turkey Burger guava relish, cilantro cabbage slaw, pickled onions, potato bun, hand-cut fries


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Bread & Wine (3734 W. Irving Park)

Chef: Michael Dean Reynolds

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta

To Try off Bread & Wine’s Menu:

  • Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta
  • Chocolate mousse with chocolate crunch, whipped cream and sea salt
  • Warm summer squash with poached egg, pancetta, ricotta, greens and balsamic



Restaurant: Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Cory Morris

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: “Chicken Truffle Brussel” – chicken croquette with truffle-flavored Brussels sprouts

To Try off Mercat a la Planxa’s Menu:

  • Mixto croquetas – Serrano ham and chorizo croquettes with romesco
  • Ropa de Cabra – Kilgus Farms goat ropa vieja, goat cheese, baguette
  • Conill Amb Castanyes – Braised rabbit agnolotti, truffle chestnut puree, brandied cherries and rosemary brown butter


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Enjoy what these incredible chefs have to offer year-round. When 2015 comes up, watch out for Chicago Gourmet ticket sales – they sell out and this is an event you do not want to miss!



Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


The Chicago Lifestyle was invited to attend Chicago Gourmet with a media pass. All content, images and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.



The Social Table: Social Dining – The New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 2)

The Social Table: Social Dining – The New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 2)


After many months of spiking curiosity through a sign in the window of their Armitage storefront, The Social Table has finally opened. Situated in a little yellow house just west of Halsted (819 W. Armitage), the Chicago location brings the foodie concept to our city. Originally in New York City, Rebecca has moved the business to Chicago. Officially open as of early September, The Social Table is a place to learn, cook, dine and meet new people.


Part 2 in our social dining feature on The Chicago Lifestyle takes a deeper look at The Social Table. This feature tests out the premise that social dining, or gathering a group of people who may have never met before over a delicious meal and drinks, is the new, popular way to expand your social circle.


Owned and hosted by Chef Rebecca Goldfarb, the welcoming venue beckons in guests looking for an entertaining evening. The core focus is on turning a cooking class into a full-scale BYOB dinner party. Join a public party to meet other like-minded foodies or invite your favorite people to take part in a guided evening of prepping, cooking, wining and dining.


Fall menus include items such as Tuscan-style Lasagna with Pork, Veal Ragu and Bechamel, Spinach and Ricotta Spanikopitas, Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots and Raspberry Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream. If that sampling piqued your interest there are many more delicious courses planned – view their current menus here.


The Social Table - Photo by Eric Kleinberg


To get more of the inside scoop The Chicago Lifestyle asked Chef Rebecca to dish on her inspiration behind The Social Table.



What inspired the concept for Social Table – and is it going the way you’ve planned (since your original NYC location)?

“The Social Table was inspired by my love of cooking and interacting with people in my home – both growing up and as an adult. I love gathering people around a kitchen island – snacking, chatting and asking questions; letting the excitement of the upcoming meal grow as we all interact. So far we have received an incredibly warm reception in Chicago. People are so warm and enthusiastic and the guests that we’ve had into the new kitchen space have truly made me feel like we built the space perfectly for the concept. People love the coziness and comfort of the new kitchens and feel like they’ve walked into a friend’s house – which is what we really wanted to convey.”



What social need(s) are you tapping into by bringing people together in this way? How does involving food and dining help?

“People love to eat and drink – it’s how we create so many of our shared experiences. Trying new things, learning new techniques and dishes and sharing in that trial and error is essential. What is most wonderful about cooking is it is something that can actually be shared, passed on and replicated so the immediate experience can be translated into traditions or new experiences with other friends and family. It’s also something that is purely meant to be enjoyed.”



What kind of connections are made among guests – and any interesting stories to share?

“Guests always find it fun to learn what motivated other people to sign-up for an open event. And it’s amazing how small of a world it is sometimes. People have found endless connections – either professionally or personally – with other people in the room. Anyone who thinks that spending an evening with strangers, cooking and eating is fun, are generally interested in other people who think that is a fun activity as well.”


The Social Table - Photo by Eric Kleinberg


What are some of the other best ways to meet people in Chicago?

“Chicago is so open and friendly, it’s hard to say there are only a few ways to meet people. I think people here are very passionate about certain things and activities. If you are into something you should pursue a means of finding and connecting with other people about it. Craft beer is a great example. This city is teeming with small, independent breweries and people who are really interested in new beers, new breweries and in sharing and talking about beer. It’s amazing how easily you can strike up a conversation with someone just by ordering something new and different at a bar.”



How can Chicagoans get involved, and what to expect from the recent launch?

“I’m hoping that Chicagoans will sign up and join us in the kitchen! We’ve posted all of our upcoming cooking events on our website and are really excited about the menus. Everything is approachable and delicious and we hope it makes people want to throw on an apron, open a bottle of wine and get their hands dirty in our kitchen.”



Thanks to Rebecca and much luck as she enters this new journey in Chicago! If you’d like to get in on the action, classes are typically $75 and last 3 hours. Find the sign-up calendar as well as much more information on The Social Table’s website.


Check out Part 1 in our social dining feature, which highlights Dinner Lab.


{Image credits: Eric Kleinberg}


Dinner Lab: Social Dining – the New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 1)

Dinner Lab: Social Dining – the New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 1)


Everyone loves going out to eat at restaurants. The typical dining experience consists of getting a group together, choosing a restaurant, making a reservation and showing up on time (way easier said than done, of course). What if you could explode the traditional notion of dining? You have a dinner scheduled for Friday – but this time, you don’t know who’s going and you don’t even know the location yet, because it’s a surprise!


The new era of dining takes an experience we all know and love, eating and drinking, and twists it in such a way that it now brings new people together, in new places, for new ways to connect with each other. Is this notion of “social dining” the new way to mix and mingle? The Chicago Lifestyle explores social dining in a featured series – showing you unique organizations in Chicago where you can take dining to the next level, and meet some cool people while you’re at it.


The first organization The Chicago Lifestyle is featuring is Dinner Lab, which launched in Chicago this past May. Dinner Lab provides an innovative concept, offering up-and-coming chefs with the chance to serve around 120 guests at a one-time, pop-up experience, and then receive feedback on their meal afterwards. The membership-based organization brings together a unique mix of people who can all bond over one thing – a great meal.


Dinner Lab’s Chicago Chef de Cuisine, Daniel Espinoza, shared his experiences with The Chicago Lifestyle – here’s the inside scoop on how Dinner Lab works.



The Chefs: A Time to Shine


“Everyone knows each other in Chicago’s culinary community,” Chef Daniel explains, “so I’ll take a chef I’ve met out for coffee to get to know him or her. They won’t know that this is secretly an interview – but I’m finding out what they’re interested in – their history, their personality – to see if they would be a good fit to cook for Dinner Lab.” While many of the chefs work at local restaurants, they are not in the top position to dictate meals or contribute their creativity to new menus. When selected as the Dinner Lab chef, they have the opportunity to create their own menu, highlighting their own story, and try it out without the commitment of opening a brand-new restaurant.


Dinner Lab sets up a kitchen space for the evening – and the chefs get to work. Meals usually consist of at least 5 courses and include beer or wine pairings. Because of the informal setting, guests have the ability to mingle with the chefs and learn more about their craft. Focusing on hosting a great evening, the chefs look forward to getting reviewed at the end of the meal.


Dinner Lab Chicago


Dinner Lab Chicago


The Location: A Place to Inspire


Each Dinner Lab event is hosted in a new (and secret) location, not a formal restaurant. For example, a loft or warehouse space may be rented to house the event. This provides a blank canvas for the team to set the tone for the night. Music sets the mood and is often curated by the chef – don’t be surprised if you hear songs you’ve never been exposed to before – it’s all part of the experience.


Dinner Lab Chicago


The Guests: Come as Strangers, Leave as Friends


Chef Daniel explains, “It looks like a middle school dance for the first few minutes – everyone sticks with the people they know and is hesitant to talk to someone new.” Such is human nature, but the hesitation is quickly remedied through the bond of the music, the ambiance, and the flowing drinks. Meals are often preluded by a cocktail hour, during which the groups have a chance to mingle with each other. When it comes time for the sit-down meal, they’re already forming new bonds. “Members who have come as strangers often leave as friends, and they look forward to seeing each other at future events.” There is such as strong sense of community developed when people can sit down and appreciate a meal together – one that will never again happen with this group in this space.


One of the most unique aspects of Dinner Lab is the opportunity for the guests to rate the chef and overall experience. Each diner is given a “report card” – they can rate creativity, pace, taste, temperature, quality of the drink pairings, and hand it in that night. They also have a chance to go online after the event to provide more in-depth feedback. This allows the chef to get a picture of how his or her concept will do in a full restaurant setting, before taking the risk of opening a restaurant. Dinner Lab takes some of the chefs on tour to test out their concepts in different markets, with the top rated chefs selected to go on a second-round tour, gaining exposure to more diners in more markets.


Dinner Lab Chicago


How to Experience Dinner Lab


Dinner Lab is run as a membership-based organization – when you join, you have first access to event tickets, and you can bring a guest (membership is $175 for the year). Typical meals are at least 5 courses for $50-$90, including tip and unlimited drinks. A unique meal in a pop-up location with an interesting set of dining partners is an experience you can’t get anywhere else.


Even though membership is closed for 2014, The Chicago Lifestyle readers have the opportunity to bypass the waitlist and join now! As a reader of The Chicago Lifestyle, you will also receive $20 off your first meal with Dinner Lab.


Click here to join now.



Start the conversation….


Have you taken part in these type of “pop-up” dinners before? Comment below to let us know about your experience, and watch out for our next installment of the social dining investigation in Chicago.


{Images courtesy of Dinner Lab – photo credits: Aaron Lyles, Reaux Photo and Ryan Green}


Travelle: Luxury Dining at The Langham Hotel

Travelle:  Luxury Dining at The Langham Hotel


Situated in a central location downtown in a Mies van der Rohe-designed tower, the Langham Hotel (330 N. Wabash) houses restaurant Travelle. Entering through the grand lobby on the second floor, the restaurant features views on each side including the Marina Towers (the “corn cob” buildings). The kitchen is enclosed with glass, the inner workings visible to guests eager to see the chefs at work.


From beginning to end, Travelle provides impeccable service and attention to their guests. Easy OpenTable reservations and prompt seating start the night off right, and knowledgeable servers carry the positive experience through the evening.


Travelle Chicago


Langham Hotel Lobby


Chef Tim Graham, who is incredibly friendly and in touch with his guests, rolled out a brand new dinner menu this month. Inspired by his worldly travels, the menu highlights flavors from Provence and Turkey. The Provence dishes include unique ingredients such as fennel pollen in a chilled sea bass salad and saffron with mussels. The Turkish dishes offer combinations such as carrots with caraway and walnut with pomegranate. Playing with regional flavors, some of which are centuries-old, Chef Graham develops seasonal menus to tempt diners with creative meals they may not experience elsewhere in the city.


Travelle, Langham Hotel, Chef Tim Graham


The favorite from the Turkish menu is the Crab Stuffed Gozleme with Fennel Salad – a “street food style” crepe edible by hand or knife and fork filled with tasty bites of crab and bursting with flavor. The Stuffed Eggplant, called “The Priest Swooned,” comes with a unique history of flavors so fresh and new to the Turkish region centuries ago that impressed a priest so much he nearly fainted.


Wine and Bread at Travelle


Travelle, Langham Chicago


Travelle, Langham Chicago


On the main menu, be sure to try the Suckling Pig. A combination of rib meat and pork shoulder is surrounded by summer’s bounty – plums and cherries grilled to bring out their flavors, served over a bed of braised kale and rhubarb with mustard seeds. The smoky-fruity contrast is one you don’t want to miss.


Travelle, Langham Chicago


The Piri-Piri Chicken, also on the main menu, is coated with a chili-based rub that resembles a barbecue flavor. Topped with summer corn and roasted mushrooms, the textures blend together and provide a balance of sweet and savory.


Travelle, Langham Chicago


Let’s not forget about the best part of the meal – dessert. You’ll read numerous raving reviews of the Nutella Baklava, and they’re all correct. Nutella-lovers will rejoice at this innovative way to use their favorite ingredient, which is balanced by flaky baklava crust and turned slightly tangy with drops of balsamic vinegar.


Nutella Baklava


The Strawberry Tart is housed in a nice shortbread crust supplemented with a dash of black pepper. Fresh strawberries are complemented with a garnish of goat cheese crème and mini meringues.


The experience doesn’t stop with the food….Travelle has let us in on one of their secrets – how to make a fresh new cocktail!



Introducing: The Nachtmann Norman Libation cocktail, exclusively available in Chicago at Travelle at The Langham Hotel


Riedel, Travelle, The Langham Chicago


Travelle explains the origination of the drink – “Crafted by Bartender Vlachelav Borlov exclusively for Travelle, known for its table-side custom cocktail service, the Nachtmann Norman Libation balances fruity, floral flavors of lemon, apple, and sweet elderflower with the brandy’s spicy notes, and will be served in Nachtmann’s Sculpture Tumbler. Borlov’s inspiration for the cocktail’s flavors came from ‘the bright fruits and flowers of summer and the regal and icy appeal of the cut-crystal Nachtmann Sculpture rocks glass, which called for elegant liquors.’ Exclusively offered at Travelle at The Langham Chicago as of August 14th, the Nachtmann Norman Libation ($16) is the perfect way to help take the edge off the August heat and embrace the tastes of summer before season’s end.”


Recipe: The Nachtmann Norman Libation


Glassware: Nachtmann Sculpture Tumbler (to take home your own tumbler, you may purchase one at the restaurant for an additional $15, or order them online here)


Garnish:  Lemon peel on top



1 oz Calvados VSOP

½ oz St. Germain

½ oz Cocchi Americano

¼ Green Chartreuse

Splash of lemon juice

Spray of Laphroaig Scotch 10 Year



Chill Nachtmann Sculpture Tumbler in freezer. In shaker, combine Calvados VSOP, St. Germain, Cocchi Americano, Green Chartreuse, and lemon juice. Shake and strain onto 2-3 large ice cubes in the Nachtmann Sculpture Tumbler. Finish with a mist of Laphroaig 10 year Scotch on top.


Riedel, Travelle, The Langham Chicago


To learn more about Travelle and The Langham Hotel:


Serving brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, the restaurant also features a bar and a private wine room that can be reserved for your group or party. Beyond Travelle, The Langham also offers river-side Elle on the River, a little outdoor bistro that serves tacos and summer punches, as well as high-tea service alongside the hotel lobby.


To make reservations, contact Travelle at 312-923-7705.


{Nachtmann Norman Cocktail Recipe and Images Courtesy of The Langham}


Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field

Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field


I recently had the pleasure of watching the Cubs play on a sunny afternoon, with a whiskey in my hand, celebrating the opening of the new Jack Daniel’s patio at Wrigley Field.


July 24 marked the grand opening of the new patio at Wrigley Field and Tennessee’s Jack Daniel’s made the experience great! Women in Jack Daniel’s dresses lined the path up to the patio where there was food, plenty of whiskey to go around, and a meet-and-greet with the Assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher. Fletcher shook hands and let us sample the whiskey before he went down to the field to throw the first pitch.


My favorite part of the evening was the opportunity to speak with Fletcher himself and hear about his history with Jack Daniel’s and interesting facts about the company.


Jack Daniel was one of 13 siblings in his native Lynchburg, TN. He was a young age when his mother passed, and he ran away to live with a Lutheran preacher. This Lutheran preacher was one of a kind as he made whiskey himself and taught Jack the art.


One of the most important and distinct features of Jack Daniel’s whiskey is the charcoal. The charcoal is made in Lynchburg to add color and smoothness to the whiskey, and qualifies it as genuine Tennessee Whiskey. The barrel is also very integral to the distinct nature of Jack Daniel’s and affects the taste of the whiskey significantly. At Jack Daniel’s, they are the only whiskey distiller in the world to make their own barrels. In order to be designated Tennessee Whiskey, it must be made and matured in Tennessee. Typical maturation in the barrels is about four to seven years.


The pre-game festivities concluded with Fletcher throwing the opening pitch of the game in celebration of the new patio. As fun as it would be to call myself a “master distiller,” I got to learn just how mechanical and scientific the distilling process is and that Fletcher truly is a professional whiskey chemist – how cool is that?!


According to Jack Daniel’s, “Located behind section 420 of the upper deck, the new patio is a place for fans to congregate, take in a great view of the Chicago skyline, while enjoying Jack Daniel’s specialty cocktails and ballpark fare. An added feature, the patio has been newly rebranded with customized wooden tables inspired by Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels featuring the Cubs and Jack Daniel’s logos.” The patio is now open to the public and offers an unbeatable view of the city over Clark and Addison Streets. So next time our beloved Cubs aren’t doing so well on the score board, take a stop by the patio for a glass of Tennessee Whiskey; I suggest the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey!


Chris Fletcher of Jack Daniel's


Jack Daniel's at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Whiskey at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


This post was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s. All content and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.


{All pictures by Lauren Fondriest | The Chicago Lifestyle}


Ballin’ on a Budget: Low-Cost Bars in Lincoln Park

Ballin’ on a Budget: Low-Cost Bars in Lincoln Park


Though I’m often in denial about it, I’m on a college budget and need to start acting like it! I’ve mastered the art of walking through a mall without buying clothes I don’t need and have learned to cook at home to eliminate expensive checks, but I’m still working on going out and maintaining a low tab. In an effort to drink cheap and late night eats low – here is our guide to low-cost bars in Lincoln Park; ballin’ on a budget, if you will.




Derby Bar and Grill


Derby Bar Chicago


As a southern girl, I love the idea of going to Derby and on Monday nights for the $5 Burgers and $5 Fat Pour Drafts. Derby is a nicer hang for one dining on a small budget, so Monday’s are great! According to their website, Derby is one of Chicago’s oldest prohibition bars and their simple southern charm atmosphere reflects its history perfectly. The inside is nice, but I definitely recommended you take your burger and beer outside to the beautiful beer garden on the side.




Clark’s Bar and Grille


clarke's bar and grille chicago


On Tuesdays Clarke’s offers $1 Beef Tacos, $2 Corona Bottles, $3 Jameson Whiskey, $5 Patron Tequila, and $3 Fireball Whiskey. What’s better than 2 tacos and 2 Coronas for $4?? Do tip the waitresses well though, they are all super sweet and ready to load you up with the specials. I don’t frequent Clarke’s on weekends often because they tend to attract a young and sometimes rowdy crowd but Tuesdays at Clarke’s are prime.




Duffy’s Tavern and Grille


This giant bar on Diversey offers $1 Budweiser, Shock Top Drafts, and Bud Light on Wednesdays, but the best part is the live music.  The cover band, “The Hot Sauce Committee” knows how to get the entire bar dancing and belting the lyrics to all the beloved oldies. The front room is separate from the band so whether you’re there to drink on a small tab or sing your heart out to “Backstreet’s Back,” Duffy’s is the place for ballin’ on a Wednesday budget.




McGee’s Tavern and Grille


McGee’s Tavern and Grille is the classic neighborhood sports bar and is located at the Sheffield and Webster intersection in the heart of Lincoln Park. On Thursdays McGee’s offers $1 Bud Family Bottles and $4 Fireball shots. If you enjoy your experience at McGee’s, check out some of the other Bar1 Events bars like Durkins, Redmonds, and others.




Irish Eyes


Irish Eyes Chicago


On Lincoln just north of Fullerton, Irish Eyes offers $3.50 PBR Tall Boys on Fridays. Beware, if you are not in college – this is a college bar, but one of the most beloved of DePaul bars. Irish Eyes is loved by the young folks in the neighborhood for the music on Wednesday – Saturday nights. They offer some of the best of country music and you can be assured the entire bar will be swaying to “Wagon Wheel” at least once in a night. Some are deterred by the dark green carpet but Irish Eyes has the wonderful “bar” feel; not too big, not too small, and clean but hilariously graffiti-ied bathrooms.






MaxBar Chicago


Finding a deal on Saturday nights is the real trick especially if you’re looking for main-stream bars, but it’s is definitely possible! My suggestion would be to go with a big group of friend to MaxBar on North Lincoln. On Saturday nights they offer one bottle of Grey Goose and one bottle of Patron Silver for $225. Though it doesn’t sound like the best deal at first, keep in mind you’re paying in a group for bottle service on top shelf vodka and tequila.


Have fun out there! What are your favorite spots for Ballin’ on a Budget in Lincoln Park? Comment below!


{Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4}


Glappitnova Brings Together a Kaleidoscope of Chicago Culture

Glappitnova Brings Together a Kaleidoscope of Chicago Culture


You know that feeling when you leave somewhere more motivated than when you went in? I had the opportunity to attend Glappitnova last week, and left feeling inspired, motivated and generally cooler for living in Chicago.


Read up on Glappitnova in the article I wrote in June.


Enter scene from Wednesday:


Mingling amongst the fashionistas, start-up mavens, cultural personalities and many more, I absorbed what the festival had to offer. Held in Moonlight Studios in the West Loop, the event took over the studio with several rooms to showcase the talents of local speakers and performers. Guest stars such as the Bachelorette’s Frank Neuschaefer introduced speakers as they embarked on their 10 minutes of storytelling.


“You are defined by your purpose” – “Use your talent responsibly” – “I failed so many times and now I’ve figured it out” …. These were some of the words of wisdom heard at Glappitnova. A few of the fabulous speakers I saw included:


  • Aalap Shah – Founder of SoMe Connect, who overcame failure after failure when he learned that he had to be either all in or all out, and threw himself all in
  • Case Kenny and Seth Sutton – Co-founders of PRSUIT, who bring together genuine guys sharing meaningful stories on their website,
  • Luvvie Ajayi – Blogger and Co-founder of the Red Pump Project, who witnessed the power of the Internet when she reconnected with an old friend half a world away, and now uses the Internet to help others
  • UB Rodriguez, WGCI Radio Talk Host, who built bridges so strong they carried him to his dream career


Host Frank Neuschaefer


Aalap Shah


Luvvie Ajayi


Hearing the lessons, the jokes, the inspiration and great tales through the night reminded me of how many unique personalities and talents there are in Chicago. Stepping outside the bounds of your usual scene has its perks – new connections were made, drinks were had and dancing ensued.


Following the speeches were performances by The Brothers StarRace, Lili K and Klassik. Klassik’s performance was both intimate and crowd-energizing. Stepping off the stage and onto the dance floor, he brought the crowd into a clapping, dancing circle around him. Great way to get the party going!


klassik, glappitnova



Stay tuned for next year’s Glappitnova event, and learn more about the organization and how you can get involved at


{Images by Lauren Fondriest | The Chicago Lifestyle}



Ready to Mingle? Reporting on the Scene at Old St. Pat’s Block Party

Ready to Mingle? Reporting on the Scene at Old St. Pat’s Block Party


A few weeks ago the 30th annual Old St. Pats Block Party went underway.  For just a price of $40 for a one day pass or $75 for a two day pass you gained entry along with 4 free beers to enjoy and watch bands such as: Guster, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Mowgli’s, Third Eye Blind and more.


Since this block party was a 21 year old and up event, and since I have a face of a 17 year old, I was immediately asked for my I.D. by the happy and smiling faces of the volunteers of the Old St. Pats community.  I really cannot express enough though of how enormously friendly and welcoming all the volunteers were at the block party throughout my time there.


Moving on, through this cheerful atmosphere, my first stop was to go grab a nice cold beer.  Savoring that golden refreshment while making my way to the main stage to see G. Love & Special Sauce play there were many different tents and stands offering various things like: glorious food, fun games and even raffle chances to win things like a trip to Ireland or a free year of rent in Chicago. I entered that raffle, and needless to say I didn’t win.


That was alright though! G. Love & Special Sauce definitely made up for it as I made my way to the stage (they are pictured above).  Their unique “sloppy” and “laid back” tunes that incorporated classic R&B was a mighty refreshment to hear in a live setting.  Personally, I would have to say that they were my favorite band to play there just based on their uniqueness, which I just love.


As the night moved on and the sky grew dark more people started to join the crowd on the car-less streets while the stoplights were frozen red.  My overall experience at the block party was enthralling.  I also have to mention that here were beautiful people everywhere. Which brings me to my next point – that I think this block party is great for the bachelors and bachelorettes in the great city of Chicago. So if you are still single and ready to mingle in July of 2015, then come on out to the 31st annual Old St. Pats Block Party!



Miss or Kiss? What You Missed at Chicago Pride 2014

Miss or Kiss? What You Missed at Chicago Pride 2014


You wait for it to come once a year. You take hours to prep for the festivities. You probably have a drunk relative wandering around making bad jokes. It’s like Christmas, but with more colors.


Every year, Chicago hosts one of its biggest attractions and certainly its most colorful: Pride. Chicago Pride is held the last Sunday of June every year running north from Wilson and Montrose to Sheridan and Diversey. Completing its 45th year, the Pride Parade is only a single part of the Pride Week that Chicago holds every year, but has become to be known as the signature Pride event.


Did you miss it? Technically, but what Pride means to its on-goers may draw you to attend next year. Besides the eye-catching floats, skimpy outfits, and the blast of Lady Gaga, Pride fosters an environment that means a lot to people from all walks of life. Check out what these Pride-goers had to say when we asked what Pride meant to them:


“As for me, I’m trying to figure it out, but as I look around and over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of people are proud of the fact that they can express themselves and this was not possible years ago, decades ago. Now that it is possible, it’s something to be even more proud of and celebrate.” - Steven, 31, Chicago


“To express yourself, to not be afraid of who you are. It’s acceptance, all over. Everyone’s okay with everyone and it’s amazing. Everybody should be who they are, period.” – Fabie, 19, Chicago


“Pride means everything. Happiness, equality, love, acceptance, being myself. And it means the world to me.” - Lorenzo, 28, St. Louis


“I think it’s a time to reflect on and be grateful for those who have come before us. We’re really lucky that we haven’t had to fight some of those fights that we’ve seen before, where people are literally beaten. So I think today we pay homage to those people as well as celebrate who we are.” – Paul, 34, Chicago


“[Pride is] an opportunity to embrace who we are, not only as a community, but as an entire nation, as the entire world.” – Kyle, 24, Florida


“I have a quote, I forget the philosopher, but it says, ‘To be comfortable, to be so at ease with one’s environment, that you can’t tell where your body ends and the world begins, because bodies extend into spaces and spaces extend into bodies.’ That’s what Pride means to me.” – Jasmine, 21, Baltimore



Pride creates a home for love, acceptance, and yes, men in tight swimsuits. Check out more of what you missed at Pride this year and watch our Pride video. See you all next year!


To get more information about future Prides and events held during June for Pride Month, visit for details.