Imagine the perfect night in Chicago: a tasty meal, great drinks, wonderful conversation and a captivating show to top it off. Now imagine doing all of that in one place. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not in this city. Because Chicago is a world-class theater city and a world-class restaurant destination, we naturally have a few amazing places where you can do all of the above under one roof.
Here are three theaters and their bars/restaurants offering both theatrical and culinary delights guaranteed to make an evening-out memorable.
What do you get when you take BOKA Restaurant Group and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, two renowned Chicago institutions that master food and theater respectively, and combine them to create a café and bar? A warm, inviting artists' haven where the food and drinks are as creative as the people enjoying them. At Front Bar you can sip on La Colombe coffee during the day and tasty craft cocktails at night. And don't forget the grub. Chef Chris Pandel sets out to feed the proverbial starving artist with delicious sandwiches, fresh salads and house-made pizzas.
Front Bar opened its doors to delighted theater-goers this past May. It's attached to the Steppenwolf building, in front of their new 1700 Theatre. Whether you need a cup of joe to jolt your inspiration, or a delicious dinner before checking out one of Steppenwolf's amazing shows, Front Bar delivers.
1700 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Open 7 a.m. to Midnight daily.
When iO moved in 2014 from its longtime home in Wrigleyville to its new location in the Clybourn Corridor, it made substantial upgrades, including adding a food program and amping up its bar offerings.
While it may not be brand new, the theater is still making a splash; its four stages, two bars, beer garden and tasty pub food can easily turn your two-hour show into a raucous all-nighter. It makes for one of the most convivial spots in town. If you hang out at the bar for more than five minutes you're almost guaranteed to make a new friend. Its clubhouse-like atmosphere is infectious and the crowd is willing and eager to have a good time. IO's new space has really turned into a mecca for Chicago improvisers: with the theater, tasty food and great beer all conveniently located under one roof, why would anyone leave?
1501 N. Kingsbury St
Chicago, IL 60642
Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Yes, the Second City has offered food and drink service during its shows for a long time. But this past March, the sketch-comedy theater upped its culinary game by opening 1959 Kitchen & Bar. Now theater patrons and neighborhood residents alike can enjoy great craft beer, cocktails and American fare made with sustainable and organic regional ingredients. 1959 takes its name from the year the Second City was founded; its retro-inspired design and picture-clad walls also nod to its origin and speak to its continued evolution. It's the perfect spot to kick back, relax and play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with famous Second City alums.
230 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60610
Located on the second floor of Piper's Alley.
Open Sunday-Friday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Photo credits: Front Bar at Steppenwolf, Joshua Aaron Weinstein. Front Bar day scene, Joel Moorman. Front Bar cocktail, Neil Burger. The bar at iO, courtesy of iO. The beer garden at iO, courtesy of iO. 1959 Kitchen & Bar, Kirsten Miccoli. 1959 flatbread, Caitlin Ford.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and commenters and do not reflect the views of Choose Chicago.