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Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Category - Nightlife

Drinking in the Vice

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:00 PM by Liz Garibay

In the late 1800s, all of Chicago was booming. The city was re-building and growing in ways that were unthinkable. No matter the industry, opportunity was available for any and all. And as much as the good was thriving, the bad did too. 

Vice districts flourished in all major urban centers, and Chicago had her fair share. The most infamous of them all, The Levee, was located in modern day South Loop. It was here that Chicago would come to gamble, drink, and visit an assortment of brothels. Aldermen Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin ran the successful First Ward and advocated for its existence. Thanks to Karen Abbott’s insightful book, Sin In The Second City, you can read all about the unique cast of characters that once were. And if you want to throw back a few where some of this history sultry history happened, head on over to Vice District Brewing (1454 S Michigan Ave). 

As Chicagoans, we are often inspired by our city. The people and places of both the past and present seem to influence much of what we do. From fires to fairs, our history is varied, and complicated. And perhaps one tale from our rich past is the one that has affected us the most. The Great Chicago Fire was such a pivotal moment for us that we honor it with a star on our beloved flag. It was a time of tragedy, yet it was a time for a rebirth. When I first encountered Burnt City Brewing in Lincoln Park, I was singed with curiosity. And then I got it. And I appreciated it. Not just because of a fire, but because beer. And history.

A Kiki is urban slang for a party with good music and friends meant to calm the nerves, allowing people to spill the tea and dish the dirt for the purpose of reducing anxiety and stress. Given the political climate, the LGBTQ community and their allies seem in desperate need of a kiki.

Early in 2017, the Laugh Factory Chicago (3175 North Broadway) launched the new LGBTQ monthly show, the Kiki — Queer Comedy with Variety. Since then, the Kiki has provided a solid roster featuring Chicago’s top queer talent.

Beer lovers, rejoice! It’s a great time to be alive!  This could have been a headline in 1890s Chicago when our town was one of the biggest producers of beer during the late 19th Century.  And lucky for us, history repeats itself.  Today we are in the midst of the greatest beer producing period in American history.  Walk in any direction and you’ll undoubtedly find a brewery within half a mile.  As a historian, it’s fun to think about how the past influences our present.  And as a beer historian, it’s pretty special to reflect on recent beer history.

In thinking about the modern era of Chicago beer, there are certain breweries that were true pioneers.  Piece Pizzeria & Brewery (1927 W. North Avenue) opened in Wicker Park in 2001, at a time when the city of Chicago had only one other brewery (waves at Goose Island).  A brewery in Wicker Park may have seemed novel 16 years ago, but 116 years ago, not so much.

River North might just be the nightlife capital of Chicago. However, this neighborhood has much more to offer than just bars. You could easily spend an entire day here dining, shopping and enjoying the city. Keep reading for your guide to a day in River North that won’t break the bank.  

Chicago Craft Beer Week 2017: May 18–25

Monday, May 15, 2017 12:00 AM by Liz Garibay

Chicago Craft Beer Week (May 18–25) always offers an array of delicious opportunities for thirsty Chicagoans, and this year's schedule is no different. Here is a little intro to the events celebrating local Chicago and Illinois breweries, and some of my top picks for the 2017 #CCBW line-up. See you there!

On a quiet corner of Belle Plaine Avenue in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, beside the Metra tracks, wild, Chicago-born yeast blows in through the third floor window of the acclaimed Dovetail Brewery, magically turning water into some of the best Lambic-style beers in Chicago and beyond.

Margaritas are a staple drink of summertime in Chicago. They're refreshing, tasty and appropriate to enjoy with brunch, lunch or dinner. The top Chicago margaritas on this list will make you want to venture out for Mexican cuisine on more than just Taco Tuesdays or Cinco de Mayo!

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