As merry as the holiday season is, let's face it: it hurts our wallets. Shopping may be a brutal endeavor, but dining out for Christmas doesn't have to be. Check out some spots around Chicago offering budget-friendly holiday eats and drinks.
Coppervine (1962 N. Halsted St.)
Wine and food are in perfect synergy at Coppervine, the only restaurant of its kind in Chicago dedicated wholly to the craft of mindfully matching dishes with drinks. And since it's the holidays, you need to be doing a lot of eating and drinking at the same time. To boot, Coppervine offers a few budget-friendly specials throughout the week that are sure to help you save a bit of shopping money. Tuesdays offer a $35 three-course "date night" special, "Wino Wednesdays" feature 50% off wines by the bottle, and bubbly and fried chicken are on deck for $20 on Thursdays.
Trenchermen (2039 W. North Ave.)
That awkward moment when you crave a prix fixe dinner degustation but remember you're broke because Christmas. Ho ho oh no! Fortunately, Trenchermen offers just the solution with their weekly Monday "staff meal" menu, a rotating three-course affair designed to echo the sentiment of homely hospitality and warmth, all for $20. And no, you don't need to be on staff to order it. Diners get a choice of dish per course, and while the menus shift regularly, examples include seafood soup in tomato broth, leg of lamb with braised lentils, mapo tofu with oats and lentils, and creme brûlée adorned with delicate palmiers.
Slippery Slope (2357 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Regardless of your naughty vs. nice status, one thing that can unify us all is a good dance floor and solid cocktails. Slippery Slope is open on Christmas, offering a boisterous refuge from clamorous family dinner tables and living rooms littered with gift wrap shrapnel. Along with dancing, bottled cocktails, and skee ball, the jolly bar will be airing holiday movies in their projector and ordering Chinese food at 8:00 p.m.
Bub City (435 N. Clark St.)
What's a holiday season without an ugly sweater party? Bub City is a great destination for frugal dining throughout the year, a bastion of burly barbecue and booze in the heart of River North, but it's even more endearing when the barstaurant hosts an ugly sweater contest on Christmas Eve. Guests are invited/encouraged to wear their ugliest sweater and rock out to live band karaoke. The top three contestants who earn the loudest applause will vie for a chance to win two tickets to Bub City's New Year's Eve party and $100 in Bub City gift cards. Call 312-610-4200 for reservations.
bellyQ (1400 W. Randolph St.)
Communal, shareable dining is at the crux of the Christmas season, but why not think outside the glazed ham and venture into Asian barbecue? bellyQ is just the ticket, a sprawling Mecca of grilled meats, cocktails, and Korean-inspired cuisine in the West Loop. The grill tables, perfect for small groups looking to enjoy some DIY-style marinated meats, are available for those looking for something a bit more interactive. The best part? The quality food and drink come at a low price tag.
Photos: Coppervine, Trenchermen, Slippery Slope, Bub City, bellyQ