by Jenny Schooley
One reason I love Chicago so much is that a night out means endless possibilities. From doughnut shops to wine bars and comedy venues, I make a point to try as many spots as I can, while still watching my wallet. Take a look at my quest to hit the streets for good food and fun for under $30!
The BYOB restaurant serves up classic Asian fare in a charming setting. French doors make window seats ideal for people watching, and an assortment of Thai murals cover the brick walls. The space is roomy, with seating divided into two rooms – great for accommodating large parties. Plates are piled high with noodles, curry, or rice dishes. Grab a friend and split an appetizer like baby egg rolls ($4.50), a bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s for under $6, and an entree like Crazy Noodles for under $9, and walk away from Joy’s spending around $17. (No corkage fees.)
Swing by the Brew & View at the Vic for $5 double or triple features. The experience is miles from your modern multiplex, and that’s why it’s special. This big screen house dates back to an early 1920’s Victorian Theater/vaudeville house that converted into a concert venue that is now a movie theater when concerts are not booked. Where else can you catch multiple movies for just 5 bucks, and drink a beer for $3 at the same time? Movies range from pictures still in theaters to older classics. Find tables and chairs downstairs and theater-style seating upstairs. End-of-evening tab: $8.
Molly’s bakes up picture-taking-worthy, easy-to-inhale creations. The sweet spot is not your cookie-cutter bakeshop. Treat yourself to the delectable menu of Strawberry Shortcake, Cake Batter, Cookie Monster, or a Blueberry Cheesecake cupcake. Some are filled, others are classic, vegan, or build-your-own where you pick a base, frosting, and topping. Cupcake boutiques are multiplying but Molly’s get my vote. Also available to consume: cookies and bars, pies and cheesecake. Spend about $2 to $5. Open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Jenny Schooley is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She currently works as a communications analyst for a financial corporation.