Best BBQ Summer Side DishesIn the barbecue genre, smoked proteins are, and always will be, the big hog on the menu. In many cases, they are dominant to a fault. Other menu items become a distant afterthought, to the point where a side dish may consist of a single, sad slice of discount white bread. Thankfully, some of the best local ‘cue joints are wise to the importance of backing up the headliners with stellar supporting dishes, and adding a gourmet flair to the far corners of the menu. Here are some of the standouts.
Best Summer Accessories For MenHere in the Midwest, accessories on guys often begin and end with something akin to a fanny pack. This is an unnecessary reality, and one that can be avoided without spending too much money on Main Street or wandering for hours like a lost bovine at the mall. Summer means dressing down, but accessories are a good way to dress back up a bit with seasonal style. Here's a selection of add-ons that will help you do summer right, i.e., without a freaking fanny pack.
Best Free Chicago Summer ConcertsIt's the season for big-ticket concerts and weekend-long lineups with multi-day passes priced in the hundreds. Luckily, for us cheapskates, summer’s also the season for live music events of the free variety. One of the perks of big city life is there’s plenty of free entertainment, and you don't have to look too hard to find it. The hefty schedule of outdoor festivals downtown and in the neighborhoods add up nicely to a summer's worth of live jams on the cheap, and there's something for every taste. Here are my personal picks for the top local freebie shows for Summer 2012.
Just For Laughs 2012 GuideChicagoans who suffer the chills of "second city syndrome" should feel the warm & fuzzies this June, as we become top dog on the American comedy scene. How so, you may ask? Well for the fourth year in a row, Chicago will host the largest comedy festival in the United States, a multi-venue, multi-talent laugh-fest that spans the city and pulls the country's hottest comedians in from the comfy coasts to their faithful city of stand-up destiny, Chicago.
Guide To Lincoln Park ZooAs if a stroll through Lincoln Park on a fine day weren’t enough to convince Chicagoans that city summers are a more than adequate payback for the preceding winter, there are innumerable jewels nestled within the landscape to ensure that great things await you at every turn. Peaceful gardens and ponds, historic buildings and statues, playlots and paths abound, and in the middle of it all is a world-class (and free!) zoo...
Best Chicago Rooftop LoungesYes, rooftop bars often have restrictive reservation policies, get easily overcrowded, and charge a premium for the minimum, but the vibes and the breezes and the boozes often go a great distance toward making up for the fusses. Here's a selection of the city's finest upper-floor hangouts to sip, be seen, and gaze upon the wondrous urban canopy beyond.
Chicago’s Best Barber ShopsWhile barber shops may seem like a ubiquitous dime a dozen, there’s quite a lot that can set one apart from another. Often its the little touches that make a shop special, like a particularly good value, eccentric decor, the effortless precision of a master barber with a few good jokes, complimentary beer, or the owner's dog lounging at your feet while you wait. Here's a list of some of the best places in town to become a regular customer at that will keep you looking tight.
Eight Things To Know About The HideoutFor both newbies and regulars alike, The Hideout is an abundantly friendly venue with great rustic appeal, a front-porch Americana vibe that is hard to find elsewhere, an ideal destination for a laid-back night of down-to-earth fun with a group of friends. It’s a vibrant nugget of conviviality tucked modestly away on an industrial side street, with plenty to offer beyond the standard menu of amusement, and should be embraced for these virtues and more. Here are eight reasons why.
CIMMfest: Chicago Music & Movies FestivalGoing back to the earliest days of cinema, when silents were accompanied by live-in theater musicians, music and film have been artistically complementary. The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, now in its fourth year, honors the enduring relationship between the two art forms with four days & nights of film screenings, live performances, VJ/DJ sets, and several Q&A sessions with actors, directors and musicians, at various venues around Logan Square and Wicker Park. Here’s a selection of highlights from the lineup for this weekend’s CIMMfest.
Wrigley Field Rooftop GuideIf you’re planning a North side baseball outing with modern amenities in mind, or with a group to accommodate, the Wrigley rooftops are an ideal alternative. The rooftop experience is something like watching a game in a nice bar with an actual view of the game, cleaner restrooms, and (usually) shorter food/beer lines. Gather some friends and pick a date, or start nudging the boss to get the summer office party plans rolling. Anyway, there are 16 rooftops to choose from, so here's the breakdown.
Screen Stars On The Chicago StageEvery theater season in Chicago brings some recognizable names to town in some form or another, and the local entertainment calendar’s got a variety of marquee line-ups on the way. From highbrow drama to lowbrow comedy, and a little bit in between, here’s a selection upcoming on-stage appearances by notable names and familiar faces this season.
Best Chicago Wine BarsWine bars have evolved quite a bit in recent years, and now appear in a lot more varieties than they used to. You don't have to be a glasses-and-turtleneck Wine Spectator subscriber to appreciate them, either, as the food (and, yes, beer) at many local establishments has broadened the wine bar appeal...
Chicago Irish Film Festival GuideOne great way to find a more genuine and contemporary Irish experience is through the island nation’s current contributions to cinema. Luckily, the south side offers more for St. Pat’s than dubious parade experiences, so consider checking out the 13th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival at the Beverly Arts Center March 2-7. Here’s a guide to this year’s six-day ode to Irish filmmaking.
Chicago Cultural Center GuideAt the corner of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue, across from Millennium Park, stands the 115-year-old former central library building that now serves as Chicago’s cultural epicenter. The Chicago Cultural Center is a local treasure, beckoning passers-by to stop in and experience the bouquet of cultural bounty flourishing within its impressively-crafted walls...
Guide To Groundhog DaySince 1993, the Groundhog Day holiday has enjoyed renewed interest due to the namesake cult film starring the very excellent Bill Murray as weatherman Phil Connors. While Punxsatawney, PA gets most the national attention on the day itself, the actual location of the filming of Groundhog Day is our very own Woodstock, IL. Murray was the star, but the town itself plays a major role...