Chicago - Lakeview-North Center
Lakeview has the lion's share of Chicago nightlife, starting with Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs and major players in the city's theater and music scenes, and Boystown, one of the largest and most vibrant GLBT communities in the United States. Down the street from both is the Belmont strip, where teen punks flock to shop and show off in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot.
Further west are the neighborhoods of North Center, Roscoe Village and St. Ben's, which have fun, laid-back bars and restaurants.
For many years, Lakeview was so far away from the action that opening a saloon on Clark Street was a considered a peaceful retirement for convicted ex-politicians in Chicago. With the expansion of the elevated train system, however, that changed rapidly, and with the 1914 construction of Weeghman Park, later to be known as Wrigley Field, Lakeview became the capital of the North Side. The Chicago Cubs, also known as the most dominant baseball franchise of the 19th century, took up residence at Wrigley and commenced the relentless lack of success that has made them famous. Other teams have slumps, but the Cubs are beyond compare, tormenting their fans a hundred years of near-misses, late collapses, and abject futility unrivaled in American professional sports. So why is Game Day still a joy in Wrigleyville? As the last franchise in baseball to install stadium lights for night games, the Cubs' schedule still features more early afternoon starts than any other team in the league, and the sun-soaked ivy walls of Wrigley Field are a pleasure no matter what the score. Today, it's a rare thing in America: a genuine neighborhood ballpark, surrounded by streets that amplify the Cubs fandom into frenzy on game day. As a nightlife destination, Wrigleyville also supports the Metro, one of Chicago's foremost rock venues, and other great ones like Schuba's and The Vic. The storefront theater scene also thrives here.
But there's more to Lakeview than Wrigleyville. A short walk east is Boystown, home of a cheerful, lively GLBT community and a great destination for anyone who enjoys high-energy nightlife. It's also home to the massive annual Pride Parade in June. Roscoe Village is west of Wrigley, and is popular with older gay couples and young people lured in by fashionable boutiques and the promise of a sunny day at one of the many sidewalk cafes on Southport, not to mention Chicago's premier movie revival house, the Music Box. And Lakeview embraces its inner dive bar in North Center, full of converted warehouses, quality bowling alleys and cheap beer without the jocks.
The CTA Red Line makes stops in Lakeview (Belmont) and Wrigleyville (Addison, Sheridan). The Brown Line, further west, connects with the Red Line at Belmont, but makes additional stops in Lakeview (Diversey, Wellington - closed til 6/2009, Southport), Roscoe Village (Paulina - closed til 4/2009), and North Center (Addison, Irving Park). As long as the weather is favorable, the distances between a closed Brown Line station and the next one down the line is walkable.
- 8 Halsted travels through Boystown. Be warned, though, that a recent poll named this the worst bus route in the city. It's late when it shows up and goes nowhere fast.
- 9 Ashland is an all-night route.
- 11 Lincoln runs from Lincoln Park through some nice parts of Roscoe Village and North Center, connecting with the Brown Line at Paulina, and on to Lincoln Square.
- 22 Clark runs the length of the north side, but it slows to a crawl through Wrigleyville, particularly on weekends and on days of Cubs games. It runs all night long.
- 36 Broadway comes in from Uptown and carries on to the Loop.
- 49 Western runs all night through most of the city and hits the Belmont/Western intersection, near which is the best of the Roscoe Village nightlife.
- 76 Diversey runs east/west on Diversey, the border between Lincoln Park and Lakeview, and continues to Logan Square.
- 77 Belmont runs all night and connects Roscoe Village with the Belmont Red/Brown Line stop and Boystown.
- 80 Irving Park runs most of the east/west length of the city, connecting with the Brown Line in North Center and the Sheridan Red Line.
- 152 Addison travels east/west through the edge of Boystown, Wrigleyville, and on to North Center.
Lake Shore Drive has exits at Belmont and Addison. Beware of driving on Clark Street on weekends and during Cubs games, though. The taxis are a menace and the drunks are drawn to the middle of the street like flies to lights. You'll go nowhere fast and see Chicago at its worst in slow-motion.
- Horner Park, 2741 W Montrose Ave, ☎ +1 773 478-3499, . Great big wonderful park with plenty of softball fields, football and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, trees, and a nice walking path. The leafy surroundings make it a great place for the annual pumpkin patch in the fall.
- Wunders Cemetery, 3963 N Clark St(Sheridan Red Line), ☎ +1 773 525-4038. Overshadowed by the magnificent Graceland Cemetery across the street in Uptown, the smaller, slightly overgrown Wunders was established in 1859 and features some intriguing monuments, with more of a forgotten-by-time atmosphere than its more famous neighbor. A third cemetery, Jewish Graceland, is directly south.Free.
- Music Box, 3733 N Southport Ave(Southport Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 871-6604, . Evening shows on weekdays, matinees and midnight movies on weekends. Chicago's foremost source of cinematic delight, with classic and world-premiere independent movies and the occasional mini-festival in a vintage theater. Tickers $7.25-$9.25.
- Timber Lanes, 1851 W Irving Park Rd(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 549-9770, . M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 3PM-3AM, Su 1PM-2AM. If you like to sample the bowling culture of any city you visit, this is a fine choice; there are eight well-kept lanes, a cash bar, a good jukebox, and a few references to The Big Lebowski. Might be wise to call ahead for availability in the early evening, though, as there are a few leagues.$2-$2.50 per game, except F-Sa at night, when it's $20/hour per lane.
- Wrigley Field, 1060 W Addision St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 404-2827, . Ernie Banks, Harry Caray, that damned billy goat, and the 1908 champs; yes, this is the home of the Chicago Cubs, the North Side's beloved, diabolically unsuccessful baseball team. Among ballparks, only Fenway in Boston can match the old-time beauty of Wrigley and its famous ivy-covered walls. If you'd like to see Wrigley without attending a game, tours  are occasionally offered ($25).Tickets can be as low as $8 for 'value dates', but the prize seats in the bleachers are usually $32, and certain dates wind up in scalpers' hands long before regular folks get a shot at them. 'Associations' host 'guests' on the rooftops around Wrigley, usually with unlimited beer and burgers, for upwards of $100.
A few great venues are also listed under Drink as well.
- Metro, 3730 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ ''+1 773'' 549-0203, . Chicago's foremost rock venue, although other genres like electronic and hip hop figure in the lineup as well. If a band is on the verge of stardom and they're on their way through Chicago, the Metro has a knack for booking them. Many shows are all ages, and are generally affordable. Tickets general admission (e.g. standing room only), so be prepared to stand, and press forward for your right to see a guitarist's nostrils.Tickets vary by event.
- The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 472-0449, . Check website for movie showtimes; usually two shows, 8PM/10:30PM. The Vic hosts the Brew and View , a second-run movie theater with cheap Miller beer, and turns into a good concert venue on other nights — not dissimilar to the Metro in size or sound quality, but there are seats.Concert prices vary; movies are $5, plus $1.50 for cheap beers.
- Briar Street Theater, 3133 N Halsted St(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 348-4000, . Box office M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 12-4PM. The Chicago home of the nationally famed performance art Blue Man Group. Shows in the evenings, with matinees included on weekends. (Be advised, though: if you've seen them elsewhere, you're not likely to see anything new here.)Tickets from $49.
- I.O.(formerly ImprovOlympic), 3541 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 880-0199, . Usually two shows a night, around 8PM/10:30PM, with midnight shows F-Sa. I.O. is the puppy mill of improv comedy: its training center churns out graduates at a rapid pace, and most are given the brief honor of performing unpaid on its two stages (both of which have bars) until there are more grads to rotate in. Shows are generally solid, if lacking the artistic direction that makes the other major comedy theaters great. However, when veterans and visiting luminaries take the stage on Monday nights for the Armando Diaz Experience or Wednesdays for TJ & Dave, the results can be exhilarating.W 8PM and midnight shows free; other shows $5-$14.
- Live Bait Theater, 3914 N Clark St(Sheridan Red Line), ☎ +1 773 871-1212, . The plays are the bait, and you are the fish. (Lest you assume that you're intended to watch nightcrawlers do Hamlet.) Live Bait provides a good venue for small theater companies and solo performers to debut original plays or adaptations — no bad seats, and reliably interesting shows.Tickets usually $10-20.
- The Playground, 3209 N Halsted St(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 871-3793, . Usually two shows a night, around 8PM/10PM, with occasional midnight shows F-Sa. The Playground has a few things going for it: the perfect location for beginning or ending the night with a show, a BYOB liquor license, and a non-profit co-op structure that makes the performers here some of the most enthusiastic and committed you'll find. Quality will vary by ensemble, but long-timers Homey Loves Chachi and The Fling are exceptional, and the Big Yellow Bus on Thursday nights assembles the best the theater has to offer.$8-$12.
- Stage Left Theater, 3408 N Sheffield Ave(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 883-8830, . Shows usually 8PM. One of the mainstays of Chicago's storefront theater since 1982, Stage Left hosts everything: new works of social, political, intently serious drama are balanced out by manic rough drafts of new comedies by guest ensembles and the "R-rated improv" of the pH company  late Friday and Saturday nights.Tickets $10-20.
Events & Festivals
- Pride Parade, 3712 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 348-8243, . Last weekend of June. The annual celebration of Chicago's gay community, led by a parade down Halsted with floats and foam rubber contraptions that are not for the faint-of-heart. It's crowded, but it's a favorite of people from all over the city, and always high-energy. Most Boystown bars, clubs, and restaurants hold special events along with it.
There are a few shopping areas of note. The Southport Corridor (3300 N to 3800 N) has a row of independent boutiques. Some have been hit hard by the long closure of the Southport Brown Line stop, but it's still good for window-shopping. Lincoln Avenue in Roscoe Village also has some worthwhile shops, particularly near the Paulina Brown Line stop. Clark Street near Diversey has a few chain retailers like Marshall's and smaller stores in their shadow, anchored by the massive Century Shopping Centre (see below).
On game days, the streets of Wrigleyville are packed with vendors selling cheap Cubs gear.
- The Alley, 3228 N Clark St(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), . The rock 'n roll shop in Chicago. Styles extend into punk, mod, emo, rockabilly, and goth; offerings range from clothes, shoes, and jewelry to bondage gear. It's the kind of edgy that is loved by no one as much as teenagers. Look for the skull and crossbones logo.
- Anthropologie, 3532 N Southport Ave(Southport Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 935-2693, . Librarian chic clothes boutique.
- The Brown Elephant, 3645 N Halsted St., ☎ +1 773 549-5943. 11AM-6PM daily. Find bargains on a large selection of second hand merchandise, including many upscale brands. All proceeds support HIV/AIDS care and gay and lesbian services.
- Century Shopping Centre, 2828 N Clark St, ☎ +1 773 929-8100. Most stores M-F 10:30AM-9PM, Sa 10:30AM-6PM, Su 12-6PM; open later for movies. A vertical mall headlined by the Landmark's Century Centre multiplex  showing independent and foreign movies, and several floors of stores from fashion chains like The Express.
- Gaymart, 3457 N Halsted St(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 929-4272. With a large variety of gay-themed items and a cheerful lack of restraint, Gaymart is a must for Boystown shoppers.
- Pink Frog, 3201 N Clark St, ☎ +1 773 525-2680. M-Sa 11AM-7:30PM, Su 12-5PM. One of the best places in Chicago for cute and stylish shoes for women, and a selection of jackets and skirts to match. If you can't find the shoes you want here, the DSW Warehouse at 3131 N Clark is huge and might have them.
- Ragstock, 812 W Belmont Ave(Belmont Red Line), ☎ +1 773 868-9263, . M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 12-7PM. Cheap re-sale clothes shop. They also have a location in Wicker Park, but this one is open later (for those impulse fedoras) and has two floors.
- Twosided, 2958 N Clark St(Wellington Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 244-6431, . Mon-Sat 11AM-7PM, Sun 11AM-6PM. Excellent selection of letterpress cards and other artful items, antiques, and one-of-a-kind objects. They also have a framing gallery in Andersonville, Foursided, but this one is a true gem.
- Uncle Fun, 1338 W Belmont Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 477-8223, . Tu-F 12-7PM, Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Somewhere between a treasure hunt, a toy store, and a state of derangement — all designed, in their own words, to Restore your Whimsical Nature.
It's not until you reach the high-end that Lakeview dining becomes especially memorable, but there are plenty of quick, reliable places. Most importantly, a lot of them are open late — this is probably the best place in the city to grab a bite after midnight.
- Bobtail Ice Cream Company, 2951 N Broadway St, 3425 N Southport Ave, ☎ +1 773 880-7372 (Broadway), 773-248-6104 (Southport), . Oct-Mar Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM; Apr-Sept Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. Terrific locally-made ice cream at half the price of Cold Stone. The Broadway location has a small, retro soda fountain ambiance, while the Southport is roomier and more modern.
- Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N Lincoln Ave(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 248-1820. M-F 6AM-10:30PM, Sa-Su 6AM-11PM. The food is average/above average diner fare, and the decor hasn't changed for decades, but a certain kind of person will feel compelled to enter by the giant head of Abraham Lincoln hanging out front, and perhaps you are that person. There's no accounting for the Civil War-themed menus, though. Good stand-up comedy shows are sometimes held in the Lincoln Lodge  side-room, and there's a bar as well.
- Melrose Restaurant, 3233 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 327-2060. 24 hours. Open around the clock and always busy, the Melrose is a diner of modest culinary aspirations (burgers, omelettes) but it's right at the center of Boystown whether it's time for brunch or long past time to sleep.$7-9.
- Nookie's Tree, 3334 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 248-9888. M-Th, Su 7AM-12AM, F-Sa all night. Casual, unpretentious diner that has been in Boystown for a long time. It's great for brunch, late-nights on weekends, and people-watching.
- Penny's Noodle Shop, 3400 N Sheffield Ave, ☎ +1 773 281-8222, . Su,Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM, M closed. The original location and always busy. If you're looking for fast food, Penny's serves delicious Thai/Asian food and charges less than McDonald's.$4-8.
- Salt n' Pepper Diner, 3537 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 883-9800. M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight, Su 7AM-4PM. This Wrigleyville greasy spoon has typical diner fare, but done in a way that makes it uniquely Chicago. The burgers are excellent, and so is the service. Lunch under $9.
- Satay, 936 W Diversey Ave(Diversey Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 477-0100. Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su-M 4PM-10PM. Decent Thai, Chinese, and Japanese food directly under the Diversey station. (It's never too loud, though.) The menu is surprisingly long for the size of the place, and they tend to do tofu notably well.$7-11.
- Angelina's Ristorante, 3561 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 935-5933, . M-Th 5:30-10PM, F-Sa 5:30-11PM, Su brunch 10:30AM-3PM, 5:30-10PM. High-end Italian cuisine with a charming, intimate vibe. The pumpkin ravioli is a knockout.$14-25.
- Ann Sather, 929 W Belmont Ave(Belmont Red Line), ☎ ''773'' 348-2378, . M-F 7AM-3PM, Sa-Su 7AM-4PM. This Swedish standby is a can't-miss for one of the city's best breakfasts, served all day, including warm, fresh-baked cinnamon rolls dripping with sugary icing. Now a bona-fide chainlet with five locations around Chicago, but try the nicely renovated 50-year-old Belmont branch.$10-14.
- Cesar's Restaurant, 3166 N Clark St(Belmont Red Line), ☎ +1 773 248-2835, . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 1-8PM. Mind-blowing margaritas and Mexican food at a price that practically demands over-indulgence. There's another location nearby at 2924 N Broadway.$9-14 for a meal, although the sky's the limit with the margaritas.
- The Chicago Diner, 3411 N Halsted St, ☎ ''773'' 935-6696, . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-10PM. A restaurant serving vegetarian-only food on Chicago's north side, the Diner's emphasis on quality — and its vegan shakes, which it proudly describes as "the shiznit" — has kept it around for more than 20 years.
- La Creperie, 2845 N Clark St(Diversey Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 528-9050, . Tu-F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9:30PM. Big, tasty crepes for breakfast, dinner, and dessert, with plenty of wine and beer. The outdoor seating is especially nice.$8-14.
- Laschet's Inn, 2119 W Irving Park Rd(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 478-7915. M-F 2PM-10:30PM, Sa-Su noon-10:30PM; tavern to 2AM Su-F, to 3AM Sa. Originally a tavern, Laschet's now has a full kitchen for mighty German food and meaty dinner specials.$7-20.
- Leona's, 3215 N Sheffield Ave(Belmont Red Line), ☎ +1 773 327-8861, . Su-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-12:30AM. The original location of the Chicago chainlet, serving good Italian and American fare. They serve plenty of meat, but the menu is friendly to vegetarians.$12-18.
- Matsuya, 3469 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 248-2677. M-F 5-11:30PM, Sa-Su noon-11:30PM. Not to be confused the beef bowl chain in Japan, but this Matsuya serves good, reliable sushi and tempura platters, and earns points for being an oasis amid the otherwise greasy food near Wrigley.$11-$17.
- New Tokyo, 3139 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 248-1193. 2-10PM. A small, unpretentious sushi joint at the edge of Boystown, and BYOB as a bonus. The menu has a good variety for budget and taste.$10-16.
- Que Rico!, 2814 N Southport Ave, ☎ +1 773 975-7436. M-Th 5-11PM, F-Su 12-10PM. Great Mexican/Argentinean food with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating that can turns one hour into three before you ever think to look at your watch. There's a second location at 2301 W Roscoe (tel. 773-248-7426) in Roscoe Village.
- Erwin, 2925 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 528-7200, . Tu-Th 5:30-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30-10:30PM, Su 10:30AM-2PM (brunch), 5-9PM (dinner). Billed as "an American cafe," Erwin has a short menu of original creations and a few stand-bys, supported by a sizable bar and cute, family-friendly decor. Their burgers tend to score well in local food lists. Valet parking available ($8).$20-27.
- Firefly, 3335 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 525-2505. M-Sa 5:30PM-1:30AM (closed Tu), Su 5:30PM-midnight. Fine dining and a fine atmosphere in the midst of Boystown, with a mostly carnivorous French-accented menu. Just an all-around nice place for a good evening with a friend, a date, or anyone visiting Boystown for the first time.$18-27.
- Kaze, 2032 W Roscoe St(Addison Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 327-4860, . 5-11PM. Top-of-the-line fresh sushi.Tuesday nights feature a four-course (plus sake) tasting menu for $45 per person.
- Mia Francesca, 3311 N Clark St(Belmont Red Line), ☎ +1 773 281-3310, . Dinner Su-Th 5-10PM, F-Sa 5-11PM; brunch Sa-Su 11:30AM-2PM. The original location for Mia Francesca's fine Italian dining, and the best — it's noisy, crowded, and not the place for an intimate meal, but Mia's has great pasta & fish, and offers a very Chicago atmosphere of hustle & bustle.$18-30.
- Rick's Cafe, 3915 N Sheridan Rd(Sheridan Red Line), ☎ +1 773 327-1972. Tu-Su 6-10:30PM, M closed. The food is made with love at this great little restaurant, run by a husband and wife. "Casablanca" is the perfect metaphor for the menu here, which surrounds colonial powers like Spanish, French, and Italian food with elements from Moroccan and Mediterranean. It's BYOB, and there's a liquor store across the street.$20-30.
- Sola, 3868 N Lincoln Ave(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 327-3868, . Lunch Th-F 11:30AM-2PM, Sa-Su 10AM-2PM; Dinner Su-Th 5:30-10PM, F-Sa 5:30-11PM. Chef Carol Wallack was Jack Nicholson's personal chef, which is about as fine a qualification as anyone could have. The menu covers contemporary American cuisine with Hawaiian, Asian, and Polynesian accents.$15-28.
- Tango Sur, 3763 N Southport Ave(Southport Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 477-5466. M-Th 5-10:30PM, F-Sa 5-11:30PM, Su noon-10:30PM. Argentinean steakhouse with fantastic beef. There are a few side dishes like empanadas and a good dessert menu, but the beef is the star attraction. It's BYOB.$20-30.
- Turquoise Restaurant, 2147 W Roscoe St, ☎ +1 773 549-3523, . M-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Su 11AM-midnight. Extensive menu of fresh seafood, Mediterranean, and vegetarian specialties. Plenty of fruity and exotic drinks and lounging space on offer, too.$18-26.
The nightlife in Boystown may be the best in Chicago. It's wild, uninhibited and just plain fun, regardless of sexual orientation. Most of the action is on Halsted/Broadway between Addison and Belmont.
- Charlie's, 3726 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 871-8887, . Su-F 3PM-4AM, Sa 3PM-5AM. Late night dance bar and a great place for the after hours party, although they play country for the early crowd before midnight on weeknights or 2AM on the weekends. Karaoke hits on Sunday and Thursday.
- The Closet, 3325 N Broadway St, ☎ +1 773 477-8533, . M-F 2PM-4AM, Sa 12PM-5AM, Su 12PM-4AM. Forgive the pun if you can — this lesbian dive bar is another great after hours destination and the place to go for hook-up attempts that drag late into the night. It's open a lot earlier in the day than most Boystown spots and usually has sports or music videos on by day.
- Cocktail, 3359 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 477-1420. Su-F 4PM-2AM, Sa 4PM-3AM. A small, fashionable bar that anyone can walk right into for a drink at the bar or a dance among the eye candy at the back.
- Hydrate, 3458 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 975-9244, . Su-F 8PM-4AM, Sa 8PM-5AM. Inheritor of the space formerly owned by the infamous Manhole, Hydrate is now the ultimate dance club to See-and-Be-Seen on Halsted. On a night out in Boystown, everybody winds up here at one point or another.Cover $10-20, depending on DJ and event.
- Roscoe's, 3356 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 281-3355, . M-Th 3PM-2AM, F 2PM-2AM, Sa 1PM-3AM, Su 1PM-2AM. Roscoe's is a multi-purpose bar — by night, there are good drink specials and a great dance floor, but by day, you'll find a relaxed neighborhood bar with artwork by local artists and a sidewalk cafe (in the summer) for lunch.
- Sidetracks, 3349 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 477-9189, . Su-F 3PM-2AM, Sa 3PM-3AM. A large, stylish, multi-room bar that makes a great place to start the night, with slushy drinks and showtunes on a big screen. (Sundays are sing-along nights.) Gay or straight, this is one of the best bars in Chicago.
Anthropologists differ over whether research could uncover meaningful differences between the bars on Clark Street. Some believe it possible, after extensive analysis of half-eaten piles of rancid nachos and date rape statistics, but even the most optimistic agree that it would take several months and exact a terrifying toll on the unfortunate individual entrusted with the work.
Wherever the truth may lie, if you want to watch a Cubs game in a bar with Cubs fans, you're better off heading a few blocks north or west. (Murphy's Bleachers  does deserve special mention for being directly outside the stadium on Sheffield and Waveland, though.)
- The Ginger Man, 3740 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 549-2050. M-F 3PM-2AM, 12PM-3AM, Su 12PM-2AM. Guaranteed the only bar in Wrigleyville with Joy Division and Public Enemy on the jukebox. If you want a beer after a Cubs game and you don't want to be surrounded by frat boys, this is the place. Next to the Metro and Smart Bar.
- Lakeview Broadcasting Company(LBC), 3542 N Halsted St, ☎ +1 773 857-2444, . W 6-10PM, Th-F 6PM-2AM, Sa 11AM-3AM, Su-Tu closed. It's not very big, but the trendy LBC is comfortable and has a great mid-20's/mid-30's crowd and refreshingly mixed clientele — gay and straight, black and white, nerds and fashionistas.
- Smart Bar, 3730 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 549-0203. W-F,Su 10PM-4AM, Sa 10PM-5AM. Partner of the Metro (see above), which is next door. Smart Bar features touring DJs and a stable of high-caliber DJs-in-residence.Tickets may be necessary, depending on the event; if so, they're on sale at the Metro, and usually cost about $10.
- Uncommon Ground, 3800 N Clark St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 929-3680, . Su-Th 9AM-11PM, F-Sa 9AM-midnight. It's almost unbelievable that such a lovely, relaxed bar/cafe is this close to Wrigley, but there it is. Evenings see a full schedule of acoustic music with a full bar of beer, cocktails, and wine, while organic breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day, and two fireplaces await in the winter. Uncommon Ground also hosts the annual Jeff Buckley Festival, now in its tenth year, in honor of the singer's legendary 1994 performance there.
Lakeview bars may get a bad name from the roiling mess on Clark Street, but there are actually several great places to drink within range of Wrigley.
- 404 Wine Bar, 2852 N Southport Ave, ☎ +1 773 404-5886. M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 5PM-3AM. Comfortable atmosphere and a wide variety of wines. It may not be the first thing you think of when you think about a wine bar, but they serve a chicken pot pie that is delicious. It's connected to Jack's next door, which is more of a sports bar.
- Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave, ☎ +1 773 281-4444, . M-Th 4PM-2AM, F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 11:30AM-3AM, Su 11:30AM-2AM. There's beer and late-night food in the quiet front room, but the Beat Kitchen is worthy of recognition as one of the best venues in the city outside of Wicker Park for double or triple bills of excellent, little-known local and touring bands. Tuesdays are set aside for the Chicago Underground Comedy stand-up showcase.
- Fizz Bar & Grill, 3220 N Lincoln Ave(Paulina Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 348-6000, . M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 12PM-3AM, Su 11AM-1AM. Nothing exceptional — just a bar on the classy side of things with a good beer garden, upscale food menu, and a dance floor that occasionally gets going.
- Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont Ave, ☎ +1 773 935-2118, . Tu-Su 8PM-2AM, M closed. There's a lot to like at this small Roscoe Village bar: a few pinball and arcade machines, the sense of being in someone's comfortable basement (with beer), and the Sunday night (10PM) Transmission series for improvisational and experimental jazz.
- Jake's Pub, 2932 N Clark St, ☎ +1 773 248-3318, . M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa noon-3AM, Su noon-2AM. A good place to recover from shopping binges at the Century Shopping Centre and its neighbors (see Buy). Jake's has a good beer selection and dependable jukebox. Dogs are not only welcome — they're encouraged.
- Johnny's Tavern, 3425 N Lincoln Ave(Paulina Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 248-3000. Hours vary. About as far from the Wrigleyville bar scene as you can possibly get; this legendary, straight-outta-1974 tavern is owned by an old man, Johnny, who is well into his eighties. If he chooses to let you in — after you've rang the doorbell, and waited patiently for admittance — you'll enjoy cheap Czech beers and a time-warp.
- Katerina's, 1920 W Irving Park Rd, ☎ ''+1 773'' 348-7592, . M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 5PM-3AM. A small and intimate setting for jazz, funk, blues, and Greek music most nights, and poetry, performance and movies when there isn't music. Southern European cuisine served along with the drinks.
- The Long Room, 1612 W Irving Park Rd(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 665-4500. M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 5PM-3AM, Su 7PM-2AM. A low-lit neighborhood lounge with a casual atmosphere worth settling into for a while — and, yes, it's a very long room.
- Resi's Bierstube, 2034 W Irving Park Rd(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 472-1749. 3PM-2AM. A fine old-fashioned brauhaus, with high marks for the music, the beer garden, and the ambiance. Food on offer from the kitchen (closed Mondays) includes sausages and schnitzel, of course.
- Schuba's, 3159 N Southport Ave, ☎ +1 773 525-2508, . Shows start 9-10:30PM. One of Chicago's landmark venues for cool music. The building was built over a hundred years ago by the Schlitz beer company, a heritage that is acknowledged by countless plastic cups serving that and other cheap beers for indie rock fans.Tickets $10-$18.
- Ten Cat Tavern, 3931 N Ashland Ave(Irving Park Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 935-5377. Su-F 3PM-2AM, Sa 3PM-3AM. The kitty on the sign is cradling a ten-ball because there's pool to be played here, but in most other respects, this is someone's apartment that happens to have a bar in it (and a pretty good backyard).
Most visitors will feel comfortable staying here in terms of safety, and Lakeview is a better place to experience something of the real city than the retail isolation of the Near North. Given the party atmosphere and adult-centered attractions, though, it's probably better for singles and young couples than families with kids in tow. (You can get to Wrigley from anywhere in the city, after all.)
There are also a handful of budget and mid-range options just south of Boystown in Lincoln Park. Hotels are usually booked solid for the Pride Parade in June, so make reservations early or be ready to check in other areas.
- Old Chicago Inn, 3222 N Sheffield Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 773 816-2465, . Reasonably priced bed and breakfast in a turn-of-the-century greystone building, not far from Wrigley Field and the nightlife on Belmont. Amenities include internet access in the lobby, continental breakfast, and a complimentary lunch or dinner at Trader Todd's restaurant/karaoke bar two doors south.Rooms from $99.
- Villa Toscana Bed & Breakfast, 3447 N Halsted St(Addison Red Line), ☎ 800-404-2643, . Closest accommodations to Wrigley Field, in a turn-of-the-century building.Rooms from $99/$109 off and on-season.
- Best Western Hawthorn Terrace, 3434 N Broadway St(Addison Red Line), ☎ +1 773 244-3434, . Close to Wrigley Field and the bars on Clark Street, and also to the lake.Rooms from $189.
- City Suites Hotel, 933 W Belmont Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ 800-248-9108, . Art Deco interiors and elegant furnishings, right next to the Belmont train station. Among the amenities are wi-fi, afternoon cookies and access to Bally's Fitness Club.Rooms from $189.
- Majestic Hotel, 528 W Brompton Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ 800-727-5108, . Boutique hotel in a residential pocket, with olde worlde touches like poster beds and butler pantries. Similar amenities to the City Suites Hotel, which is under the same management.Rooms from $209.
- The Willows Hotel, 555 W Surf St(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ 800-787-3108, . European decor in a city-designated landmark building, two blocks from the lake. Same management as the City Suites and Majestic hotels.Rooms from $179.
- Computer Network Source, 2917 N Broadway St(Wellington Brown Line), ☎ +1 773 755-5225, . Scanning, printing, CD-burning available.Remarkably cheap at $3/hour.
- Merlo Branch Library, 644 W Belmont Ave(Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line), ☎ +1 312 744-1139, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Free public internet access. Three blocks east of the train station, near Boystown.
- Lincoln/Belmont Branch Library, 1659 W Melrose St(Paulina Brown Line), ☎ +1 312 744-0166, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Free public internet access. Three blocks south of the train station.
- If it's a crosstown baseball series, you'll need to get on the Red Line and head south to Bridgeport for the Chicago White Sox.
- It would take more than one curse to put the Cubs in their current condition, but the most famous of them, the Billy Goat Curse, began with the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in the Near North.
- Follow the theater trail in the storefront comedy direction to Uptown or the big-name comedy/drama direction in Old Town.
- Andersonville is a stylish neighborhood a short trip northwest of Boystown with several gay and lesbian-friendly bars and businesses.
- Edgewater has the GLBT Gerber/Hart Library and the less scholarly Leather Archives and Museum. During the summer, Chicago's gay community tans at Edgewater's Hollywood Beach.
- Dedicated to original theater that explores gender and sexual identity, the About Face Theater Company  performs at major theaters like Steppenwolf in Old Town and storefronts around Boystown.
This page was last edited at 05:01, on 6 December 2008 by Marc Heiden. Based on work by Peter Fitzgerald, Jani Patokallio and Jesse Miers, Wikitravel user(s) Zol87, Gilliam, Morph and Locano and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.