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A League of Their Own
By Ariel Cheung | Photo: Tinker to Evers photo courtesy of Union Squared | Hotel Zachary photo by David Burk | May 15, 2018
Along with its revitalized ballpark, Wrigleyville is enjoying some upgrades of its own. Stepping up to the plate are five newcomers certain to impress with decadent bites and rare spirits.
Leave it to the minds behind Billy Sunday to bring ultrarare spirits to a neighborhood where Bud Light is (was?) king. Here at the bilevel cocktail bar named for Cubs pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, find an impressive lineup of vintage sippers. Among them, there’s a 1954 bottle of Pebble-Ford bonded straight bourbon ($165 for a 2-ounce pour) and Oishii Wisuki blended Scotch whisky ($110). Downstairs, Michelin-starred chef Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle, Dusek’s) sought to balance upscale fare (grilled octopus, hanger steak) with elevated game-day staples (togarashi-spiced cheese curds). “It’s something familiar, but at the same point, it’s a curve ball,” Wentworth says. 3632 N. Clark St., 773.269.5410
Tinker to Evers
The Wheelhouse Hotel, just one block south of the ballpark, offers a boutique hotel experience anchored by two tasty spots opening this season. Upstairs, Union Full Board offers Detroit-style pan pizza on crispy, focaccia-esque crust. Downstairs, the sleek cocktail lounge Tinker to Evers looks to transport visitors back to the speak-easy era with drinks like the Foreign Affair, made with Yame Japanese whisky, sherry and a fragrant lavender and lemon syrup. 3475 N. Clark St.
Dutch & Doc’s
To chef Chris Pandel, there’s more to Wrigleyville than “sucking down beer and french fries.” So when it comes to his new Boka-backed brasserie, Dutch & Doc’s (the two most popular Cub nicknames), Pandel sought to create a menu meant to tempt year-round, once the restaurant opens this summer. Highlights include steak frites and handmade pastas, and although Chicago-style hot dogs will be served on game days, they’ll be made with steak-quality beef. “The whole thing is based upon craveability,” Pandel says. “We’re trying to make amazing versions of things you wake up and want in the morning.” 3600 N. Clark St., 773.360.0207
West Town Bakery + Tap
When your sweet tooth beckons, this neighborhood outpost is ready to answer the call with boozy shakes like the French toast cake shake, made with rum, vanilla ice cream, white cake and cinnamon ($11). Located inside Hotel Zachary, this is the first West Town Bakery to feature a bar program, which means you can toast the Cubs with drafts of 3 Floyds Gumballhead ($7) or cocktails like the Old Money ($12), a stiff sipper of Bulleit, walnut liqueur and allspice. Hungry? Freshly baked savory stuffed buns make for toothsome transportables. 3630 N. Clark St., 773.269.5415
The newly opened Hotel Zachary proves to be a superb spot in its own right. Alma Room serves breakfast (good for fueling up before a day game), while The Bar offers shareable plates and elegant vibes. Feast on shrimp salad with bloody mary sauce and maple bacon ($15) while sipping a Zachary Stinger ($12), made with rum, crème de menthe and oloroso sherry, advises Greg Sheer, food and beverage manager. “We’re hanging our hat on the luxe take on the classics,” Sheer says, “and executing it really well has been our focus.” 3630 N. Clark St., 773.302.2300