By Emily C.Sims and Rease Kirchner
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Editor’s note: Chicago for Twentysomethings is a three part series.
Pops for Champagne
Can a twentysomething weekend be complete without a visit to this legendary champagne bar? The dimmed lighting, the sparkly blue tables, and the impressive onyx bar all create a classy, intimate atmosphere perfect for impress-your-date night, a celebratory night, a just because night, or a girls’ night out.
A bottle at Pops for Champagne. Photo by Wendy Grassmuck.
With over 100 bottles on their list and a tasty selection of small plates, Pop’s was the perfect setting for my first visit there during a bachelorette-party-weekend-trip-to-Chicago-extravaganza.
Our waiter was very knowledgeable and incredibly patient—my friends and I aren’t exactly champagne connoisseurs. To be honest, the most experience with champagne we ever had was with a few bottom-of-the-shelf bottles of Andre on sale at the grocery store. But I digress.
All we could tell our waiter was that we liked champagne bubbles and we liked a certain price range. He smiled knowingly, and we drank every drop of three bottles he recommended. To accompany our champagne feast, we shared and took down more cheese plates than I’d care to admit and just about licked the plate after inhaling the chocolate ganache cake ( I said the place was classy—I didn’t say we were).
While we were cheersing our soon-to-be newlywed friend, drinking bubbly at a rate quicker than is advisable in any state or country, we learned that a group was waiting for their daughter/sister/friend to arrive after having just accepting a proposal from her boyfriend. The girl had no idea they were there, and we were lucky to witness the moment when she walked in the door, flushed from the joy of the proposal, and was thrust into the waiting congratulatory arms of her friends and family. It was a good moment.
If any of us felt any apprehension walking into a champagne bar with our limited sparkling wine knowledge, that apprehension disappeared as soon as we walked in the door. Pop’s has that edgy, warm, and young atmosphere twentysomethings looking for adventure crave.
Pop’s is located at North State Street and Ohio.
A sunset view from the Signature Lounge. Photo by Adam James.
Signature Lounge at the 96th
Lindsey Doyle, a St. Louisan who travels to Chicago for leisure, recommends the Signature Lounge at the 96th because of its “great city views and cocktails.” The Signature Lounge sits atop the Hancock Center, on the 96th floor of course, and offers spectacular views of the city below through its floor to ceiling windows. You could go all the way up to the observatory to look out over the city, but… why? Stay out of the wind, enjoy the view and have a drink while you’re at it. You can pay ten bucks to go the observation deck and let the wind knock you around or pay ten bucks to get the view and a cocktail instead. It’s a no-brainer.
Our advice? Make the Signature Lounge your pre-dinner stop. Check the weather report to find out when the sun will set, and get on over to Signature Lounge to watch it happen. Afterward, go down to the 95th floor for dinner or head over to Gino’s East, the classic Chicago pizza destination.
The atmosphere of Signature Lounge is pure elegance—old school elegance. It’s true that you’ll see everything from men in suits to men in flannel, but that happens in every city that draws tourists. The atmosphere is class, and when you peer out over the city with a drink in hand, we know you’ll feel it.
Pick Me Up Cafe
This place is everything a young traveler in Chicago could possibly want. Awesome diner food with lots of vegetarian and vegan twists as well as delectable coffee drinks and beer, 24 hours a day. Oh and did I mention it is cheap and easily accessible from the CTA red line? Hop off at the Belmont station and the Pick Me Up will practically smack you in the face with it’s delicious aromas and the buzz of chatty, sleepless customers. The atmosphere in this place is fairly hipster, with eccentric decorations, many of which are drawn by customers and spontaneously displayed on the walls. However, you will not get an aloof, unapproachable attitude from the staff.
All of the servers move quickly, especially when the place is packed, which it always seems to be around 2 in the morning. If you are totally overwhelmed by the menu or are just way too exhausted to make a legitimate decision on your own, the servers are glad to recommend some of their favorites. The Pick Me Up is a great place to hit up for late night cravings, crazy chats at all hours of the morning, or simply to sober up.
The Pick Me Up is on North Clark between Newport and Roscoe.
Lisa Falcone of Naperville, Ill., is enthusiastic about the food at Hot Doug’s on N. California Ave. When Lisa first mentioned Hot Doug’s, I wasn’t sure if it was a strip joint or a hot dog place, but either way I knew it would be a good sausage fest. (Calm down. It’s a hot dog and sausage place—FOOD—delicious, cheap, and perfect for lunch with a hangover).
Hot Doug’s has everything from Chicago style hot dogs to bratwurst soaked in beer along with the usual cheese fries (and the not so usual duck fat fries. Word.) Like I said—perfect for lunch with a hangover.
After chowing down, make sure you get a t-shirt—they’re funny, and who doesn’t want something that says ‘sausage superstore’ across the chest?
@alexjritter recommends Medieval Times: “You can’t take it seriously. You just have to go into it knowing it’s ridiculous, and just root for the red knight because you’re sitting in his section.”
@glwop says “How about take the L to Oak Park! Rent a bike and check out the Arts District and Frank Lloyd Wright homes .”
@lindsey_doyle reports “my hubby says all the bars near Rush Street and Division.”
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Planning a trip to the Windy City? Check out our Chicago Get Going Guide for our list of hotels, restaurants, and sights you can’t miss in Chicago. Find out who made the cut, then have a blast in Chi-town
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Emily Sims is a freelance writer living in Las Vegas. Emily is currently at work on her first novel, a young adult fantasy, and she blogs about writing and life as a Vegas newbie on her website, www.emilycsims.com.
Rease Kirchner a staff writer/Travel Adviser for Travelated. She is a US citizen currently living the ex-pat life in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is bilingual and an experienced traveler. She loves gaining and sharing knowledge of local cultures, customs and adventure. Her blog Mi Vida en Buenos Aires documents her life as a foreigner.