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NRA Show Talk, Episode 2: Bars

The National Restaurant Association Show is approaching fast. So, the Just For Kicks Crew convened in a closed room and concluded what’s what in Chicago for you to do while you’re here. Once again, our Je Ne Sais Squad has curated a list of the best bars for an evening out on the town with your teams and clients. 

In the list that follows, click on the names to get a preview. Or head straight to reading reviews and making reservations. 

What to Drink

The Aviary
955 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

At The Aviary, you can indulge all your senses in a playground of cocktails. And beneath The Aviary is the intimate speakeasy, The Office. 

Make a reservation

Nine Bar
216 W. Cermak Road
Chicago, IL 60616

This hidden secret in Chinatown features Asian-inspire cocktails and breathtaking bar foods—just a few doors down from the Sakura Karaoke Bar. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

Good Funk
180 N. Upper Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606

This natural wine bar puts the self-described, “fun in funk.” It’s affordable, quirky and most importantly, downright fun. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

Orkenøy
1757 N. Kimball Ave, Floor 1 
Chicago, IL 60647

This Nordi-accented brewpub features a Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic, shareable bites, and seasonally rotating beer menu. It’s located in Humboldt Park within the Kimball Arts Center. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar
2165 N. Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

At CSCB, the cocktails are tropical and botanical, and the cuisine is a collection of American-Chinese food in a casual and stylish atmosphere. 

Make a reservation

Nobody’s Darling
1744 W. Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

This bar has a single directive: be an outcast. To follow this mission, Nobody’s Darling features a one-of-kind, laid-back atmosphere, where great cocktails are delivered on demand—as well as a showcase of drag shows, hip hop dance parties, happy hours and more. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

After
1338 W. Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60607

At this lounge, the high-quality spirits and cocktails are served in a room that’s as breathtaking as twilight. Adjacent to the restaurant Ever and created by Michelin-starred Chef Curtis Duffy and his business partner Michael Muser. 

Make a reservation

Mother’s Ruin
2943 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618

Located in the Avondale neighborhood, Mother’s Ruin is a mix of your favorite local bar and a cocktail temple. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

Kumiko
630 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60661

At the Japanese Dining Bar Kumiko, owner and mixologist Julia Momosé blends Japanese ingredients and techniques to create an elevated menu of beverages and bites. 

Make a reservation

Dorothy Downstairs
2500 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Known for its creative cocktails and event programming, this lesbian bar and speakeasy underneath Split-Rail is full of 70’s era flair and coziness in atmosphere. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

The California Clipper
1002 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Humboldt Park’s longest standing neighborhood bar, The California Clipper has a live stage, a backroom listening lounge and 1930’s jazz era vibes to spare. 

Does not accept reservations. First come, first serve basis.

Courtesy of the Esrock Partners “Just for Kicks” Team: Travis Fish, Lucy Staszel, Shawn Rudolph, Karolina Urbas, & Ella Shirk

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