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Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Canton, OH
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Places not to miss in Bucktown?

I've finally finalized our stay for Nov. 2-5: While we'll be in the Loop area Nov. 3-5, we plan to stay at Ray's B&B in Bucktown on Nov. 2. We may go to show at the Steppenwolf that evening. But does anyone have any good recommendations for restaurants or shops in Bucktown? I've read there are great places along Damen Avenue. Thanks for any tips.

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The Loop
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1. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Yeah, you'll totally have fun. I lived in bucktown from the days when it was scary to it's current hipster status. Well... if you're staying at Rays, you must go the Charleston on Hoyne and Charleston. It's a locals type of place with free music... the first smoke free bar in chicago.

On Damen, there are many shops. Just start where you are and walk south towards the intersection of north/damen/milwaukee. Just pop in and out.

Restaurants in that vicinity (all walking distance)

Feast

Le Bouchon (needs reservations - casual french bistro-excellent)

Cafe Absynthe (pricy - but totally worth the splurge)

MANY restaurants and bars on Division... you could spend a whole day walking up and down that gentrified street these days.

Have fun!

My favorite shoe stores:

City Souls at the intersection

John Fleuvog (they have clearance shoes)

Check out www.metromix.com for happenings

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Charleston
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2. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Bucktown and wicker park are great areas.

I believe you are thinking both.

It is amazing how many stores are opening.

I was out on west division last weekend. and all the stores on west division up milwaukee. even open at 8-10pm on weekends.

So i suggest just wander down damen. down milwaukee. then west on division. lots of stores.

As for restaurants and bars (???)....

give some idea of what you are looking for:

http://www.thesmokedaddy.com/

they have live music. which is actally pretty good. not too loud.

Meritage Cafe & Wine Bar

…chicagotribune.com/dining/…1080978.venue

The chef comes out. and hangs with the diners. if you go later. kinda fun. he sat at our table. spoke about where he gets his veggies (from small farmers in oregon).

Sushi

I always recommend blue fin

…chicagotribune.com/dining/…556691.venue

but there are dozens of restuarants in that area

Canton, OH
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3. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Thanks for your great suggestions; sounds like we've got a lot of options! I think we're going to try to stay at Ray's two nights so we can have more time in that area. On past visits to Chicago we've stayed in the Gold Coast and River North, so we're looking forward to exploring new neighbrhoods.

In your opinion, is the restaurant Spring worthwhile? We also considered Charlie Trotter's. We want to splurge one night. Our last trip to Chicago, we went to Alinea, which was unbelievable (though very expensive!). What's a consistently great restaurant (I've made note of Cafe Absinthe, too) not too far from Bucktown? Thanks again.

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4. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Love, love, love...Meritage and Le Bouchon.

Lots of cute shops along Damen. Just walk and wander into whatever catches your eye.

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5. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

I would skip Charlie Trotter's.

don't get me wrong. I love the fact that Chicago has one of the best ranked restaurant in the world.

I have not been. But my parents went with relatives. and all are far from cheap. but my dad did say. "it was not really worth it."

If your looking to splerge I would suggest you look at the next top 2 restaurants in chicago

Spiaggia - But everyone knows the chef (Tony Mantuano) is leaving for miami. so...Check to see if he is still here. I think he will be for a while. since he is re-building a classic hotel in miami. and it might be a while till he is gone.

or

Rick Bayless' Topolobampo.

Their might be better restaurants. but these are the big names. and its fun to be able to name drop.

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Spiaggia Restaurant
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Topolobampo
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6. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

I love the restaurant Spring. Other favorite restaurans in that area are Del Toro, Penny's Noodle Shop, Thyme Cafe, Francesca's Forno, Hot Chocolate and Club Lucky (also Bongo Room for brunch).

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Bongo Room
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Canton, OH
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7. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. It's helped me rule out Charlie Trotter's. We love Frontera Grill but have never actually eaten in Topolobampo. I've also heard good things of Spiaggia (does the restaurant have a "Cafe Spiaggia"? I think we may have eaten there once).

I've got a lot of good suggestions (in addition to those, Le Bouchon, Spring, Cafe Absinthe, Meritage...); it's just a matter of narrowing them down. But doesn't sound like I can go wrong. Thanks again!

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Frontera Grill
Frontera Grill
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Topolobampo
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Spiaggia Restaurant
Spiaggia Restaurant
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8. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

If you want to eat like a local, gotta go to Lazo's on Western and Armitage for some great Mexican food. Kitty corner from there is the famous Margies Candies, but I'm not even sure if they sell candy; they're famous for their ice cream!!! The bars in Bucktown are all "neighborhood" bars, and the folks are generally friendly. The Charleston as mentioned is a good one, and the Map Room on Armitage is also within stumbling distance. The best dive in Chicago is tucked away at Oakley and McClean, they have live music every night. Shopping will be on Damen going south to North Ave (Wicker Park).

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Charleston
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Wicker Park
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9. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

I agree with Meritage, but you will need a reso, skip Charlie Trotter's and go to Moto, where his apprentice opened up, although this is at Fulton Market in the meat packing district.

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10. Re: Places not to miss in Bucktown?

My restaurant recs:

Schwa

Spring

Scylla

Go to Hot Chocolate for Dessert, place is fabulous.