As Tom mentioned in our last post, we spent the past weekend exploring Chicago. We were in town for a wedding (which turned out to be downright epic and so much fun), but made time for a few adventures of our own. From brewery hopping to a Weird Chicago tour to eating the most famous food the Windy City has to offer, here’s a rundown of our trip.
We stayed in an awesome Airbnb in the Ukranian Village not far from Wicker Park, and a short distance from the wedding we were attending. The house was a converted firehouse with all the modern amenities we needed. We shared it with our friends Pat and Amanda, which made it even more affordable and all the more fun to have some traveling buddies by our side.
But First, Beer (and Wine)
As soon as we dropped off our luggage, we headed out to meet more friends from DC at a nearby brewery – Forbidden Root. They had a lot of fun and funky botanic beers and delicious food (don’t miss the pork schnitzel sandwich). They also have wine, cocktails and a selection of house shots served in tiny beakers that we couldn’t not order. Service was excellent and the music was on point. I think we could have stayed at Forbidden Root all day – but we had other plans.
Up next, we walked over to On Tour Brewing for one more beer. These were more Tom’s style than mine with a very IPA-heavy beer list, but I got to meet a few more wedding guests and chat with old friends. The place was packed and there was a local company serving up Japanese-style tacos. Definitely a place we’d hit up again when we return to Chicago.
Speakeasy Tour with Weird Chicago
Our main event for Friday night was a Roaring 20’s Speakeasy Tour with Weird Chicago. Chicago has so much interesting history pertaining to Prohibition, so we were excited to check this out. I can definitely say the tour lived up to its name. It was weird from the start, and just got weirder. Our first stop was to Simon’s Tavern in North Chicago. Simon’s started out as a dry goods store, but quickly morphed into a speakeasy during Prohibition. Patrons in the know would crowd into a tiny basement under the store to drink and play cards. After Prohibition was repealed, Simon decided to capitalize on his success and turn the upstairs store into a full-fledged bar. It’s now one of those welcoming neighborhood bars that just beckons you to pull up a stool and order something stiff.
As part of the tour, we got to check out the original basement, and it was certainly…. um, weird. And creepy. One of the first things we spotted upon our descent into the dim room was this young lady. No comment was made about her purpose, so we tried to avoid her judgmental glances.
Our quirky tour guide told us a couple of famed ghost stories about Simon’s, but we were more freaked out by the objects strewn around the basement. As a This Is Us fan, I was terrified of one particular item…
Unfortunately, several people on the tour got a little too drunk and ruined it for the rest of us. So we bailed out early and went back to our house for an early night. For this reason, I’m not sure I would recommend this particular tour. But if you like history and loud drunk people, give it a shot!
Deep Dish Dreaming
We woke up the next morning dreaming of pizza. When in Chicago, pizza is a must. And while we considered going a few different routes, we ended up just grabbing a deep dish to-go from nearby Tortorici’s. Pat ordered a pie loaded with meatballs, pepperoni, mushrooms and peppers. It was so gloriously cheesy.
Walk It Off
Giant slices of pizza were not exactly conducive to squeezing into our wedding finery that evening, so we decided to go for a long walk in an attempt to beat the bloat. We walked through Wicker Park and Little Puerto Rico before turning around and heading home. It was, as is to be expected, quite windy but the temperatures were the warmest we got all weekend. It was a nice chance to get outside and stretch our legs.
Love is in the Air
The wedding was at an eclectic antique warehouse called Salvage One, and it was seriously one of the coolest venues ever. I’m kicking myself for not taking more photos of the amazing space, but we were too caught up in the fun to pull out our cameras. We did take advantage of the photo booth, so at least there’s proof we were there.
Doing it Chicago Style
The wedding raged on well past our bedtime, but a final stop at Fatso’s Last Stand for chicago-style dogs was mandatory. This is late night eating at its finest.
Despite all the walking and showcasing of our epic dance moves, my pants were definitely on the tighter side the next day. Which is exactly how I know it was a good trip.
We finished off the weekend with a delicious brunch at Beatnik and some more walking (this time about four miles worth) before grabbing a quick dinner – look a salad! – at The Vig and heading to the airport.
The Windy City is one of my favorite U.S. destinations, and this trip only made my love grow fonder. We hope to return in the summer for more foodie adventures!