By Bartender Will Duncan

Here are 10 things the insiders know and what you should know about Chicago (especially about the food and drink scene) before you visit.


1. Feeding Time at Punch House

 Photographs courtesy of Punch House

Photographs courtesy of Punch House

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Each evening at midnight, we serve a complimentary shot of bourbon to folks seated at the bar while we feed the fish.

1227 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608 | T: 312.526.3851 | punchhousechicago.com


2. Shellfish by the Pound at Angry Crab

 Photograph courtesy of The Angry Crab

Photograph courtesy of The Angry Crab

This hole in the wall is located in a predominately Korean part of Chicago’s Northwest side. They serve all kinds of shellfish by the pound, in a bag, with your choice of spices, dropped on your table, for you to eat with your hands. It’s amazing and well worth the journey for any shellfish lover.

5665 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659 | T: 773.784.6848


3. Old Fashioned Shot at Analogue

 Photograph courtesy of Analogue

Photograph courtesy of Analogue

The talented folks at this cocktail bar meets Cajun restaurant meets happening night spot have cooked up a creative update on the old tequila Lick-Slam-Suck, trading the traditional components for the flavors of an old fashioned. It’s clever and delicious. Chef Alfredo’s Noguiera’s (a NOLA native) cooking is not to be missed either.

2523 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 | T: 773.904.8567 | www.analoguechicago.com


4.  Logan Square Small Bar

 Photograph courtesy of SmallBar

Photograph courtesy of SmallBar

Without a doubt, this is the best place to grab a beer. The "Logan Square" name implies that it’s in the heart of the now popular dining district, but this place gets anything but street traffic. It is the epitome of a neighborhood bar, hidden away in a sleepy residential ‘hood, drawing only neighbor and beer enthusiasts in the know. They are real pros when it comes to selecting their ever-changing draft list and the menu of predictable pub grub is always surprisingly delicious.

2956 N Albany Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 | T: 773.509.9888 | www.thesmallbar.com


 Photograph courtesy of Nuevo Leon

Photograph courtesy of Nuevo Leon

5. Nuevo Leon

In the heart of Chicago's proud and beautiful Mexican neighborhood known as Pilsen, lies the most amazing authentic Mexican restaurant I've ever seen. The steak tacos on flour tortillas are a must. The tortillas are made fresh daily and are sure to adjust your standard upward.

1515 West 18th Street, Chicago, Il 60608
T: 312.421.1517 | www.nuevoleonrestaurant.com

 

 


6. Letherbee Distiller Products

  Photograph courtesy of Letherbee Distillers

Photograph courtesy of Letherbee Distillers

The quality and innovation of this local distillery team has begun to open doors for them all over so you may have seen their flagship gin in your town. It’s remarkable. Either way, look for their stuff at most any bar who cares in Chicago. Seasonal Gins, Fernet, Besk (their take on Malort), and a cool barrel-aged absinthe are all singular and sensational.

letherbee.com | Where to Buy


7. The Patio at Piccolo Sogno

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Can I be blunt? This place is kind of an old people joint. But do yourself a favor and get there. Simple, classic, but insanely delicious Italian food, a remarkable wine list, and above all else the most cozy oasis of a backyard in Chicago. Get some carpaccio, a glass of Prosecco, and soak in the vibe.

464 N Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60642 | T: 312.421.0077 | piccolosognorestaurant.com


8. Moody Tongue Beers

 Photo Credit: Anna Roberts

Photo Credit: Anna Roberts

Brewer Jared Rouben (formerly of Goose Island) does "culinary brewing" using kitchen techniques to create very food friendly beers. He made waves with his Black Truffle Pilsner. It is expensive, but worth it. It's rare, so if you can find it, buy it.

The Glass Factory, Building #3, 2136 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60608 | T: 312.600.5111 | moodytongue.com

 

 

 


9. Jerk Chicken Dinner Special Tuesday at Mr. Brown’s Lounge

 Photographs courtesy of Mr. Brown's Lounge

Photographs courtesy of Mr. Brown's Lounge

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This Jamaican bar goes nightclub after 10pm, but if you get there during dinner hours, especially on a Tuesday, you will thank me for introducing you to the wonder that is the $10 jerk chicken plate. It easily feeds two with leftovers for late night snacking. I insist you get a side of their mac and cheese. The richness quells the jerk spice and is essential to enjoying this strange and wonderful place.

2301 W Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 | T: 773.278.4445 | www.mrbrownslounge.com


10. Peking Duck at Sun Wah BBQ

 Photograph courtesy of Sun Wah BBQ

Photograph courtesy of Sun Wah BBQ

A whole Peking Duck carved tableside and served with buns, hoisin, and radishes on a lazy susan? Yes please. Oddly closed on Thursdays, so watch out for that.

5039 N Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60640 | T: 773.769.1254 | www.sunwahbbq.com


Will Duncan

Bartender, director of operations and partner at The Promontory, Punch House, Dusek’s and Thalia Hall in Chicago. A musician at heart, Will Duncan grew up playing drums in suburban Washington D.C. before moving to Upstate New York to study performance jazz. But it was a gig washing dishes at a neighborhood restaurant, that set him on a new course, the hospitality business. He worked at Blue Water Grill in New York before coming to Chicago, where he joined MOD in Wicker Park. His next job was at Bruce Finkelman’s venue, The Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village. he was part of the opening staff at Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle. Duncan solidified his cocktail knowledge as Longman’s General Manager, which set up his role in creating the retro-chic Punch House concept.

PUNCH HOUSE
1227 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608 | T: 312.526.3851 | punchhousechicago.com

THE PROMONTORY
5311 S Lake Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615 | T: 312.801.2100 | promontorychicago.com

DUSEK'S
1227 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608 | T: 312.526.3851 | dusekschicago.com

THALIA HALL
1807 S Allport Street, Chicago, IL 60608 | T: 312.526.3851 | thaliahallchicago.com


 
 

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