A little sharing about some new spots I went to this past weekend. Chicago has so much to offer that I try not to get into a routine of eating at the same place... drinking at the same place... shopping at the same place. I always tell myself that when employees know my name that is not a good sign (especially if it's a bar).
The Spot: My vote for worst bar in Chicago (on N Clark near Montrose). It has so many things going on that none of it works. It's part 1950's Italian Restaurant, part dive bar, part hipster hang out, part sports bar, part bad 80's music, part swanky... and so on. The clientele is white boy wanna-be frat dudes that are more pathetic which does not make for good people watching (it's too sad). The place has no vibe, no comfort, and no class. The Spot is sooooo not the spot.
Painted Lady: Once called the Bleeding Heart bakery (which I've never been to, but it moved and actually still owns this little cafe) this is the little organic cafe that could (on W Chicago at Damen). A great vibe (not too earthy / hippie) and some fantastic coffee. The food was good - not spectacular. LP had the vegan chili which tasted more like salsa, but was not bad. My mac&cheese was very tasty... but how hard is mac&cheese. That fact that they are offering completely organic ingredients is stellar. The food is not cheap, but the price is fair for what you are getting in return. Well worth checking out especially over a conversation about flax seeds.
Atomix: A block away from Painted Lady is a little hole of a coffee shop called Atomix. A friend of mine practically lives there since it is close to her house and it has free wi-fi. And for students free wi-fi is a big plus. The coffee is good... maybe even a bit more than good. But the place is boring. There are no comfortable places to sit. The two women behind the counter where more into looking at their computer than acknowledging my presence and helping me. Sorry Atomix... you are just ok.
Premanent Records: Another block or so east on Chicago Ave is a little record store that spews charm. I've heard a lot of good things about this Permanent Records shop and have always meant to check it out. Sure it's not the greatest find in the world, but I did find a few pieces of vinyl I've been searching for. The store cat ads a great little touch to the place, and the owners are super. I'll be going back there to support a good part of the Chicago music scene.