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Best revitalized old guard art space

Culture & Nightlife, Streeterville No Comments »

The Arts Club of Chicago
Under new director Janine Mileaf, the Arts Club of Chicago—a nearly one-hundred-year-old private arts social club in Streeterville—had its first public opening and Saturday open hours, making its public exhibitions more accessible to more viewers. On now: a fake modernist glass house that allows visitors to dress in vintage fashions and inhabit the modernist era like performers on a stage.
201 East Ontario, (312)787-3997,

Best of Chicago 2013

Best place to spot Walking Guy

City Life, Gold Coast, Streeterville No Comments »

By the Fairmont Hotel
He has more than 3,000 friends he’s never met on a Facebook account he never created. Chicago locals talk about him every day but few (if any) have ever heard him speak. The sight of him strolling the streets sends onlookers into a frenzied search for their cameras and phones to document his fleeting presence. There are more rumors about him—about his life, his reason for walking and his journey in general– than the number of steps he takes each day. He is the Walking Guy of Chicago. An icon, a recognizable stranger, and a man who hits the pavement as much as frustrated Chicago drivers hit their horns. Often compared to Sam Elliott and Yanni, the Walking Guy has a distinguished style: a white v-neck shirt under a grey suit with the jacket open, of course. His unmistakable walk–head bent forward, always on a mission–can be traced along Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive and Illinois. The best place to see him is at the Fairmont Hotel on Columbus Drive, where he’s been seen selling watches to cab drivers. He’s also been spotted on Wabash Avenue over the Illinois Street underpass and frequently walks along Clark. Of course, the mustached man is always on the move so there’s no guarantee you’ll ever find him.
Best of Chicago 2012

Best art exhibition catalogue design in the last year or so

Culture & Nightlife, Streeterville No Comments »

Jimmy Robert, “Vis-à-Vis”
Produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Design, Publishing, and New Media Department for the MCA Monographs series, the exhibition catalogue for Jimmy Robert’s solo exhibition integrates three varied paper sizes and stocks to present three streams of information within one book.

Jimmy Robert “Vis-à-Vis,” $25,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Amaro cocktails menu

Food & Drink, Streeterville No Comments »

The Purple Pig
In the Rob Roy, Old Fashioned or Pisco Sour, bitters have been consistently relegated to the background. But they are stealing the stage since The Purple Pig this spring introduced a dedicated line of cocktails showcasing amaro (Italian bitters). The Pig’s Il Saggio includes gin, sage, simple syrup, lemon and a little Nonino Amaro. The Darkside is made with Averna Amaro, maraschino liqueur, gin and a Laphroaig Scotch rinse. The Milano Manhattan is made with two ounces of Makers Mark; one-half ounce Ramazzotti Amaro; one-half ounce Luxardo cherry liqueur; a splash of cherry juice; and dashes of those more recognizable bitters, Angostura.

The Purple Pig, 500 North Michigan, (312)464-1744,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best marching-band documentary by the best Chicago artist who is not a Chicago artist

Culture & Nightlife, Streeterville No Comments »

Cauleen Smith at the MCA
For the last two years, Cauleen Smith has been everywhere in Chicago: with teaching gigs at UIC and SAIC, visiting-artist events at Northwestern and UofC, group exhibits at SHoP, and solo shows at Threewalls and the MCA. In her Afrofuturist-inspired installation at the MCA this summer Smith presented a spatially disorienting hall of mirrors and a suite of videos shot in Chicago. One favorite involved a multi-camera shoot that elegantly captured a flashmob-esque intervention on a rainy day in new Chinatown Square where onlookers slowly found the space filled with members of the suburban Rich South High School marching band in full uniform playing a Sun Ra song.

Best of Chicago 2012

Best brunch (non-frou-frou division)

Food & Drink, Near North, South Loop, Streeterville No Comments »


With restaurants featuring Raspberry Oreo Flapjacks (Bongo Room), Sunny Side Duck Egg Hash (Longman & Eagle) and, of course, Frushi (that’s fruit sushi for the uninitiated, at Orange), there are certainly no shortages of destinations in Chicago for the gastro-brunch crowd. When you’re nursing a hangover though, good ol’ fashioned bacon and eggs might sound a little more palatable than, say, Lemon Ricotta pancakes. If that’s the case, might we suggest Yolk—they do all the basics to perfection, with just enough twists (Pot Roast Benedict, Cinnamon Roll French Toast, Nutella Crepes) to keep things a little more interesting than a trip to Golden Nugget. Oh, and keep the Metropolis coffee coming, would you please? It’s been a rough morning.

1120 South Michigan
747 North Wells
355 East Ohio

Best of Chicago 2011

Best “I gotta go back there just to see her” hostess

Culture & Nightlife, Streeterville No Comments »

Journy at 120 Ultra Lounge

“Hamina-hamina-hamina-hamina...”—Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

120 Ultra Lounge
580 East Illinois

Best of Chicago 2011

Best excuse to shop for shoes

Goods & Services, Streeterville No Comments »

Brian Atwood at Saks

As if any woman with a pulse needed another reason to shop for shoes, designer extraordinaire and heartthrob Brian Atwood himself stopped by Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago to help cut the ribbon of their brand new shoe salon, 10022-SHOE. Debuting in September and named for the New York Saks shoe salon, which is so large it was given its own zip code, the local version is nothing to sneeze at: 3,300 square feet of pure shoe heaven. Stocking brands such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Michael Kors and of course, Mr. Atwood, it’s quickly become a shoe-lover’s go-to. Can you say “Happy Feet?”

Saks Fifth Avenue
700 North Michigan

Best of Chicago 2011

Best yacht club in Chicago

Audience Choice, Category, Lakeview, Sports & Recreation, Streeterville No Comments »

Columbia Yacht Club
Chicago’s harbors boast several fine waterfront clubs, some more exclusive than others but all of which offer copious dock space, storage facilities and eateries. Columbia, established in 1892, sets itself apart with its noteworthy location, pleasant atmosphere and cooperative community. Non-members can enjoy the perks with a member-friend and the sailing school is open to anyone who hears Lake Michigan calling forth a passion for tying knots and rigging sails. Though membership fees are steeper than competitors in the northern and southern harbors, Columbia brings expert and novice sailors together on personal vessels and on the club’s floating home, a 372-foot Canadian icebreaker and ferryboat with a killer view of the city.

111 North Lake Shore

Audience choice:
Chicago Yacht Club
400 East Monroe
300 West Belmont

Best of Chicago 2010

Best deli

Audience Choice, Food & Drink, South Loop, Streeterville No Comments »

Fox & Obel

City Provisions deserves an honorable mention for its local and fresh-cured product offerings, but the one place we always go when we need to satisfy a group of jaded foodies over the holidays is Fox & Obel. From fat lobes of foie gras to glistening jamon iberico to spicy saucisson sec to rare caviar, they have the perfect edible gift for the hungry Gold Coast resident who has everything else. Also, this is one of the few non-online places you can score a single cut of dry-aged prime beef on quick notice if you want to cook up a steakhouse dinner.

401 East Illinois

Audience choice:

Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen
1141 South Jefferson

Best of Chicago 2010