offers a whole lot of Mexico in a little shack of a restaurant.
You can go a lot of directions from the Addison stop, and almost all of them are international. Whether you're looking for a truly authentic Irish pub, a taste of German good cheer or some mean Mexican food, it's all here. Better yet, it's all affordable ($3 Guinness!) and never pretentious. So, um, what are you waiting for?
Best of the nightlife
A staple among the Chicago music scene since 1973, this spot is much more than a mere Irish pub - though that might be enough, thanks to regular free, acoustic shows and a menu of staples like shepherd's pie, bangers and mash and Guinness meatloaf plus all the beers you can handle. But here's the kicker - the complex also holds one of the city's finest music venues, with a stage that has hosted everyone from Guided By Voices to Iron & Wine to up-and-coming local hip-hop artists.
Good for groups
Mirabell has brought a bit of Germany to this mostly residential neighborhood, from the 25-plus beers to the schnitzelbank (carving bench) serving up varieties including ham and cheese and paprika. Two dining rooms flank the bar area and a small beer garden in the side yard is occasionally open for dining alfresco, while waitresses in traditional costume pleasantly minister to the lively crowd.
You'll have to fight to spend more than $10 at this pretension-free spot (which really feels like a restaurant you'd find in Mexico), as the $3.75 tortas are both highly recommended and highly filling. Vegetarians can stick with aguacate (avocado) fillings, but rib eye, pork, chicken, steak and sausage options abound. Other wallet-friendly options include tacos, burritos and tostadas, and BYOB is encouraged.
Where to chill
This sunny cafe is truly a neighborhood gem, serving mostly organic, fair trade and free-range breakfast and lunch at unbelievably reasonable prices. The menu changes seasonally, but staple items like bagels, pancakes and omelets are always available. Everything is made to order at Curio, so service can be pretty slow, but just avoid stopping in when you're in a time crunch and you'll be fine. Curio is also kid-friendly and perfect for the hip, urban parent. There's a kids' menu, a play area with cool toys, organic candy, hormone-free milk and a huge chalkboard that many artistically inclined adults would have problems resisting if it wasn't low to the ground for little ones.
Any night of the week you can belly up to Christina's Place, which is no bigger than a large living room, for big specials: $3 Guinness, $2 PBR and $10 buckets of Coors Light. This four o'clock neighborhood joint lights up later into the evening, when the 10 barstools are full, the tables are occupied and there's a wait for the pool table. A quarter-worthy jukebox holds such classics as Hank Williams Sr., Dead Milkmen and Huey Lewis and the News. The music represents the clientele as much as the staff, who can be found patronizing the bar on off nights. Everyone seems to know each other, but it's by no means exclusive.
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