Secret Spots in the West Loop


Show Notes - West Loop Life Podcast


  • Bar Izakaya below momotaro  820 W Lake St

    • The Izakaya and its shared-plates pub-inspired menu echoes the Yokocho street scene of Tokyo.

    • Narrow lounge-inspired 'alleys' around a central bar with hand-painted Japanese menus, moody neon lights, and vintage Tokyo street signs

    • Modeled after Tokyo's most famous post-war black markets.

    • 30-seat bar featuring crafted cocktails, sakes, and a great selection of Japanese whiskeys.

    • Wed–Thurs 5pm–1am / Fri–Sat 4:30pm–2am / Sun 4:30pm–1am


  • Booze Box below sushi dokku

    • 823 W Randolph in the alley behind Sushi Dokku off of Green Street

    • Neon Arrow in the aley

    • Down the stairs is a slick, windowless room with cedar walls given a red glow from Japanese lamps overhead.

    • The menu features a large selection of cocktails, sake, Japanese beer, small plates good ramen, and snacks. intentionally full of texture, fat and salt.

    • On weekends DJs provide laid-back hip-hop and eclectic electronic beats

    • Tue & Wed 6pm-10pm,  Thur 6pm-11pm,  Fri 6pm-2am,  Sat 6pm-2am


  • 2Fun Bar 905 W. Randolph - a Lounge/hangout space upstairs from WonFun Chinese restaurant  Tuesday - Thursday 5:00PM - 2:00AM,  Friday & Saturday 5:00PM - 3:00AM,  


  • RM Champagne Lounge - 116 N Green St American small plates in a setting with a marble fireplace & chandeliers.

    • Sunday 5 pm - 11 pm  Mon-THur 5 pm - 12 am   Friday & Saturday 5pm - 2am

    • Like a speakeasy on the outside and lively French bistro inside.

    • Bistro classics such as steak frites (national dish of Belgium and France, Steak & Fries), a selection of cheeses, and a raw bar.

    • The candle-lit room radiates modern romance,

    • Moroccan lamps and antique mirrors

    • Awesome outdoor Parisian-style patio

    • Same owners as Nellcôte, Old Town Social, Leghorn Chicken, and Expat.


  • ExPat 118 N Green in the Summertime - outdoor Alfresco street side cafe

    • A light, simple, totally unfussy menu designed for outdoor dining and drinking.

    • Think oysters, crudo, raw veggies, and salads, plus a focused menu of rosé, cocktails and shot-and-a-back pairings.

    • And of course, there are the boozy sno-cones and push-pops. It's summer, after all. Don't overthink things.


  • High Five Ramen - 116 N Green St,

    • An intimate subterranean ramen lair with concrete walls, a long cedar bar, and industrial light fixtures.

    • The signature High Five Ramen features a traditional tonkotsu-style, rich and creamy broth combined with miso, sesame, numbing pepper, nori, and dried Japanese chilies.

    • Guests can test their tolerance for heat with the Kanabo Spice, enjoy a lighter option with the Shoyu Ramen, savor the chicken broth based Shio Ramen, or indulge with an earthy Maitake Ramen, made with a mushroom miso broth.

    • The bar serves a selection of Japanese beer, sake, whiskey, and sweet slushies.

    • Sun & Mon: 6:00pm - 11:00pm, Tue & Wed: 6:00pm - 12:00am, Thur, Fr & Sat: 6:00pm - 1:00am


  • Green Street Smoked Meats - 112 N Green St

    • Sun & Mon: 11am-11pm

    • Tue & Wed: 11am-12am (kitchen closes at 11pm)

    • Thu-Sat: 11am-1am (kitchen closes at 12am)


  • The Aviary - 955 W Fulton. Buy dinner tickets in advance. Swanky cocktail lounge with intricate drinks in super creative presentations & clever small bites.

    • Where cocktails and service are given the same attention to detail as a four-star restaurant; where bartenders are trained as chefs; where the produce and herbs are carefully sourced and procured fresh daily; where the name and branding of the spirit mixed is less important than its actual flavor; where drinks are made quickly and consistently in a state-of-the-art drink kitchen; where innovation and tradition are both honored.

    • $65 per person 3 course cocktails only,

    • $135 per person 5-Course Cocktail Tasting Menu with Paired Food

    • $165-$195 per person 7-Course Cocktail Tasting Menu with Paired Food served inside their kitchen



  • The Lunatic The Lover and the Poet 736 W. Randolph St.

    • 3 level wine bar restaurant

    • Owner Tom Powers - host of BarHunters, a reality show on Discovery.

    • Impressive list of 75 wines and wants to eventually grow the list to 200 wines.

    • space that’s parts whimsical, intellectual, and naughty—hence the space’s name

    • more of classic bistro fare


  • Esco Bar  738 W. Randolph  - a Sultry upstairs bar from Ronero

    • tableside cocktails,

    • live music and weekly entertainment

    • conga players, three-piece bands, DJs and dancers.

    • 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday.


Secret House Concerts with locations not announced until the day of the show.

Jessica Allossery

Coming to perform for you in September here in Chicago.


  • Winestry- 648 W Randolph St,  Private wine tasting room for parties of 5 or more arranged in advance to check out their wine club.

    • Over half the wine sold in the U.S. is made by one of three giant producers

    • most of the wine you can find at restaurants or on store shelves comes from the same place

    • Access to a curated collection of wines from the over 7,000 wineries in the United States. Most of these producers are actually too small to warrant the attention of retailers so they are genuinely hard to find. Until now. We’ve combed the country for the best producers, met with hundreds of winemakers, and tasted thousands of wines. We make our favorites available to you here.


  • Speakeasy  THE HIVE - upstairs from Honey’s  1111 W. Lake St,  312-877-5929  Wednesday-Saturday 6pm-12am

    • COZY - mismatched velvet couches and a marble bar

    • Dark walls, dark oriental rugs

    • No menus - the bartenders actually talk to you, get to know what you like and suggest a drink to suit


  • Speakeasy The Backdoor Saloon-  844 W. Randolph St. - Above Grange Hall Burger Bar Alley entrance from the alley north of Bar Siena   Thursday 6pm-11pm   Friday 6p-2am    Saturday 6p-2am

    • Tin ceilings, Old fashioned lamps,  tall stools and other big arm chairs & velvet couches

    • Dark walls, dark oriental rugs

    • More brightly lit, Big old time mirrors on the walls

    • Craft cocktails

    • A wide range of draft beer paired with burgers, and even a 32oz ribeye, and late-night snacks.  

    • Live entertainment Thursday and Friday and slightly-naughty, late-night burlesque show every Saturday night.

      • There’s a selection of eight house cocktails,  $4 shots of whiskey

      • 12 tap lines and they even serve Right Bee Cider (Chicago’s first cidery located in Hermosa Park) on draft.

      • There’s plenty of whisky and wines by the glass and bottle, too.

      • The feel is an amped-up version of a Western saloon,

      • After 11pm please enter through rear alley entrance.

      • Alley located at the corner of Randolph St & Green Street, behind Bar Siena.

April 22nd  - Fitness Crawl

Hosted by the IL Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

$80 registration  Support NOCC’s Research in Action Initiative! More info here

Five fantastic West Loop located fitness studios have each put together a 20-minute class that will showcase their specific techniques. Afterwards, party at Wise Owl Restaurant.  Buffet and cocktails post fitness crawl!  The NOCC 2017 Fitness Crawl proceeds support RESEARCH IN ACTION; an initiative that supports THE OVARIAN CANCER DREAM TEAM a partnership between the NOCC, Stand Up To Cancer and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. 

Participating Businesses

  • LIVE GRIT swim-bike-run store and training community.
  • BELLICON STUDIO  Bellicon Bounce is a new concept for rebounder exercise on mini trampolines.
  • BROOKLYN BOULDERS                           
  • POW! GYM
  • Wise Owl Restaurant

Celebrate together after the crawl at Wise Owl Restaurant. There will be a buffet and refreshments provided.

 West Loop Podcast Chicago Neighborhood Activities

Community Visioning Workshop
Saturday, April 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m. (new time!)
WeWork: Fulton Market
220 N. Green St.
Chicago, IL 60607
RSVP at this link

April 26th

West Central Association Networking events.  The next networking event on April 26th,

May 6th & 7th

The Greektown Mediterranean Wine Fest  

Saturday May 6th & Sunday May 7th  2-6pm,  Van Buren and Halsted

Think of it as a pairing of grapes and gyros. Or grapes and moussaka. Or just great wine and Mediterranean food. The Greektown Mediterranean Wine Fest makes its alluring debut this spring in Chicago's West Loop, featuring 50 Greek and Mediterranean European wines celebrated along with tasty dishes from the neighborhood's iconic Greek restaurants.

This classy Hellenic-themed happening is designed for wine and food connoisseurs be they newbies or those with more discriminating tastes. A cornerstone of the fest will be daily afternoon wine tastings (from 2:00-6:00 p.m. daily) where ticket holders can sample up to 15 varietals with the purchase of a $40 tasting pass.

Enhancing this inaugural West Loop gala will be deejay beats (plus Greek bands and dancers), food-wine pairings, artisans, and the products/services of wine-related vendors.

The event is open daily from Noon to 9:00 p.m. daily and is located on Halsted Street between Jackson and Van Buren in the center of Chicago's Greektown community. Wines are located under a large pavillion with secondary locations along the restaurant row. Seating, covered areas, a souvenir glass is included with wine tasting purchases are all part of the experience.

The event benefits the Greektown Chamber of Commerce. For group sales please contact Laura Wilke at



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