CAA: Where It’s Always 5:00

Daniel Scott Parker

Poetry and gin are a good mix

CAA, the largest international art convention, hiring fair, and conglomerate of critical art forums kicks off tomorrow, and that means one thing.


 Well, it means a lot of things. But when there’s a formidable unleashing of artspeak and awkward hotel-space interviews with the art world’s most coveted jobs on the line, drinks are in order.

For those of you visiting Chicago this week, here’s a quick list of some nearby eatery and drinkeries, as well as a few of my personal favorites for a more leisurely experience.


KASEY’S TAVERN (701 South Dearborn St.): A small shotgun-style bar that is comfortable in its own skin. Good draft beers. A frequent watering hole for a bunch of poets. But don’t let that scare you away. (Map)

For a quick, tasty, and healthy lunch, check out KRAMER’S (230 S Wabash Ave.): Health food store downstairs, vegetarian/vegan café and juice bar upstairs. (Business in the front, party in the back?) Since discovering this place last year, I’ve been going every Wednesday for a Kramer’s Salad and a shot of wheatgrass. (Map)

HACKNEY’S (733 S Dearborn St.) has some tasty pub fare, good beers, and is in Printer’s Row. The place is nothing out of the mainstream, but it’s a solid choice for enjoyable dinner and drinks. (Map)

For a classic sandwich, I go to HARRY’S SANDWICH SHOP (336 S Dearborn St.). Affordable and delicious deli-style sandwiches. The place is generally buzzing with regulars, which is always a good sign. (Map)

(Oh my god I just realized this is what it must feel like to be a yelper.)

BUDDY GUY’S (700 S. Wabash Ave.) has terrific live blues music and a selection of quaffable beers. (Map)

SOUTH LOOP CLUB (1 E Balbo Ave.): Probably the cheapest bar in the South Loop. This place is divey in the way your dad’s third wife is. And they give you free popcorn. (Map)

EXCHEQUER (226 S. Wabash Ave.): The place is remarkably both spacious and nestle-y. You don’t even have to close your eyes to feel deep in the heart of Wordsworth’s Lake District. But, with sports on the TVs. So maybe you do have to close your eyes. At least if you’re looking for Romanticism. (Map)

But if it’s Romance (and Top 40 beats) you’re looking for, however, just head up to River North. Bars and eateries all over.

Speaking of River North, just a quick ride up the Red Line train is THREE DOTS & A DASH (435 N. Clark St.). The tiki-themed bar has been called a Rum Renaissance. My personal recommendation is the Pago Pago: Gold Nicaraguan rum, green chartreuse, pineapple, lime, and creme de cacao.  (Map)

If you have a little more time and flexibility, here are a few of my favorite digs around town, most of which are just a bit west up the Blue Line:

Jibarito Benedict (photo courtesy of Lula Cafe

Photo by Lula Cafe

LULA CAFE (2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.) Above is the “Jibarito” Benedict: smashed plantain, chorizo, Nichols Farm parsnips, escarole, hollandaise, poached farm eggs. Hands down best brunch in the city. Last year Time Out Chicago awarded Lula’s “Royale” Breakfast Sandwich Series “Most Watchable Series Since Mad Men.” (Also worth noting, Lula features a $38 three-course Farm Dinner every Monday, for those of you arriving today or sticking around for a long weekend.) (Map)

ANALOGUE (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.): equal parts dark, tender, and frisky. Analogue’s cocktail list is utterly Castiglione’s ideal of “sprezzatura.” Try The Double Take: Letherbee gin, Letherbee Fernet, and Punt y Mes. It’s a fresh spin on the British “Hanky Panky.” (Map)

For the city’s best tacos, go to L’ PATRON (2815 W Diversey). Just trust me. And expect to wait. (Map)

ROOTSTOCK (954 N. California Ave.): Best burger in Chicago. You wanna know why? Two words: BACON AIOLI. Not to mention the extensive and diverse beer and wine lists.(Map)

BOILER ROOM (2210 N. California Ave.): With a fun and frenetic ambience of CTA voiceovers in the bathrooms (ok, that part’s kind of weird) and dual-projected old school videos, Boiler Room has the best bang for your buck. I always opt for the $8.50 “PB&J”: a slice of pizza, a tallboy PBR, and a shot of Jameson. Or two. Actually, always two. (Map)



CAA: Where It’s Always 5:00

CAA, the largest international art convention, hiring fair, and conglomerate of critical art forums kicks off tomorrow, and that means one thing. DRINKS.  Well, it means a lot of things. …

Daniel Scott Parker MFA Poetry Daniel Scott Parker,
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605