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The Big City Blog: Jack’s Pumpkin Nights, Seadog haunted cruises and more Chicago Halloween fun

Blog courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Trent Modglin

For a fun, new Halloween pop-up experience complete with carnival games, bounce houses, live performances, nighttime light displays, food trucks and a beer and cider-stocked bar inside of a giant corn maze, head to the two-acre lot near Goose Island for Jack’s Pumpkin Nights. Perfect blend of entertainment for the kids during the day and the adults (and a bit of a singles scene) later in the afternoon into the evening. With plenty of fall-themed props, Instagrammable photo opportunities abound. Open daily through Nov. 4. 1467 N. Elston. Tickets available at JacksPumpkinPopUp.com read more

The Big City Blog: Barrel-aged beer festival, a 90210-themed pop-up bar and Picks n’ Treats at the Randolph Street Market

The following is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Jeremy Lindenfeld

The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer is back

For the 16th year in a row, The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, North America’s largest barrel-aged beer festival and competition, is making its way back to Chicago. November 16 and 17 will see the festival provide its attendees with opportunities to partake in tasting some of the world’s most sought-after and hard-to-find beers, ciders, meads and perries. With more than 400 brews from 200 breweries, the two-day event is sure to have something for every enthusiast. Held at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt. Fobab.com     read more

The Big City Blog: The foodie paradise that is Chicago Gourmet runs Sept. 26-30

This blog is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Trent Modglin

Chicago Gourmet, by their definition, is a “concert of culinary delights.” By our definition, it’s one fine collection of food and fun.

Originally founded by the Illinois Restaurant Association, Chicago Gourmet is produced in partnership with Bon Appétit magazine and sponsored by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

It’s an annual event each September that celebrates the foodie in all of us, with celebrity chefs headlining cooking demonstrations, an incredible lineup of food, wine, spirits and beer tastings, as well as wine and mixology seminars to showcase what’s trendy. In all, more than 250 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs partake in this collaboration. read more

A Round of Drinks at Kingston Mines and The Green Mill: These classic Chicago music venues will keep you entertained all night long

The following article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Jonathan Mandel

If you think the blues is dead, think again. And if you think jazz is dead, definitely think again. The Windy City has been at the forefront of each genre for decades and has some impressive clubs to show for it, many of which have become shrouded in local lore over the years. We chose to focus on two that continue to churn out good tunes and good times: the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Uptown and Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park. We caught up with Dave Jemilo, who has owned the Green Mill for 32 years, and Joanna Connor, a local legend in the blues scene and a regular performer at Kingston Mines. read more

The rise of the Boka Restaurant Group: Its domination of Chicago’s food scene continues

The following article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Trent Modglin

Chances are, if you ask any young chef in the city of Chicago to pick a kitchen to work in, and a group of people to learn from, the answer would be one of the establishments owned by the Boka Restaurant Group.

Founded in 2002 by Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, it quickly shot to stardom in the food world — and consistently has remained on the rise — as one of the nation’s foremost chef-driven restaurant groups. read more

Kids Corner: Looking for one more fun-filled day with the family in Chicago this summer? We’ve got ideas

This article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

Meghan is a pediatric social worker and mother of two (soon to be three) children. Despite being avid travelers, she and her family are most content being tourists in their hometown of Chicago; specifically, exploring outdoors and enjoying the city’s delicious food scene.

Love the Garfield Park Conservatory. At this stage, we’re looking to go places where our boys can run around without safety concerns and explore without big, annoying crowds. Garfield is much bigger than the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Admission is donation-based, and they always have family programming and lots of hands-on experiences for children: spray bottles to help water plants, snakes and other animals on display, a slide and designated kids’ areas. 300 N. Central Park Ave. GarfieldParkConservatory.org read more

Here’s Hyde Park: We asked three University of Chicago students to break down the best of the famous south side neighborhood

This article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Jeremy Lindenfeld, Brooke Nagler and Jonathan Mandel

Valois

When you walk into Valois, you might be tempted to believe that you’ve stepped into a time capsule. One expects to see Jack Kerouac and Muddy Waters hunched among the infinite array of tables. There’s certainly some sort of magic going on behind the scenes at this old-school cafeteria: In the minute between placing your order at one end of the counter, and paying at the other end of the counter, they’re somehow able to cook all the food you could possibly want and pile it high on your tray. Omelettes, steak, pancakes, sandwiches — they serve it all, from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. every day of the week. The staff isn’t made up of university students or locals trying to make some tip money: They’re adults in their 40s and 50s who have been working there for decades, and aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Valois is as affordable as it gets, and it welcomes a true cross-section of the local community at any given time. From its walls painted with scenes of Hyde Park to its menu of President Obama’s favorites — it’s his breakfast spot of choice — Valois is a heavenly bite steeped in the history of Hyde Park. 1518 E. 53rd. ValoisRestaurant.com read more

Chicago Insider Michelle Fasano on dinner at Ada Street, jazz at the California Clipper and the rooftop at the Robey Hotel

California Clipper

This article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

Michelle Fasano

How long you’ve lived here: I grew up in the Chicagoland area, but I’ve lived in Chicago for the past four years, in both in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

What you like best about Chicago: Chicago has all the perks of a major city while also being approachable. I love the various neighborhoods, each with their own feel and charm — all accessible by public transit! And no city does summer better. read more

Coffee craze: I visited 52 Chicago coffee shops in 52 weeks, and I have a few favorites to share

This article is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Michelle Fasano

In January of 2017, I got the idea to visit 52 coffee shops in 52 weeks. As any Chicagoan knows, January-March is a time for hibernation. To escape my apartment, I started hanging out in local coffee shops and got hooked. Some may call that a caffeine dependency, but I think there’s something more to it. Maybe I’m just trying to find my own Central Perk. read more

Small sounds: Eight intimate music venues in Chicago that enhance a concert-goer’s personal experience

Subterranean

This article originally ran in TheRealChicago.com

By Jina Bute

For me, nothing beats live music, and what makes it even better is listening and experiencing the sounds of a band in an extremely intimate setting. Here are some smaller music venues that are great if you’re looking for a place to enjoy live music by up-and-coming bands.

Subterranean
2011 W. North
www.SubT.net

Background: Located in Wicker Park, Subterranean, or “SubT,” has two rooms for music performances: Subterranean Music Hall and “Downstairs.” Downstairs has a capacity of only 100 people and has hosted concerts and events I’ve personally attended like Best Ex, Have Mercy, Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties and the DJ concert tour, Emo Nite. read more

Outdoor eats: Chicago food blogger Amanda Topper’s favorite alfresco dining spots in the city

With alfresco season suddenly upon us, TheRealChicago.com asked Amanda Topper, founder of TheGhostGuest.com food blog, for her favorite spots to eat outdoors in Chicago.

St. Lou’s Assembly: Just west of downtown, you’ll find St. Lou’s Assembly, a “meat and three” spot with a large, casual patio. Enjoy comfort food like pickled brined chicken and mac & cheese while washing it all down with a house-bottled cocktail or boozy float. 664 W. Lake. 312-660-0600. StLousChicago.com read more

The Big City Blog: North Coast Music Festival lineup, ROOF on TheWit’s Monday Movie Series, Shore Club expansion and more

The following blog is courtesy of TheRealChicago.com

By Jeremy Lindenfeld

The lineup is out for the ninth North Coast Musical Festival, which takes over Chicago’s Union Park from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The three-day festival will feature notable musicians in many genres from R&B to rock and roll. With established, world-renowned bands like Miguel, DJ Snake, Jamiroquai and many more performing on four different stages, the festival promises to have music for every preference imaginable. See the full lineup and ticket options at NorthCoastFestival.com read more

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