1015 N. Rush St., Gold Coast
Nestled a stone's throw from Nico Osteria at the Thompson Hotel, this upscale lounge leans heavily on low-proof drinks (juleps, spritzes, and the like), meaning you can indulge without getting too sloppy. One of Nico’s most prominent design features, other than the luscious stretch banquette and pops of jewel tones, is a plant wall which, in addition to lending a dreamy indoor-outdoor quality to the space, absorbs noise.
1160 N. Dearborn St., Gold Coast
By far the best BBQ in Chicago. The menu is short and, unsurprisingly, meat heavy but what makes Q special are the house wood-smoked meats and the distinctive rubs and pickles they concoct so consistently.
990 N. Mies van der Rohe Way, Gold Coast
"Unfussy" is probably the best word to describe the fresh fish at this sexy little sushi joint. All the chefs are traditionally trained, so while the more out-there rolls and daily specials are great, it’s the beautifully cut sashimi and nigiri that steal the show. It’s also important to note that while the offering is topnotch, the atmosphere is decidedly low-key, just right for a weeknight dinner. Both this location and the Wicker Park outpost offer delivery and takeout.
Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen
100 E. Walton St., Gold Coast
This self-professed “fast-casual” eatery prides itself on giving guests a 100 percent customizable experience. The tech-to-table system allows for lightning-fast service (order from a digital menu board, and then take a wireless tracker to your table), though if traditional waiter service is more your speed, there’s that too. Food-wise, the focus is on healthful, fresh fare, with the menus at both locations brimming with veggie-driven dishes (for the most part, produce is sourced locally) like kale slaw and grilled artichokes, in addition to comfort staples like matzo ball soup and close to a dozen burger variations (the turkey burger is a GP favorite). There's also a location in River North.
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
11 E. Walton St., Gold Coast
The Waldorf’s massive, elegantly appointed guestrooms—a good portion of which have working fireplaces—are just one of the many reasons why we chose it as our home away from home during the Chicago goop pop (it actually used to be the Elysian, another goop fave). Here, a heated porte-cochère (a godsend during those brutal Midwestern winters) gives you the sense that comfort is taken very seriously before you even step through the doors. Balsan, the on-site bistro, has a solid selection of classic American fare (burgers, salads, and super fresh oysters), so leaving the grounds for a great market-driven meal isn’t a necessity.
Dollop Coffee Co.
860 N. Dewitt Place, Gold Coast
While Dollop has expanded across Chicago over the past 10 years, it’s still very much the neighborhood coffee house at heart—there’s nothing slick or overwhelmingly modern about any of the cafes. At the original Uptown spot, the seating options include lived-in couches and upholstered chairs, which if you’re in it for the long haul, makes a difference. The food offering, while modest, will do the trick in a pinch. The Streeterville location is spacious and well suited for study groups or casual meeting. Want fresh-baked pie to go with your coffee? Evanston serves Hoosier Mama pie all day. Perfectly brewed Metropolis coffee is consistent throughout so check out the and Downtown outpost, too.
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