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Live Like a Local: Chicago

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Over the years, we've loved sharing Napa Valley hot spots with our loyal followers. These popular "live like a local" posts have featured everything from hiking trails, to best breakfasts, to blow out dinners, and many in between. Now we're thrilled to bring you our favorite haunts in our favorite cities around the country. Each city has its own treasure trove of extraordinary restaurants, bars, tours, and hot spots, and we've asked our Round Pond friends and family to share their insider tips and local trending venues. Our last feature of this kind - Live Like a Local: San Francisco - was wildly popular, and we hope that you can put our newest list to good use and enjoy living like a local....in Chicago.

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Chicago Restaurants:

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RPM Italian is modern in style, but Italian in spirit and features a chef-driven menu of celebrated Italian classics with an elevated twist. Its sister restaurant, RPM Steak is a modern take on the traditional steakhouse. Both eateries are hugely popular with fantastic food choices, a well-curated craft cocktail program, and an award-winning wine list. Make sure you make reservations because it is not easy to find a free table. The Lobster Burrata is not to be missed! Whether its lunch, dinner, late night cocktails, or weekend brunch, at Siena Tavern you can expect to taste the same "from-scratch" Italian cooking in their delicious pastas, pizzas, mozzarellas, gelato and everything between.This polished and energetic restaurant’s décor reflects a hybrid of a rustic Italian market, a fine dining restaurant and a modern, industrial tavern, combining old world comfort and hospitality with contemporary design.
   
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Three Dots and a Dash is a cocktail focused tiki lounge that is unique to current day Chicago. The menu features a craft approach to both classic and modern tiki cocktails with fresh juices and syrups made in house daily and a selection of over 150 distinctive rums. The name Three Dots and a Dash is Morse Code for “V” standing for Victory. This code was used at the end of World War II when the soldiers were heading home. The wait can get crazy, so make a reservation if possible. Don't worry about the drink prices, because they make them strong, you will only need one! 9 Muses' hospitality is a nod to the Mediterranean way of life, which includes the use of the finest ingredients and exceptional service with great food in a relaxed environment. In the afternoon, hang and talk with your friends whilst drinking your frappe SLOWLY, allowing the foam time to revert back into coffee. It's the perfect bar scene to start or end the night in. If you can make it out of bed the next day, come here for lunch or early dinner, and make sure you try the Toast (ask for it Greek-Style, with just ham & cheese).
   
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Fat Rice serves up unique Asian-fusion cuisine from Macau influenced by the legacy of Portuguese decolonization. This combination of cross-culture food results in an inspired menu of hand-rolled rice noodles, Macau's signature arroz gordo (for which the restaurant is named), and linguiça sausage that will make your meal here unforgettable. Pegasus is a great place for traditional Greek food in a comfortable setting. Large groups are always welcome, and their large “mezé” (Greek tapas) menu makes sharing the small dishes easy. In the summertime, mezé on the Veranda is the way to go with the fantastic view of the Chicago skyline right in front of you.
   
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Pequods is a casual, brick-walled pizza pub that serves up traditional pan pizza, but it’s the only place in the city that serves it with a “caramelized cheese crust” edge that has developed a cult following. They have received many local and national “Best Pizza” honors & their pizzas continue to receive glowing accolades. Roka Akor's seasonal menu features Robata
Japanese cuisine, using prime cuts of steak, seafood, and vegetables, plus sushi. A vibrant bar scene and the sleek dining space provides a stunning backdrop to the centrally located robata grill which is the heart of the visual/dining experience.
   
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Topo Giogio is popular standout in historic Old Town Chicago that features a modern Tuscan-Style approach to Italian Cooking with an aesthetic feel straight out of the Sinatra era. This spot is especially popular in summer when the lively patio seating provides ample people-watching. Smoque (smōk) BBQcooks up slow-smoked regional southern-style BBQ good enough to make it a true destination. Slinging ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more in a basic space with community tables, Smoque is a local favorite whose delicious BBQ aromas literally pull patrons through the door. This spot is BYOB, so bring along your favorite beer or wine that will make your BBQ bliss complete.

 

 Chicago Bars, Tours, & More:

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The downstairs bar at Tavern On Rush boasts large windows overlooking the panoramic view of lively Rush Street, great for people watching.Tavern’s outdoor patio cafe is “the” place to see and be seen when you are looking for al fresco dining in downtown Chicago. Unfortunately, reservations are not accepted for patio seating so get there early! Castaways is located on the upstairs level of a boathouse on North Avenue Beach, and is affectionately known to locals as “Casty’s. The downstairs concession stands serve hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream, but the rooftop is a restaurant and bar with a full line-up of beer, wine, and beachy cocktails. Weekends bring live music, including rock, retro and contemporary bands. It should come as no surprise that beachwear is welcome, so hit the beach, grab and drink, and chill out.
   
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The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is a must for out-of-towners and Chicagoans alike. More than 50 buildings along the Chicago River are interpreted, and you’ll find out how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years. Indoor & outdoor seating along with a full bar makes this 90 minute tour a gem! Millennium Park is a new kind of town
square – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city. Discover a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provide the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including live summer concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities.

 

What other Chicago activities and places are on your list? Let us know in the comment section!

 

Feed by Round Pond

Written by Feed by Round Pond

The Feed by Round Pond is a collective voice of the staff that embodies the ethos of all we do--from making wine to making artisanal food products to just plain having fun--here at Round Pond.

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