Tofu hot dog at Big Chicks (5024 N Sheridan Rd, 773-728-5511) A hungry vegetarian plus a standard bar menu usually means you’re ordering cheese fries. But at this unpretentious gay bar, a plump veggie dog is on offer, topped with diced tomatoes and onions. And don’t worry—you still get a handful of fries on the side. $1.
Tacos at Fiesta Mexicana(2423 N Lincoln Ave, 773-348-4144) It may not be the best Mexican in town, but the margaritas are big and the tacos (chicken or ground beef) are only a buck. $1 each, minimum three tacos.
Burger and chips at Toon’s Bar & Grill(3857 N Southport Ave, 773-935-1919) Shuffleboard and craft beers sometimes overshadow the other reason to hit this sports bar: its Southern-style pub grub. The burger, a hefty half-pound, hand-formed patty of Black Angus beef, gets even better with a dash of Cajun mayo. $4.
Antipasti at Scoozi!(410 W Huron St, 312-943-5900) Lettuce Entertain You’s cavernous Italian joint celebrates happy hour with specials on small plates. Warning: We like the grilled calamari with roasted peppers and arugula, but it’s sized for one at best. For a larger portion, try the silky veal meatballs. $3 each, 5–7pm.
Oysters at the bar at La Sardine (111 N Carpenter St, 773-862-6600) Riding the oyster wave can get pricey: You’ll be hard-pressed to score a half-shell for less than $3 at the Publican, Maude’s or GT Fish. Thank the bivalve gods for this West Loop sibling to Le Bouchon, which puts a different region’s oyster on special each week. (Recently: plump and briny specimens from Delaware.) $1 each.
Maki at Tank Sushi (4514 N Lincoln Ave, 773-769-2600) Late lunch? Early dinner? From 1–6pm, a selection of this sushi favorite’s standard and wacky maki is half-price. Go for the sweet potato tempura and California rolls, less than $4 each.
Pizza at Simone’s (960 W 18th St, 312-666-8601) Simone’s, an eclectic spot in Pilsen, delivers a piping-hot mini pizza for a buck with the purchase of a drink—which, with the selection of imported beers and artisan cocktails, you were going to order anyway. $1, 10:30pm–close.