What to do off the 606 at Milwaukee Leavitt (Park 567)
Owned by a pair of, yes, BFFs, this new bike shop works diligently with customers to find the best bike for them. It offers Bianchi, Giant and Public bikes, as well as clothing for commuters and casual cyclists. Tune-ups and repairs are also available, as are group riding sessions. Serious female cyclists will dig the BFF Racing team.
This toy shop stocks familiar childhood favorites, puzzles galore and new games imported from Europe. There’s plenty of options for every age group, and the store even hosts family game nights and tournaments.
Hipsters, yuppies, freaks, dirty old men and bluegrass bands used to pack this beloved corner tap, which changed ownership in 2011 and underwent a bit of a personality shift. Darker, sleeker and with more focus on DJs with underground cred, the Charleston has morphed into quite a scene. The newer Bucktown residents are happy as clams, plunking down tens for Moscow mules, while those dirty old men have shuffled off to find the few remaining dives nearby.
There’s no pretense here—in fact, the Green Eye’s self-proclaimed addition to the ’hood is “cheap drinks for reasonable people.” Locals head here for Lagunitas drafts, a small outdoor patio (in the summer) and its prime spot right next to the Blue Line, which makes this place easier to drop into your routine than sleep.
The multiple bike racks out back are packed with every kind of two-wheeler imaginable, no matter the time of year at this biker bar (and by biker, we mean bicycle-r). Eco-minded folks chat over tasty vegan fare (the barbecue seitan is great), check out each other’s rides and sample from the ample list of diverse drafts.
Never tried Costa Rican food? This spot is simple, authentic, cheap, supercasual and friendly—just what the doctor ordered. Start with the hearts of palm salad—tangy stalks on a bed of shredded cabbage tossed in a lime vinaigrette, along with radishes, cilantro, cucumber, pickled beets and ripe avocado. Make it a meal by adding the steak-and-beans “pepito” sandwich and sweet plantains. Bring a bottle of malbec to match, and end the meal with an oatmeal shake (sounds strange, tastes great).
You couldn’t fit another beer on the killer list or another Bucktown local in this cozy tavern on occasional Tuesdays when the bar unveils new or limited releases of specialty beers. If you’re a more low-key drinker but like the vibe, stop by in the a.m. when the Map Room functions as a coffeehouse.
If your movie geekdom runs deeper than Netflix, this video store is heaven. Owner Brian Chankin has collected quite an array of cult cinema, organized into categories like Eurosleaze, Maverick Directors and Classic Pop. It's worth popping in just for the Ghanaian movie posters.
An environmentally conscious wine shop, Red & White specializes in natural wines and hard-to-find and obscure booze in all forms. Many of the wines in the store come from vineyards that use natural farming practices.