Time Out readers have spoken, and below are the venues they named their absolute favorite in Rogers Park, Edgewater, Andersonville and Uptown. So the next time you’re on the Far North Side and in need of food, drink or retail therapy, make a beeline for these places and you won’t go wrong.
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Sure, you can go to Sun Wah for the barbecue combination plate or Hong Kong–style lo mein. But the real reason this Chinese spot is jam-packed in the evenings isn’t on the menu. Locals know you’re going here (with as many friends as you can drum up) to feast on the Beijing roast Peking duck. While feasting on the perfectly crisp skin tucked inside fluffy steamed bao buns, you’ll find yourself considering making the move to Uptown.
This classic Belgian-themed bar has been a cornerstone of the Andersonville neighborhood for more than two decades. It recently expanded into the building next door to accommodate demand, and now it includes three bar areas and a dining room that house the city’s most extensive selection of Belgian beers. Grab a booth during the day and cozy up with a favorite book, or stay for dinner and dine on traditional mussels and frites served with garlic aioli.
Located just steps away from the Berwyn Red Line stop, Kitchen Sink is the kind of place where you can get a meal with your afternoon coffee. In addition to Metropolis Coffee, the homey Edgewater cafe serves housemade sandwiches, soups and salads. With plenty of seating (including an outdoor patio, when the weather is nice) and free wi-fi with purchase, it’s a great place to spend a productive afternoon.
This Andersonville plant mecca is known for its warm, quiet nursery, where you can commune with nature by strolling among the vibrant cyclamens, orchids and begonias, and the fountain filled with colorful koi. The store also offers a variety of outdoor furniture made of weather-resistant materials, such as cast aluminum, wrought iron, resin wicker, teak, hardwoods and tubular steel. Plus, you can even custom-design your own cushions and pillows here.
Aragon is gorgeous inside, but the sound is notoriously dodgy. The Riv often feels like the lesser little sibling of that stately ballroom. So no wonder an institution like Green Mill cleaned up on the Far North Side. Yes, Al Capone was here. It's historial, yadda yadda yadda. But the joint remains a vital piece of the local jazz scene. Patricia Barber still holds down Monday nights, while a heavy dose of organists provide a vibe as chill as the martinis on the weekend.
Established in 1983 and run by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro, this non-Equity company is primarily known for its productions of mid- to late-20th-century chestnuts. Since 2002, Raven's made its home in a converted former grocery store on Clark Street in Edgewater; the complex's two spaces are also regularly rented to itinerant troupes.