Love Local 2021
Time Out

Here are Time Out Chicago’s 2021 Love Local Awards winners

From a bar that doubles as a liquor store to historic music venue, here the places Chicagoans love most.

Zach Long

It should come as no surprise that Chicagoans love their city. This year's Love Local Awards brought in thousands of votes for your favorite restaurants, bars, attractions and more places that make the city what it is. After the tallying up the votes, we're ready to reveal the spots that Time Out Chicago readers heartily recommend (for our editors' take, check out the 2021 Best of the City Awards winners). Congrats to winners—we can really feel the love!

The 2021 Love Local Awards winners

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Grant Park
  • price 2 of 4

Sometimes you can't beat the classics, and the home of masterpieces like Grant Wood's American Gothic and Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte is definitely one of them. Guarded by a pair of bronze lions, the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world's largest and oldest museum and home to a collection of more than 300,000 works. But there's always more to see beyond the permanent collection—in 2021, the Art Institute hosted major exhibitions like a Barbara Kruger "anti-retrospective" and the Smithsonian's Obama portraits. It's why locals and tourists still line up to explore one of Chicago's best museums.

  • Pizza
  • West Loop

What's the quickest way to a Chicagoan's heart? There are many answers to that question, but a good beer, hot pizza and some great tunes are likely among them. PB&J (which stands for Pizza, Beer & Jukebox) boasts more than 20 draft beers, a menu of Neapolitan pizza and a TouchTunes jukebox that allows guests to control the soundtrack. The West Loop spot boasts a popular patio in the summer and serves drinks from behind an outdoor bar made of ice during the winter. And if you really want to ball out, PB&J also serves a $350 peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

  • Beer bars
  • Logan Square

Lined with coolers filled with beer on one side and a long bar on the other, Go Tavern is a quintessential Chicago slashie where you can stop in for a drink or find a few to take home with you. Manager Mike Stellatos keeps the bar stocked with local and national craft beer offerings, sold at prices that make it easy to order a couple rounds without breaking the bank. Whether you drink inside under ceiling tiles painted by regulars or sneak out back to the alleyway patio during the summer, you'll see why this Logan Square dive is a great place to meet with friends—or make some new ones.

  • Cafés
  • Lake View

Doppio Coffee House opened just a few months before Chicago locked down at the onset of the pandemic, but that hasn't stop the cafe from becoming a Lakeview institution. Husband-and-wife duo Sandra and Murat Selcuk curate coffee from around the world, serving an ever-changing menu of blends and varities alongside the shop's namesake espresso drink. Don't leave without sampling one of Doppio's picture-perfect open-faced sandwiches stacked with eggs, salmon, avocado or berries.

  • Shopping
  • Grocery stores
  • Lincoln Square

Don't throw those old jars away! Instead, take them to Eco & the Flamingo, where they can find a second life as storage for flour, hand soap, tea leaves and tons of other household goods. Operated by a pair of friends who wanted to provide more sustainable shopping options for their community, the Lincoln Square shop is Chicago's first-ever zero waste general store, allowing patrons to fill up their clean, empty containers with everything from cleaning supplies to coffee beans, which are priced by the ounce. It's become a beloved destination for anyone looking to make their day-to-day life more eco-friendly.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Lower West Side
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Thalia Hall has long history as a venue for performances, serving as a community gathering place that hosted live music and theather for decades after it was completed in 1892. The Pilsen venue has only acted as a contemporary concert hall since 2013, but has quickly become a beloved spot to catch a show from the floor or the balcony—from legendary acts like Parliament-Funkadelic and Lucinda Williams to local favorites like Ohmme and Makaya McCraven. It doesn't hurt that the building also houses Dusek's Tavern, Punch House and Tack Room, providing plenty of options for pre- or post-show dining and drinks.

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