Road trip: St Patrick's Day in Chicago

Like I've said before, Chicago is one of my favorite cities. It's always a great time. And St. Patrick's Day parade weekend is no exception.

Just got back from a weekend trip with a group of friends to get our green on. We drank green beer, we admired the green river, we caroused with a green leprechaun at D4 Irish Pub in Streeterville, we gobbled up whiskey-laced green gummy bears. Erin go bragh! 

"Cloud Gate" sculpture in Millenium Park, Chicago

"Cloud Gate" sculpture in Millenium Park, Chicago

We also hit some places I hadn't been yet for non-Irish themed fun. We ate and drank, and ate and drank some more. Our friends live in Streeterville so we hit that neighborhood, River North and Old Town. Here are some good picks if you're heading to Chicago for some fun:

The Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Building, Gold Coast/Streeterville
Touristy? Sure. But instead of paying to visit the Hancock Building's observation deck (which can run you $19-$38), pay instead to have a classic cocktail or a 312 draft in The Signature Lounge. I like any sightseeing that involves booze. And don't forget to stop in the bathroom for the best unobstructed views in the whole place. 

Giordano's, multiple locations
You have to have stuffed pizza if you go to Chicago. Don't argue, you just do. Wait, you also have to have a Chicago dog. Damn -- I have to go back! Anyway, Giordano's is a tourist trap, but they let you order your pizza while you wait for a table so by the time you sit down and order a drink, your yummy pizza arrives. Not too shabby.

Old Town Social, Old Town
Great local bar with extensive wine and beer list. A long list of apps and charcuterie to choose from that are perfect for sharing - which is exactly what we did. Walked from here to The Second City, birthplace of my lady crush, Tina Fey.

Henry's Swing Club, River North
Super fun joint. Lots 'o beers. Lot's o' people. This quote from their website, which explains their name, says it all:

“Everyone was talkin’ ’bout the
HENRY’S SWING CLUB
So I decided I’d drop in there that night.
When I did, I say “Yes people!”
They was really havin’ a ball!
Yes I know. Boogie Chillin’!”

- John Lee Hooker, “Boogie Chillin'” 1947

Three Dots & a Dash, River North
Two thumbs up for Three Dots. A must visit. Fun cocktails, swanky atmosphere and kitschy decor. I wish we had this place in Atlanta! Get one of the group drinks - I saw one go by that was on fire and another with smoke coming out of it. We ordered prematurely.

 
 

Boss Bar, River North
I had to include this bar for the name alone. Where else would BITNB drink??

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, River North
Awesome Italian pasta and pizza joint. My friend and I split the braised pork ravioli (above) and the porcini and truffle risotto. Yummy. Made Thrillist's January 2015 list of Chicago's 10 best Italian restaurants. While we were eating a pipe and drum band even came through the place to serenade everyone. A great end to a fabulous Chicago St. Patrick's celebration!

Special thanks to our hosts Trish and Matt!