It's easy to stay home when the temps drop to single digits. However, there are so many cozy spots in Chicago to visit that are worth braving the cold. Below is a list of five places to try this winter that are cozy-chic establishments not to be missed.
Summer House Santa Monica: The interior of Summer House is white, fresh and so bright that I find it most enjoyable in the winter time, for those days when it's dark and gloomy outside. Step into this Lincoln Park establishment and your whole mood will change. The menu is clean, serving many healthy items so you can keep that New Year resolution you made about eating better. My current obsession is the double-decker turkey burger that comes with pickles and 1000 island. It is melt-in-your-mouth amazing and you can scratch the bun if you are currently escaping from carbs. The french fries are amazing too - thinly cut, properly seasoned and perfectly fried. It is the place to cure your winter blues.
The Moonlighter: The Scofflaw Group recently opened Moonlighter, a casual beer bar in Logan Square serving burgers, each with a personality, and munchies like nachos and queso. It's a venue for a chill night out, where you can even get away with wearing your fave ripped T and a backwards hat and no one will judge you. It's cozy too, with a few fireplaces and tons of TV's to catch the Hawks game. You can always end the night at Scofflaw if you want to get a bit fancier as the night unfolds.
Maillard Tavern: The Piccolo Sogno team recently opened River West's newest burger bar located on Halsted. This hip spot is like a kid's burger joint, for adults. Serving double-stacked burgers, duck-fat fries, shakes and doughnuts, you can begin your meal with a fun cocktail, beer or wine. Maillard offers root beer floats too. Yum! It's also for walk-ins only, so for those spontaneous nights, it's a good place to begin when venturing out in the West Loop.
Arbella: A trendy cocktail lounge in River North, Arbella is the place to go for dressed-up drinks, small bites in an intimate ambiance. The spirit's list is quite inventive. Try cocktails like the PB&J-inspired 'Old-School' with infused jelly ice for something sweet or one of the house sours like a pisco or agave. Don't worry if you end up getting a bit tipsy, that's kind of the idea here, just order a few goodies to nosh on and you will fit right in.
Split Rail: Former Ada Street chef is making her dream come true by opening up her own joint in Humbolt Park. The menu will remind you of some childhood dishes that I'd say have graduated to adulthood like a baked potato gnocchi with bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese and potato skins. The ambiance is slightly industrial and absolutely unpretentious, and I hear the service is good too.
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