"Thalia Hall - Located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Thalia Hall was built in 1892 as a performance hall modeled after Prague’s Opera House. It’s been vacant since the ’60s, but was recently restored to its original glory and reimagined as a rustic event space."
"The restaurants we featured this week have all been open for well over a decade, which is multiple lifetimes you’re talking about a dining establishment. This is something I love about the Chicago dining scene. Despite the never-ending stream of new restaurants, there are still so many classics that have stuck around and continue to be strongly supported by the community."
- WTTW Check, Please!
"Motivating concertgoers, foodies, libation lovers and more to venture beyond the touristy downtown haunts, Thalia Hall includes a restored performance space, a beer-centric restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef, and an underground bar that specializes in, of all atypical cocktails, punch." - The Dallas News
"Thalia Hall sat empty for four decades before Craig Golden and Bruce Finkelman stepped up and decided to restore the once great community hall to its former glory. Their aim: to return Thalia Hall to its rightful place as a hub of the neighborhood, with a new restaurant, bar, and musical venue. " - Atlas Obscura
"With outposts in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Portland, Chicago seemed like the next logical location for the kitsch-happy Beauty Bar concept. Retrofitted into the old Sonotheque, the bar carried over the sound system but otherwise got a complete face-lift. Sparkling glitter paint adorns the walls, '60s beauty salon furniture acts as seating, and the backroom dance floor is completed with a shimmering disco ball. The music stays obscure and mostly dusty during the week, but DJs turn it into an electro dance party most weekends." - Time Out Chicago
"One of the big motivators for opening in Evanston instead of Chicago is because, well, that's where the owners live. A lot of their friends and co-horts have families and they wanted to provide a place in the community where they could come to experience culture and not have to venture into the city, which can be difficult once you have kids. But the main inspiration for SPACE was restoring the supportive art community of Evanston that they remember growing up with. "What's at the heart of the experience as far as we're concerned is the music," says Rosenberg." - Gapers Block
"A glorious dive of a basement bar in the same building as Best New Restaurant Dusek's, Punch House is a destination in its own right. As you might expect, punch is the thing here, served either old-school-style in a communal bowl (or a carafe) if you have a group -- but for the sake of trying more of them/possibly being lonely, you can also opt to go single-serving as all eight varieties they serve are kegged and tapped. The list's split evenly between classic centuries-old recipes and their own creations." - Thrillist
"Punch House’s cocktail list offers quaffable originals alongside classics. Space Juice for Jered (pictured), a mix of tequila, grapefruit juice, lime, Aperol, black pepper, sage, and sparkling wine, is a standout. Down a glass ($8) or get your thirsty crew to spring for a crystal bowl of it ($59)." - Chicago Magazine
"Chefs and restaurateurs dream of receiving Michelin stars (Chicago's star winners will be announced next week). Bib Gourmands designate very good restaurants that offer good value (the rule of thumb is two courses and a glass of wine for $40 or less), and while that's a very nice distinction, receiving a Bib Gourmand means the restaurant isn't getting any stars." - The Chicago Tribune
"Last year was an amazing one for Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie Ave., 773.276.7110), a year-old gastropub in Logan Square, on Chicago's near northwest side. Both Esquire ("ingenious, gutsy cooking") and GQ placed it on their lists for best new restaurants —Esquire also called it one of the best new bars. This November, L&E got a Michelin star — one of only 18 Chicago restaurants to get the nod." - Fast Code Design
"Chicagoans want food they can recognize and share—say, Ball jars of homemade pickles with thick Texas-toasty slices of sourdough—but also dishes that challenge them, such as sweet-salty matsutake mushroom risotto with pumpkin, soy-caramel chestnuts, and Asian pear relish. They crave things that satisfy (cheddar-stuffed pretzels with spicy beer mustard) and excite (barbecued shrimp and grits with a one-hour egg). And Chicagoans covet pig in countless guises: crispy pork shanks and garlic sausages and stacks of sliced artisanal ham, plus some crispy duck fat fries to split." - Chicago Magazine
"The industrious masterminds behind Longman & Eagle in Logan Square and Dusek’s in Pilsen have added another dining destination to their repertoire: the Promontory in Hyde Park. This handsome bi-level space features a music venue and a wood-burning hearth that turns out Jared Wentworth’s culinary creations." - Chicago Magazine
"There's a happy ending to the story that started with the utter lunacy of Prohibition. That ill-advised experiment was repealed in 1933, but the squeeze it put on local whiskey markets lasted for decades. Right up until this decade, pretty much, when enough states—everywhere from New York to Wisconsin to Oregon— eased up on the liquor laws enough to spark a new whiskey-making renaissance. Which is good for you (more choices) and good for stalwarts like Jack, Johnnie, and Jim (more of a reason to up their game). All told, there are at least twice as many whiskey distilleries in the United States today as there were just three years ago... " - GQ
"At 15 years, the space went from somewhat of a grungy teenager into a more grown-up older sibling. There's still a chalkboard displaying rotating daily features, but the space has a more aesthetically pleasing vibe, with refreshed exposed brick, plush counter seats that you literally sink into, black metal-topped counters, dangling pendants, white crown molding and loads of afternoon light from the large front windows." - The Chicago Eater
"A cornerstone of Chicago's indie scene for more than two decades, the Empty Bottle (in the Ukrainian Village area) is an intimate hall that has hosted the Strokes. Animal Collective, Modest Mouse and other superstars in the making. The stage and bar are in the back room; the front room has a pool table, pinball machines and a photo booth." - The Guardian
"With its plain brick facade and Old Style sign hanging out front, the 20-year-old Empty Bottle looks more like a plain Chicago townie bar than the city's most consistent punk-and-indie-rock club – not to mention the free jazz, skronky pop and other out-there genres it books. Chicago promoter Andy Cirzan calls the 400-capacity club "a kind of communal space for adventurous musicians and their fans." " - Rolling Stone