Monday, July 24, 2006

Exploring Chicago Neighborhoods: Andersonville

I've decided that it would be fun to do a write-up of the different neighborhoods on Chicago. Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods. Each one of them has their own flavor and deserves to be recognized. For my first neighborhood write-up, I'm going to feature Andersonville.

Andersonville is located around the 5000 block of N. Clark. The best eL stops to take to the neighborhood include Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stops. My friend and I went there this weekend primarily to see my hairdresser's friend host a Drag Show at @mosphere. However, I had heard about this bar called Hopleaf that was known for having a terrific selection of Belgian beers. It was also featured on a local tv show called "Check, Please" where local Chicagoians review their favorite restaurants. So we had a plan--dinner at Hopleaf and Drag show at @mosphere.

We jumped on the 22 Clark Bus and took it to Clark and Foster. I immediately noticed the charming strip that the normally uninteresting Clark St. had become. The streets were lined with lightposts. The businesses were a mix of local cafes, bars, bakeries, stores, art galleries, and the Swedish-American Museum. I saw roughly 8 restaurants that I added to my "Must Dine" list. We had the opportunity to browse through a local art gallery. The art was tasteful and interesting. It definitely would provoke discussion but not for being completely vulgar.The stores ranged from boutique type establishments to local groceries where you could stock up on your Swedish delicacies. It did not feel like I was in Chicago, but rather in a charming small town.

Hopleaf was easy to find, with the lively crowd leading us to the modest storefront. Hopleaf offers a large variety of not just Belgian beers, but other beers, wines and a full service var (no Red Bull though!). Their menu, while small offered some tasty choices. Among the dishes tried were the Goat Cheese Macaroni and the Rainbow Trout with a Summer Veggie Pancake, Peas, and Corn. Both dishes were extremely tasty, although we had to ask for a new Pancake as the first one that came out was burnt. The staff remedied the situation quickly and did so with a smile. I highly recommend the trek up to Andersonville, even if all you do is go to Hopleaf.

@mosphere was a lot of fun. It was definitely a lot more welcoming than the other gay bars I've visited in Boystown. I always felt like people went to Andersonville did so when they outgrew Boystown. The Drag show was small but fun :)

I cannot wait to revisit Andersonville and explore more of the local neighborhood flavor. For my next review, I will go east of Andersonville to Uptown!

If there is something specific you would like for me to review, please let me know by leaving a comment!


Andie said...

i don't know if it would ever be in your budget, but my husband went on a business trip to Chicago, and by some miracle, he had dinner at a restaurant called Charlie Trotter's.

If you EVER get to go there, I'd love to hear your take on it.

Loved hearing about your exploration of the local neighborhoods. I've never been to chicago, so I'm making mental notes for when I get there! :)

GatorGirlintheCity said...

I've never been to Trotter's but hear it is AMAZING!! I have been to Tru which is right up there and it was spectacular!

Andie said...

Yeah, my husband said his meal was like $300!!! just for him!

I told him if we go to Chicago, I wanna go there! :)

GatorGirlintheCity said...

Tell him to take you to Trotter's and to book at room at the Peninsula Hotel or Park Hyatt. Jennifer Aniston stays at the first place; Bono stays at the 2nd!

Andie said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm always up for star-gazing!!! ;)

blogqueer said...

My partner and I loved Andersonville when we were there last week for the gay games. It was more "menstown" than "boystown" and the local shops and greystone neighborhoods were amazing. We have considered moving there if we do not move to our first choice NYC after Christmas. We are in Arkansas ready to leave it in the rearview mirror, never to return. What part of the south did you flee from?

blogqueer said...

Duh, Nevermind, I'm guessing Atlanta since you mention the Braves in your header. :-)

GatorGirlintheCity said...

I'm from NE Florida...the only part of Florida that is still Southern!