Beers, Beats, Eats, and Art in the West Loop of Chicago
Posted on August 07 2018
THEM : Wyd?
GRC : Between gramming the Infinite Mirror Room at #wndr museum, playing Frogger over beers at the new Emporium, and smashing down a Sourvein-themed gourmet burger in between? Everything!
Whether you are a first time tourist, regular visitor or local resident of Chicago, tune in for our thoughts on some of the dopest locales for beers, beats, eats, and art. Not far from the Grassroots Chicago store-front (515 N. Halsted), this is the ultimate West Loop itinerary for our G-Sprout fam and friends.
After visiting our Grassroots Chicago storefront, you leave the revered @vincentgordon and @jcrivera murals at our door, but are steps away from an incredible archive of Chicago Art.
The B_line is a mile-long street art corridor born from historic CNW railroad infrastructure in Chicago's old meatpacking district. There are over 200 mural walls, tunnels and outdoor gallery spaces that start on Hubbard street behind the Blommer Chocolate Factory. It all began when Ricardo Alonzo founded "The Chicago Gallery" in 1971, but the project recently relaunched. On the line, you can find pieces by many artists, including several that Grassroots has worked with, such as Sickfisher, JunkYard, Suburban Warrior, Bruno Smoky and more. Artists from out of town travel to Chicago just to make their mark on Hubbard street.
This pop-up gallery is about to open in the West Loop! The WNDR Museum is hosting the Infinite Mirror Room and tickets are nearly sold out for the first two weekends. We're definitely trying to immerse ourselves in Yayoi Kusama's full-blown mirror experience here in Chicago! The museum is rumored to be set up into two parts: the micro- and macro- scales of life. The result? Infinity. Reserve your time slot to check it out in person or follow over on Instagram.
Beers & Drinks
Whew... you made it! You're now standing somewhere between the Metra and Green/Pink Line stops, hungry, thirsty, and ready to cool off. Let us suggest some of our top spots for dinner and libations with your besties...
Ballast Point Brewing Chicago is tucked away at 212 N Green St and mimics the west coast's finest. This brewpub features over 30 beers on tap and a menu worth boasting about. With seat-yourself seating, an open store-front, and huge bar space to taste and talk, this place provides a classy spot to hang out with friends, celebrate special occasions, and enjoy designer brews. While there, check out Paul Elder's artwork, Ballast Point's official artist who designs the beer labels and the sea artwork featured at every Ballast Point locations.
Goose Island Brewing Company
Goose Island Brew Co started in Chicago when founder John Hall began brewing his own craft beer in 1988. Fast forward to 1995, he opened his first brewery which is now the present day Brewery and Tap Room. Not only can you tour the brewery and learn about the brewing process, you can also taste some of the freshest beers! Tours are $12/person, includes tastings and a custom pint glass, and lasts about 1 hour. Schedule your tour here! Else, just stop by to hang out in their on-site bar, the Tap Room.
Emporium Fulton Market
Wanna play a game? Feeling nostalgic for pinball, pool, foosball and the days of running around an arcade with your friends? With multiple locations throughout the city, the Emporium is Chicago's arcade bar, AKA the place to get your fix on all things arcade while also enjoying adult beverages. This new hot spot features classic games such as NFL Blitz, Pacman, Frogger, Air Hockey and more. In the summertime, you can play corn-hole in their outdoor section. You can also book your next event at Emporium!
Dinner & Eats
Located right next door to Grassroots Chicago, Cafe Iguana is the place to go if you are looking for authentic European taste and ambiance. The original Iguana Cafe was founded in 1998 in Sparta, Greece but relocated to Chicago in 2000. They serve up crepes, pasta, sandwiches, cocktails and coffee drinks. Food is served quick, but it is nonetheless delicious and fresh.
Kuma's Corner's new West Loop location is not only on the same block as Emporium and Gus' Fried Chicken, it is also a classy, metal-themed neighborhood bar and restaurant. Complete with outdoor seating, Kuma's Corner offers over thirty beers and ciders on tap and features an incredible menu selection. From appetizers such as Mac n Cheese and BBQ Pork Fries to their extensive Burger menu, each name is appropriately tied to a metal band or song. We highly recommend you bring a date or group of friends on an evening during the week or make a reservation ahead for the weekend. Check out their Burger of the Month here!
Gus's Fried Chicken
Gus's is the place to go for hot and spicy family-style fried chicken, right in the heart of the Fulton Market District. Food is served up quick with a slice of white bread comes with every plate, to pay homage to the original makers who started the restaurant in Tennessee, who served the fried chicken between two slices of white bread. With over 25 locations throughout the country, this is the only one in Illinois.
Cemitas Pueblas is a family-owned business specializing in Poblano foods, located down the block from Gus's on Fulton. Rolls covered in sesame are baked on site every day with a recipe that can be traced all the way back to Puebla, Mexico. They use only the freshest ingredients, such as hand-pulled Oaxacan cheese, adobo chipotle peppers, avocado, meats and papalo greens. Cemitas is a unique sandwich full of vibrant flavor that tastes best freshly served.
Blommer Chocolate Company
If you ever wonder why smells of chocolate waft through the West Loop, the Blommer Chocolate factory is who to thank. Blommer's is the largest cocoa processor and ingredient supplier in North America. They don't usually give tours of the factory, but they do have a little shop to satisfy that chocolate craving open Monday through Saturday.
After a trip down memory lane (and a few more drinks), you're ready to hit the dance floor! Not only is Grassroots Chicago occasionally a venue for local artists like Pvpabear, Treepeoh, Sound Shepherd and others; here's where we recommend you go to catch some awesome sets and get down!
Down the street from Grassroots Chicago on Halsted St. is the Mid, which is one of Chicago's premier venues for electronic music. The space is decked with disco balls, the main floor, and a balcony level to experience the beats from above. You can also reserve a table for special occasions. View their calendar of events here!
Bottom Lounge is a music hall, restaurant, place to watch the Blackhawks and offers space for private parties. They also offer a free bus to and from the United Center on game days. Anyone from Sunsquabi to Umphrey's McGee and "Cash Me Outside" girl, Danielle Bregoli, has performed there. This is a great spot for festival afters as well as great shows by jam bands and musicians.
Public transportation is one of the greatest tools for locals and visitors alike in Chicago. Grassroots Chicago, and the West Loop, in general, can be traveled to via CTA train and bus as well as the Metra.