In the name of helping you make the most of your Lollapalooza experience, we’ve partnered with local in-the-know outlet Do312 to bring you a weekly guide to some of Chicago’s best spots. Last week, Psalm One – aka Hologram Kizzie – told you how to make the most of the Lolla crowds and this week, Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins tells you where to go to unwind, chill out and discover some of Chicago’s hidden gems.
Jill Hopkins is the host of the Mixtape on Chicago’s Vocalo radio (89.5FM, 90.7FM), every Monday through Thursday from 10am-noon. She’s also a member of the bands Cooler By the Lake, Girl Group Chicago, and Satan’s Boner. Catch her on the radio, at a show, or on a barstool near you.
The Brown Sack
Tucked away in the western part of the Logan Square neighborhood, this sandwich and shake shop is the capitol ‘J’ Jam. I’m ALWAYS hungry, and this place delivers literally and figuratively. You guys, they have a sandwich called The BLAST that is shrimp and avocado on a BLT. Did you hear me? A SHRIMP BLT! It goes great with their spicy cabbage apple slaw and a banana smoothie. It’s a small operation owned by the nicest hippies this side of Six Corners, so support their local biz if you can.
Pleasant House Bakery/Maria’s Packaged Goods
SOUTH SIIIIIIIDE!!! As if Maria’s wasn’t a great bar on its own, with it’s killer selection of whiskeys and craft beer (the beer is available for carry out, lushes!), they went and put in a British style pasty and royal pie shop next door. Buttery crusts filled with savory fillings go REALLY well with ice cold beer. I did the research. It adds up. Get the steak and ale pie and pair it with an English style brown beer, or even a medium bodied golden ale and wonder what the poor people might be doing right now.
Dr. J’s Place
On Monday, after the festival has chewed you up and spit you out, go to Dr. J’s and hang out with some grown folks. There’s always great soul music to be heard at this old school dive. And if you’re lucky, Mike T will have made some food for you to enjoy while he slings drinks your way. Be aware that shenanigans will not be tolerated, so put on your big boy pants before you come a-knockin’.
The hidden gem of Logan Square is perhaps the polar opposite of Lollapalooza, and that’s a good thing. Chicago’s most under-appreciated blues club is no slouch when it comes to the caliber of their entertainment. You can’t go around wearing a Black Keys tshirt and not come out to see the men and women who wrote the riffs Dan and Patrick pay homage to. Get in here and learn, Young Buck.
Miko’s Italian Ice
Blink and you’ll miss this storefront spot that dishes out handmade Italian ice in crazy flavors and colors that’ll make the outfit you wore to Lolla look like the outfit you wore to Riot Fest. Mango is my favorite, but I’ve never had one I didn’t like. It’s hot out, you need something frozen. Don’t be stupid.
The Garfield Park Conservatory
I’m a city girl, and always have been. That being said, sometimes I need some frickin’ nature in my life. Since going out of town to the sticks isn’t always an option, the Garfield Park Conservatory is a terrific substitute. Learn about exotic plants while getting some oxygen that isn’t also car exhaust. It’s summer, so it probably won’t be as crowded as it is when everyone has Seasonal Affective Disorder. Take pictures, bring a notebook and pretend you’re Henry David Thoreau.