I am going on a trip from Los Angeles to Chicago to New york. The purpose of this trip is to visit as many wine bars and restaurants with good wine programs as possible. Ive heard of Bin 36 and trotters but can anyone give me some more names. We have 4 days in Chicago and are going for the sole purpose of exploration. Thanks
Try any or all of the following. Bistro Ultra is a particular favorite. Enjoy
Beviamo Wine Bar
1358 W. Taylor St.
2239 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago
French, American Contemporary/Regional.
Dinner: seven days.
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11.
Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar
546 N. Wells St., Chicago, (312) 467-0546.
French. Lunch, dinner: Tues-Sat. Closed Sun, Mon
Webster's Wine Bar
1480 W. Webster, Chicago, (773) 868-0608.
American. Dinner: seven days.
Open late: Saturday till 3, other nights till 2.
We love Webster's Wine bar (listed already) and I have been to Bin 36 (overpriced yet trendy and impersonal :) and also like Pops for Champagne, which has live music and an awesome champagne list. If you get there before the music starts you sometimes avoid paying the cover :)
Pops for Champagne
2934 N. Sheffield Ave.
Finally, we haven't been there, but people have recommended this place (it's connected to a wine shop)
The Tasting Room
1415 W. Randolph St.
I can see how Bin 36 (339 N Dearborn) could be described as trendy and impersonal; the first time I went I almost didnt go in because that was my immediate first impression. I now like the place a lot and visit frequently.
For the best experience here are a few tips. It is essential to sit at the bar. You wont have a chance to discuss and sample if you sit at the tables. Go at off hours. If you show up Friday at 8pm you wont get much personal attention. Discuss what you want and what you thought of your last glass. A couple of the most knowledgeable bartenders have left but some still know their stuff. Try to talk with Brian, the wine manager. The main menu lists the 50 wines they are serving by the glass. Theres also a dessert wine list as well as a bottle list. They usually have a few other bottles open so dont forget to ask.
Another place to try might be the Hudson Club (504 N Wells). I really dont like this place at all but they do have 100 wines by the glass. I havent been for a while and have heard its not quite the hotspot it used to be which might make it a little more tolerable. Im pretty sure its still the biggest by-the-glass selection, including some good stuff, so its definitely worth a look.
Ive only been to the Tasting Room once but will probably give it another try (the words overpriced, trendy, and impersonal come to mind!). An interesting wine list and spectacular views of the skyline upstairs. I think they may still have half-price Mondays.
You know about Sams Wine (1720 N Marcey), dont you? By far the biggest and best wine store in the city.