Cheap eats and good beer
Jake Melnicks downtown for great burgers, skirt steak, popcorn shrimp, grilled Latin style chicken wings, and of course beer and a friendly crowd.
Dublins in the downtown Goldcoast serves great bar food in a pub atmosphere. Lots of locals here.
Blue Agave downtown has a large bar area with a boisterous late night crowd, a few decent dishes and decent margaritas.
The Green Door Tavern recommendation is fine except for the food...it's terrible. Garreth Woods jams here on Fridays.
Wednesday's at, "The Grand Central", on Wrightwood in the Lakeview neighborhood serves half priced hearty appetizers. Very good bar food and decent beer selection. Young sports crowd here.
Four Farthings in the Lincoln Park neighborhood serves very good bar food and great beer selection.
The Map Room on Armitage Avenue in the Bucktown neighborhood is one of the very best pubs around. Free catered food on Tuesdays.
The Hopleaf in the Andersonville neighborhood has an amazing Belgian Beer selection and a great Belgian Style Bar menu. Great upstairs bar as well and cool neighborhood.
Coobah on Southport in the Lakeview neighborhood serves great Cuban inspired food in a trendy bar atmosphere.
Portillo's for Italian Beef's, Italian sausage, barbacue ribs & chicken, Chicago Style hot dogs, and beer, in a very casual atmosphere. Great fast food chain! This place would thrive anywhere in the US!
Tapatio Taberna in Lakeview for a contempory spin on small plates Mexican food.
Cafe Iberico on LaSalle Street just south of Chicago Avenue for dirt cheap tapas in the bar area.
TPAPA... you know what to do...
Try the Clark Street Ale House on Clark just south of Chicago. You can get an incredible hamburger or hot dog at the place right across the street and bring it in.
The Ale House has a tremendous lineup of microbrews... not the very best in Chicago, but one of the best, and certainly the best beer selection by far in the area you are staying (River North). Enjoy.
Pepper Canister - 509 N. Wells. Excellent pub/bar food. High quality beer on tap (Guiness, Stella, etc) No web site, but to see menu, go to the following link and click the "View Menu" icon in the middle. http://www.restaurantrow.com/moreinfo.cfm?code=861466&state=IL
Coco Pazzo Cafe - 636 N St. Clair. Very good causal Italian. http://www.cocopazzocafe.com/
Iberico - 739 N Lasalle. Spanish Tapas. http://www.cafeiberico.com/
Bin 36 - 339 N. Dearborn. Contemporary American. Area in front is casual. More formal dining in the back. As you might guess from the name, more a place to drink wine than order beer. http://www.bin36.com/index.php
There isn't much that's cheap in River North.
Star of Siam (State and Illinois)- good, cheap Thai food. Can't vouch for the beer.
Rock Bottom Brewery (State and Grand) - the food is only OK, but they brew their own beer. Also, tons of TVs for watching the sporting event of your choice.
Oysy (Grand, east of Wabash) - good sushi, that is relatively inexpensive for sushi.
Naniwa (Ohio and Wells) - better, even cheaper (I think) sushi than Oysy, but a little further away.