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Feb 11, 2007 06:43 PM

Wine Bar

My wife and I will be visiting Chicago next weekend - staying at the Hotel Monaco. Any recommendations for interesting wine bars?

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  1. Avec is always a nice choice and is a short cab ride from your hotel. I don't know if it's a wine bar in the technical sense of the word, but the food is great and they have a really interesting wine list.

    Also, a bit of a further cab ride, but I enjoy Websters Wine Bar.

    615 W Randolph St
    (312) 377-2002

    Webster's Wine Bar
    1480 W Webster

    1. I second the rec for Webster's.

      My other favorite wine bar is The Tasting Room (1415 W. Randolph).

      Between Webster's and The Tasting Room, The Tasting Room is closer to your hotel (still a cab ride away), but Webster's has a cozier atmosphere, and a wider menu of food. The Tasting Room is along a whole row a great restaurants on West Randolph (including Avec) if you want to eat first and then go there for a drink.

      1. If you're interested in considering restaurants with great wine lists, rather than places that are strictly wine bars, a good place to start is Wine Spectator Magazine. They have given their Award of Excellence to 94 restaurants in Illinois, and you can see the complete list here:
        Click on the column headings to sort by restaurant name, city, or award.

        You can use a web search engine to find the websites for most of the award-winning restaurants, and then check to see which of them show their wine lists on the website (quite a few do).

        1. second the recommendations for the tasting room and Avec
          I very much enjoy them both. Avec has in my opinion better food if you are looking to have a meal but it can become very crowded
          The tasting room runs some wonderful by the glass options and does half price on Monday or Tuesday (Check with them) and that is a great deal

          I went to Eno in the intercontinental hotel on Michigan Ave on Friday
          They serve wine cheese and chocolate only
          Very good cheese (I love the stuff) kind of expensive
          Wines by the glass around $17.00 but some very good options and a great staff full of information

          1. Bin 36 next to the House of Blues. They have lots of wines by the glass and you can buy a taste, a glass, or flights. They have a cheese bar, too.

            8 Replies
            1. re: PamelaD

              I'll second Bin 36. Good variety of wines, good range of price, with nothing on the lower end of price even tasting like it. Good cheeses. Can't vouch for dinner. And, if you sit at the bar, the bartenders are very pleasant/fun. We usually stop everytime we're in Chicago at least for one glass of wine.

              1. re: PamelaD

                I think the food at Bin 36 is mediocre, but the wine selection is not shabby.

                1. re: JoLi

                  Absolutely. Didn't mean to suggest otherwise. As I say, I'd rather sit at the bar, nibble and drink.

                2. re: PamelaD

                  Bin 36 is okay... but Bin Cafe is much better! Owned/Run/Managed by the same group, but Bin Cafe is less 'stuffy' and more warm/inviting!


                  1. re: Chicago Michele

                    Does Bin Cafe have little snacks to eat with your wine, or do you have to order a meal during the week? I just noticed their "Weekend Nosh," not anything about during the week.

                    1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                      Yes, they have smaller dishes, cheeses, etc. I definitely like Bin Cafe better than Bin 36, though the oysters at Bin 36 are quite nice.

                      1. re: leek

                        So is Bin Cafe a sit-at-the-bar type place vs. a restaurant setting?

                        1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                          Bin Cafe has a cafe. It was VERY good.