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Jun 6, 2007 06:50 AM

The Gage, Loop

After reading great reviews online I ate here yesterday (live out of town). Nice space, but one thing to keep in mind - the noise level is DEAFENING. I was in a side room, and not until I was finishing my meal around 1:45 could I hear myself think. That said, the space is very nice, and the service was good, given the throngs. I had chicken livers with a spicy mustard (very good), caesar salad (pretty good, not brilliant) and the salmon club. Wasn't too crazy about this, it was cold thin strips of salmon in a club format, would have preferred at least room temp and more flavorful fish. That said, the place will I am sure do well---LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Had dinner at Tuscany on Taylor Ave - enjoyed that quite a bit.

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  1. I like Gage. it is a great place before the symphony. I always asked to be seated in the back-anything else is too noisy. I have eaten there for both luch and dinner and the food and service are good. actually, somethings have been excellent. The mussels, for example were fresh and well cooked.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BarbaraM48

      I've been twice and enjoyed it. It's convenient to where my wife works. If you like that upscale pub concept (would you call it a gastropub, with so few beer selections?), there's also Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bisto in North Center (on Lincoln, just south of Irving Park).

      1. re: Dedalus

        Yep, beer list is skimpy. But I can get lots of good beers where I live, so not so much an issue. Guess mainly I am a huge fan of the Gage Group as buildings - we have enough upscale pub-things with good food and better beer options is Champaign!!

    2. I really enjoyed the food. We had some oysters which were excellent and a solid burger. The Gage was way too loud though. There are no soft surfaces (no curtains, rugs), and all tile, windows, mirrors, etc. Avoid the front of the restaurant. I would like to see what the tile floor looks like in February.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jacketpotato

        Ah....jacketpotato, definitely had plenty of those when I was in the Guess I just expected a little more of the food given all the hype.

      2. While visiting Chicago, we enjoyed the brunch so much we returned for lunch the next day. Granted, it was noisy, but the attentive, knowledgeable and friendly service more than made up for it. Tasty food and ample servings at reasonable prices; chicken livers, the fire-roasted chicken sandwich and the prime burger (cooked exactly as ordered) were standouts. The French toast is HUGE--and diabetics, beware! Only wish we could have tried dinner there, too.

        1. philly hound here... the quiet home of many gastropubs (therefore i am a big fan!)... i am coming to chicago next week and have plans to hit the gage with some area friends on monday. any specific dishes i might try? i eat fish and basic seafoods like shrimp, but that's about the only meat. we heard rumor there might be fish and chips? i love beers - any local ones on tap you recommend?

          7 Replies
          1. re: rabidog

            Yes they have F&Chips and I'd be interested in your take on them, since I haven't had them there yet. It's basically an Irish-themed pub, so I usually stick with their UK specialties for beer.

            1. re: rabidog

              If you want to get out of downtown, another big gastropub is the Hopleaf, in Andersonville, seven miles north of downtown. With your umpteen kinds of beers, they serve great moules et frites (mussels and fries).

              1. re: rabidog

                The Scotch Eggs were delicious, but include sausage. I'd definitely recommend them to any meat lover. I had the Semolina Dumplings which were good but a little dry. I also tried the home made sausage and Brie which was much better. FYI, the have menus on their web site if you are curious what they serve. The whole meal seemed a little overpriced to me, but it was good and very convenient. On my one visit the place was full and the noise level just fine. We had no problem having a long conversation during the meal.


                As far as local beers go, that has never been a strength of Chicago. There is Goose Island which makes good brews, but there are better options out there. For an excellent if limited selection (maybe 20 choices?) I often go to Brasserie Jo - a French restaurant in River North. The full beer list is on the menu on their web site.


                Hop Leaf was also an excellent recommendation, although its a little inconvenient from the Loop.

                Another old favorite of mine is The Pepper Canister on Wells St. They have a very interesting menu for a bar with a decent beer selection - Guiness and Stella on tap which I used to visit a lot. Menu is here.


                1. re: wak

                  Yes, Hop Leaf is not very convenient to the Loop. This particular visitor (rabidog) mentioned having a car here in another topic; in non-rush times, you can get there in 15-20 minutes, taking Lake Shore Drive to Foster. By public transit, figure 45-55 minutes, door-to-door; you can take the el to Berwyn and walk 10 minutes west, or take the #22 Clark Street bus all the way there (it's slow, lots of stops and Clark St is a very busy commercial street).

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    i think i just need more days in chicago. :)
                    i'll mention this to my local friends to see what they think about it - though they are heading to the neil young show afterwards so i think they picked this place because it was close. i'll report back in just over a week - after some fish n chips!

                    1. re: rabidog

                      The Gage does a nice version of fish and chips - a very nice crisp and non-oily crust and good quality cod. They say it has a Guinness batter, but I didn't find a noticeable Guinness flavor. I also like their curry sauce for the chips (you'll have to order that separately).

                      The Gage is a collaboration of a father and son who both own Irish pubs on the north side of the city -- the father owns Irish Oak near Wrigley Field and the son owns The Grafton in Lincoln Square. Of all three, I think you'll find the best food and best fish & chips at Irish Oak, but The Gage offers some very good food and a more upscale (but loud) atmosphere.

                      1. re: BRB

                        darn it, i lose. i met up with some friends at the gage just after 11pm... to find out their kitchen was closed down for the night!!! thanks for the excellent discussion, all - i'm going to make it a point to come back soon, and for LONGER this time!!

              2. I know I am marching to the beat of a different drumstick, but this place is way overrated. The noise level was painful in the bar, and intrusive in the back. The food was pretentious and overpriced, while our waiter had the personality of a used car saleman with a British accent. You can do better.