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Just a perch at a bar

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Ciao,

I'll be in Chicago the next week for an externship (living/working in the loop) and was hoping someone could point me to a couple of places with tasty vegetarian small dishes (of whatever cuisine) and a bar or attitude comfortable enough for a college girl to sit back and watch life for a while. Places that have kick-ass olives and/or interesting, crafted cocktails get gold stars. Nothing ridiculously expensive, but I'm willing to go out on the town at least once while I'm there. Thanks!

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  1. Since you like the Italian greeting, I suggest you check out Quartino (State and Ontario) which is exactly what you're describing --sit in the bar to the left behind the host stand. You may also enjoy Bin 36 next to House of Blues that will fit your criterea. Enjoy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jbontario

      Ditto Quartino. Bar's open late and they have a great assortment of small plate offerings.

      1. re: ferret

        Definitely Quartino!!

      2. re: jbontario

        Yup, Quartino ( www.quartinochicago.com ) and Bin 36 ( www.bin36.com ) are good recommendations. So are Cafe Iberico ( www.cafeiberico.com ), for Spanish tapas, and Avec ( www.avecrestaurant.com ), for Mediterranean small dishes. Note that Avec features communal seating; the restaurant has 5-10 bar stools and another half dozen eight-tops, so it's expected that you'll be seated with people you don't know, and everyone's friendly (usually). Beware long waits at all of these places on prime times on weekends.

      3. Thanks so much! I may have to wine and dine myself more than once, given the choices. Any thoughts on Mercat a la Planxa? I'm coming from Philly, which is well decorated by Garces restaurants, but the menu seems enticing.