Need a German or Austrian spot for small reunion of older out-of-towners
All of us spent our Junior year abroad in Vienna in the late 60's, and I'm in charge of coordinating a small, informal gathering on a Friday in mid-October. This will be the night before a much larger, more formal event. I'm looking at either late Friday afternoon or early evening, and expect only around 15 or so people.
I've come up on my own with The Brauhaus and Resi's Bierstube as possibilities, but am open to other suggestions.
We'd like a place that's not crazy loud, as most of us haven't seen one another in 40 years and we'd like to be able to hear ourselves talk. An Old World atmosphere, along with German beer and food would be must haves.
We're all staying at hotels in the Loop or River North neighborhoods, so reasonable proximity to those area via cab would be preferred.
Danke schoen for any help or suggestions.
Resi's Bierstube Restaurant
2034 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618
Sadly, the popularity of German or Austrian restaurants has been on a steady decline in Chicago for some years now. Mirabell Restaurant (http://mirabellrestaurant.com/) is another consideration to what you've already learned. It's a bit out of the way, though - but reachable by taxi without difficulty. Chicago Brauhaus is very popular at the Oktoberfest time of year, with bands, lots of dancing and music, etc. (evenings) and it's easily reached. The food isn't 5 star, but I've never had a "bad" meal there and it's the kind of place where groups would have fun. I'd probably place Resi's Bierstube at the bottom of any list of German/Austrian restaurants.
>> Hard to know about the weather in mid-October.
True. The normal high in mid-October is in the low sixties. If it's above normal, it could be pleasant; below normal and most folks would feel chilly. Chicago doesn't really have a rainy season and a dry season, so on any particular day it's more likely that it won't rain but the possibility exists.
About the taxi ride: probably 20 minutes except in the most extreme of conditions (expressway accident, heavy snowfall) when it can be 30 minutes. I agree with the esstimate of cab fare, though - of about $20-25 for 4 to a car.
About the weather: 1) that can be a wonderful time of the year here in Chicago - often great weather. Sweather weather, maybe, 2) call the restaurant to see if the biergarten is open afternoons and not just evenings.
On weekdays, the traffic in Chicago starts getting heavy around 3 pm and starts easing up around 6 pm. The Kennedy (the expressway from downtown to the northwest) is one of the worst. If you're trying to get to the restaurant by 5:30-6:00, many days it will take you over 40 minutes, regardless of whether your cab driver takes the expressways or the local streets. If you don't need to be there till 7:00 or later, then it won't take as long.
You may want to read through these previous discussions for lots more recommendations:
>> How long a cab ride would Mirabell be from the hotels in River North?
From the Loop, it's roughly 4.5 miles north and 4.5 miles west. I would guess that a cab would cost around $20 each way and would take about 15-20 minutes in non-commuting hours and 40-60 minutes in commuting hours. As an alternative, for $2.25/person you can take the el (our subway); the restaurant is two blocks east of the CTA Blue Line stop at Addison.
As another possibility, rather than trying to recreate the cuisine and atmosphere of another time and place, you could consider some other cuisine that Chicago does very well. This could be anything from our creative provincial Mexican cuisine (at Frontera Grill, Salpicon, etc) to our local specialty of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (at Uno/Due, Pizano's, Lou Malnati's).