Noble Square Recs?
I'm moving to the Noble Square area. Does anyone have a recommendations for places to check out once we're in the neighborhood? Any kind of cuisine is great, and I'm a beer guy so would love to find my next hole-in-the-wall neighborhood bar with some good craft beers.
Chip Inn should suit you pretty well - 832 N. Greenview. It's a better beer list than I'd expect and definitely counts as a hole-in-the-wall. Very friendly regulars. Twisted Spoke, not too far south of Noble Square proper at 501 N. Ogden, has an amazing taplist though the service can be a little slow. Decent food, though, if you stick to burgers/spicy chicken sandwiches. Coalfire is just West of Twisted Spoke (1321 W. Grand) if you want great, Neapolitan-style pizza.
Moving north into Wicker Park/Ukranian Village, check out SmallBar (2049 W. Division). Food menu was recenly overhauled to focus more on local/seasonal offerings to good results. Their draft offerings are excellent, too, with plenty of limited/rare kegs in addition to more regular offerings from loca/regional breweries. One of the few bars that consistently get Gumball Head. SmallBar is also known for being a good place to watch soccer - if there's a big match going on, it will be on their tv's there, not to mention a huge crowd (I've been surprised a few times and SmallBar can go from quiet to packed pretty quickly).
Living in Noble Square also puts you in a great position to visit some of the city's brewpubs, too. My first stop would be Revolution in Logan Square (2323 N. Milwaukee, just off the California blue line stop). I think they're best overall brewpub in the city right now with a variety of great beer and well-made food, too. Piece, in Wicker Park at 1927 W. North Ave., is around the corner from the Damen stop and also makes great beer in-house. Food is limited to pizza (New Haven style). Plenty of tv's make Piece a fun place to watch games, too.
Not a restaurant (though you can buy soups and sandwiches) but Butcher & Larder (1026 N. Milwaukee) is one of the best things to happen to the neighborhood in a long time. Owned by the former chef at Mado (Rob Levitt), this butcher shop sources whole animals from local farms. The staff is always friendly and willing to offer up suggestions in case the cut I'm after is already gone (if there's a downside to whole animals is that there are only so many racks of lamb they can sell in one week). Their sausages are amazing and they do a really nice job with charcuterie, as well.
Other highlights for me include Hoosier Mama (dessert and savory pies, somtimes scones and muffins, too, 1618 1/2 W. Chicago), Swim Cafe (tiny coffee shop, good for a quick sandwich or a light salad, 1357 W. Chicago) and Arami (some of the best sushi I've ever had, 1829 W. Chicago).
501 N Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
1321 W Grand Ave Ste 2, Chicago, IL 60642
1647 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
1829 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
In that area, it seems as though names like Noble Square, West Town, and Wicker Park are sometimes used interchangeably, so you might want to consider searching on all those names (as well as Bucktown, just to the north) when looking for nearby recommendations. Also, so many places are located along the stretch of Chicago Avenue west of the Kennedy that you can just take a walk down the street and look at the menus posted outside such places as Mexique, Green Zebra, West Town Tavern, Flo, Branch 27, and Leopold. Also add Ruxbin Kitchen on Ashland and Podhalanka on Division.
West Town Tavern
1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
1460 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60622
1549 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642
1434 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
1371 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642