Might not be entirely food-centric, though we are really looking for something to accompany our meal at El Ideas. We need a decent wine shop to pick up some wine for our meal. We are staying at the Intercontinental Chicago at 505 N. Michigan Ave. I don't mind a bit of a drive, but we're looking at cabs/uber most of the way (if not the whole way), so nearer is better. Any suggestions?
UnCork It is only about three blocks east of your hotel and has a decent selection (http://www.uncorkitchicago.com/). Fox & Obel, on the corner across from Uncork-It, used to have a guy who was pretty knowledgable making picks, but the business has been struggling and I haven't been back in almost a year.
Binny's has a location about one block north and 7 blocks west from your hotel. That's the local liquor store chain with a pretty good selection, and that particular location has a manager who knows his wines.
Enjoy EL Ideas. For picking bottles, I enjoyed what they recommend on their site (http://elideas.com/faq/) plus a couple of tipbits about the current menu when they called.
There's a Binny's on Grand Ave about 6 blocks West of Michigan Ave to which you can walk. The "big" Binny's is over in West Lincoln Parking shopping area on North Ave and Sheffield. There are a ton of knowledgeable people there. I am an eonophile and always choose Binny's over the smaller shops as they get the best treatment from the boutique (as well as big) wineries. For example, in the bourbon world, binny's is able to have many of the distilliries create special blends for them.
Binny's on Grand is probably your best bet in the area. If you want to drive over to their "big" store you can but it seems to be its just bigger. It is nothing like it was when it was Sam's, IMHO.