City Hardware's inventory of about 20,000 brand name and independent home-improvement gizmos equips neighborhood handymen for a massive range of tasks. Experienced staff presides over LED flashlights ($5.99+), gallons of paint ($19.99+), and tool kits ($16.99+). Bags of garden soil ($3.49+) fuel agricultural endeavors or attempts to make mole dinner guests feel more at home. City Hardware also offers on-site services, including paint-color matching and key cutting.
The chefs at Lock & Keel Tavern value simplicity. Rather than fry or grill meats, they smoke each cut before incorporating it into barbecue sandwiches and variations of classic pub food. Alongside hickory-smoked pulled-pork sandwiches and hand-shredded chicken seasoned with house spices, the culinary team whips up homemade voodoo chili and four varieties of mac and cheese. Twelve beers on tap—eight of which come from local brewers—complement their no-frills chow. Feasts unfold on the outdoor patio or in a dining room with exposed brick walls and four plasma televisions that broadcast football, hockey, and competitive knot-tying. Pool tables, a jukebox, and WiFi help pass the time until Lock & Keel closes at 2 a.m.
Countless do-it-yourself projects would never have seen the light of day were it not for Aurora Rents—gardens would remain untended, furniture unsanded, bedrooms unpainted. Luckily, the locally owned and operated business has rented tools and equipment—all properly cared for—to northwestern craftspeople for 50 years. Equally as vital, each employee carries industry expertise around in his or her tool belt, and delights in providing insights, safety tips, and techniques for refinishing floors or shellacking homemade Trojan horses.