Any time there is a Chicago game on, Union Ale House is packed with people cheering on their favorite team. But when games have concluded, the bar resumes its daily alter ego as a good spot to grab a pint and a meal. The house chefs cook up a range of classic hearty dishes, from ribs and pizza to wings and build-your-own burgers, and the bartenders serve up pints of craft beers from around the country as well as a few local beer options.
Basketball games light up a large projection screen at the front of the bar, echoing the dynamic displays seen on nearby flat-screen TVs above the heads of diners eating burgers and sipping beers at a wraparound bar. The kitchen serves up American-style comfort food and pub favorites, including steak sandwiches, Reubens, pasta, and burgers. Thin crust-pizzas include the buffalo pizza, the hawaiian pizza, and the double-meat Fiesta pizza, on which bacon, pepperoni, and sausage accompany onion, mushrooms, and green peppers.
An unassuming strip-mall storefront belies Retro Bistro?s cozy dining room, where wall murals painted by a local artist and white-draped tables set the scene for elegant French and Tuscan cuisine. The menu, which pleased Zagat's tasters, balances upscale plates of seared foie gras or wasabi-crusted ahi tuna with more casual options, including sandwiches and Alsatian-style flamb?ed pizzas.
?I think that?s what people realize when they get here?how affordable it can be to get out for dinner,? said Christopher Barth, who owns the bistro along with his wife, Lorraine. ?We have so many regulars.?
Lorraine cites the pair?s love of food, people, and wine as the passion behind their business, and the amply stocked wine list features plenty of budget-friendly bottles, as well as reserve vintages to toast special occasions, such as an engagement or a pi?ata making it to retirement. The eatery?s bar and lounge area also facilitates revelry, as mixologists blend specialty martinis with a focus on fruit-infused and chocolate-flavored options.
Food has found a good home at Emerson’s Ale House. Here, chefs present half-pound burgers with pretzel buns and their very own beer pairings—the Smoke House burger with manchego cheese and pulled pork pairs with Rogue Dead Guy ale, for example, and the Roy-Ale burger with fried egg, smoked bacon, and English cheddar lines up nicely with Three Floyds' Robert the Bruce. To char-grilled salmon they add a side of dirty rice; to braised short ribs, garlic smashed potatoes. And they grant their desserts—chocolate-crepe cake, bread pudding, and Chicago-style raspberry cheesecake—the power to satisfy two diners at once, even if both are very upset about a failed attempt to gerrymander their foe’s sock drawer.
Emerson's TV collection helps patrons take in the game with friends, and its complimentary bacon bar provides the opportunity to see if bacon still tastes like bacon. Because liquor bottles only prosper when they're close to other liquor bottles, Emerson's has wisely grouped them all together behind the bar, where they huddle in wait before getting all mixed up inside your glass.
For more than 20 years, Photo's Hotdogs has been batting away hunger with a menu of classic handheld eats. The eatery's signature hot dog arrives dressed in true Chicago-style wearing an appetizing ensemble of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, hot peppers, spats, and a pickle. Guests with a larger-than-life appetite can feast upon a Monster burger stacked high with two beef patties, mozzarella and american cheese, bacon, and grilled onions, or learn to munch in another language by sinking denti into a classic italian beef sandwich. Photo’s also ups the ante on its roster of classic American fare with more inventive menu selections such as Alaskan salmon burgers, fish tacos, and grilled turkey burgers.
In the kitchen of El Sombrero Restaurant, Chef Ignacio "Nacho" Suchil prepares Mexican favorites such as big burritos, corn-tortilla enchiladas, and fish tacos made with icelandic cod and lime. While live music plays in the dining room, he splashes housemade creole sauce onto grilled shrimp and tosses skirt steaks onto blazing grills. El Sombrero Restaurant augments its eats with a game room, outdoor seating, and a lunch buffet on Wednesdays and Fridays. They even have an app for ordering food available on Android and IOS.