With its well-bred, east coast feel, Weather Mark seems fitting of a madras plaid-clad clientele rather than an authentically waterlogged crew; but, all are welcome aboard at this friendly nautical-theme spot in the South Loop. The bar and restaurant, named for one of three points on a sailboat race course, is manned by friends with a stern soft-spot for Chicago's nautical history and community-centric culture. The home crew rigged the place with hardwood floors, sea-blue walls and booth dividers crafted from sailcloth to give the lofty dining room a whimsical feel. For the menu, however, they got decidedly serious.
Appetizers like the venison-sausage-and-blue-corn-batter "corn dogs" or the duck nachos make a proper snack, and the black bean soup with queso fresco hits the mark. Entrees ($15-$20) include roasted scallops with asparagus ragout or filet mignon with coffee barbecue sauce and a potato spring roll, as well as breezier options like a summer berry salad with glazed pecans and crisp prosciutto. On weekends, indulge in Weather Mark’s brunch offerings of grilled-banana-stuffed French toast or Southwestern eggs Benedict; wash it all down the hatch with $5 bloody marys.
The bar prides itself on its selection of rum, extending far beyond perennial sailor favorite Mount Gay with many international selections. A bevy of sea-themed cocktails like Three Sheets to the Wind (a mix of Patron tequila, Grand Marnier, Absolut Citron and lemonade) might drain your land legs. Try to keep one eye open for its weeknight specials; while the tavern can get pricey, it has an extensive list of cheaper options. A Lincoln will get you a burger and a pint on Mondays; $2 domestic bottles and .25 cent wings rule on Tuesdays; select wine bottles are 50-percent-off on Wednesdays and rum drinks cost half-price on Thursdays, when the bar hosts live, cover-free jazz.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Libby Ramer