There's so much going on near this stop that it can be hard to pick a direction (there are six ways you can go, after all). Hopefully, this list will help narrow it down.
Best of the nightlife
For nighttime eyes, it's hard to spot the paint-chipped "Danny's" in the dimly lit front window. Instead, you need to keep your eyes peeled for the Schlitz sign that hangs overhead at this beloved Bucktown bar. Candlelit tables dot the rooms in this converted house, outfitted with barstools, booth seats, tables and chairs, ottomans and couches. Palpable moods fill the rooms, where both animated and sullen faces alike can coexist without much tension; this place seeks to fulfill multiple needs for friendships, drinking and thinking. Many artists, DJs and musicians add the best touches to the Danny's community, including the sounds of reggae, soul and electronica and the sights of video projections and installation pieces Behind the bar waits an affordable variety of liquor and a tap that pours Boddington's. If all of these things don't make you plainly happy for a night, then surely just one will.
Good for groups
These people know what Chicago people want, starting with a chic but chill place to hang. Located within a hundred-year old Victorian building, People Lounge features faux-painted walls in caramel-latte hues, wrought iron chandeliers lit up with candles and a 30-foot bar made of rustic oak. A few communal tables await the pile-up of tapas plates, so order up a few rounds of gambas a la plancha and calamari frito and prepare to start passing. None of the tapas selections top $12 and most dishes ring in at about $8. The bar features an international roster of beers that focuses on Belgian breweries: look for Piraat Amber Triple IPA and strong golden ale Delirium Tremens. To get back to Spain, the drink list also offers white and red sangria. Expect a similarly exotic buffet of music, from bossa nova to acid jazz.
This tiny Wicker Park taco joint is popular with neighborhood club–goers for good reasons: The prices are low (most menu items are between $2 and $7) and the hours are sinfully late (until 6 a.m. most nights). The tacos and burritos are both good deals and pretty tasty. Try the lengua (beef tongue) if you’re hankering for more of an authentic meal. But be warned: The meat's a bit tough and probably not comparable to most neighborhood taquerias. If a night of dancing and boozing has left you famished, the plates offer variety and more dinner for your dollar, or at the very least, more rice.
Where to chill
Caffe De Luca
How many places can you go where you can simultaneously satisfy cravings for espresso, Italian beef and cocktails? This multi-tasking coffeehouse offers a vast list of snacks, from homemade zuppa and cichetti (Venetian bar snacks) to more substantial pizzas and paninis. Of course, it's also an early night spot, with specialty martinis, Italian wine and coffee cocktails galore.
Regulars and meticulous first-timers love Myopic's sizeable fiction section, so thorough that it carries titles unheard of in mainstreams like Borders and Barnes & Noble. Not far behind are Myopic’s deep history and biography collections. Yet its claim to fame might be the fact that it's open until 1 a.m. nightly (except Sundays). Other loveable quirks include live experimental music Monday nights, monthly art installations, a lithe store cat, and a "geek" section featuring comics, graphic novels, occult and Star Trek-worthy reads.
Explore more neighborhoods and train stops with our Virtual L navigator.