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Virtual L: Belmont (Blue)

Explore the less-traveled paths of one of Chicago's friendliest 'hoods.
Tuesday Apr 06, 2010.     By Centerstage Chicago Staff
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Despite popular opinion, life in Avondale does not begin and end with the awesome eats at Kuma's Corner and Hot Doug's. Hop on the Blue Line for a taste of what else is going on in this heavily Polish 'hood - no two-hour wait necessary.

Best of the nightlife
Late Bar

Open until 5am on Saturdays, this spot (from the folks behind the popular Planet Earth events) lives up to its name. Comparisons have been drawn between the crowd at Late Bar and other aspects of Chicago nightlife past and present, from the bearded, long-haired partiers at Neo to the late-night gutterpunkers of the former all-ages club Medusa's. All we know is that you'll find great music, from new wave to vintage rock, spun here nearly every night of the week.

Good for groups
Alice's Lounge

This bar brings in a wide range of folks interested in four things: cheap beer, friendly service, friendly patrons and karaoke. You may not be able to find a table on Tuesday and Saturday nights, when singing rules, but you are sure to meet some new friends as you dance to party jams from the likes of Michael Jackson and Gloria Gaynor. Just be sure you pick a funky song to sing when it's your turn - this can be a tough crowd.

Cheap eats
Nha Trang

You're not just waited on at this Vietnamese restaurant - you're doted on a bit, too. One visit to Nha Trang and the owners will remember your face and greet you like family. While the dishes aren't free like at your real mom's, they're pretyt darn close: try the hearty Pho Tai (beef rice noodle soup) for just $4.25 or a generous bowl of sliced tofu curry in savory peanut sauce ($4.50).

Where to chill
KJ's Corner Restaurant

KJ's is a restaurant in the grand tradition of Chicago corner greasy spoons. Once called "snack shops" by your parents, these diners used to populate storefronts where major and not-so-major intersections met, serving as part newsstand, coffee shop and social hub. So come in with the paper, order a cup of coffee, and have a seat at the counter. Order an "old fashioned" plate of turkey, with mashed potatoes and gravy (just $6), and let the Chicago that used to be wash over you.

In-the-know spot
Dragonlady Lounge

You probably don't expect an all-you-can eat vegan Korean buffet at your local dive bar, but that's exactly what you get at this ridiculously friendly spot every Thursday from 7-9 p.m.. The delicious spread ($12, $7.99 on the first Thursday of each month) includes an array of dishes like tofu curry, sauteed broccoli, kimchee and other delights. A full bar is available, too.

Need more help getting around? Use our Virtual L to find places by train stop or by neighborhood.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

What's Happening Today
  • Horseshoe
    $2 PBR tallboys, $3 Lone Star bottles, $3 Shiner Bock bottles
  • Simone's Bar
    Free fries with the purchase of any large-format beer
  • Cobra Lounge
    $4 Absolut, $4 Kilo Kai Rum drinks, $3 bottles of Amstel Light, Heineken, Corona and Red Stripe
  • Victory Liquors
    $3 Kilo Kai cocktails, $5 King Cobra, Mickeys and Olde English 40s, $5 O Bombs
  • Lincoln Station
    $2.50 pints of Widmer Weiss
  • Theory
    $16 domestic buckets, $5 Skyy grape or cherry cocktails