Thursday 17 June 2021
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West Loop hotspots: Five newish establishments worth checking out in the hottest neighborhood in Chicago

By Trent Modglin

Press Room

The Publishing House, an 11-room bed and breakfast in the West Loop, opened in 2017, and its subterranean, European-style wine bar offers a selection of more than 140 wines by the bottle and 40 by the glass — all in a charming, century-old building. Enjoy a menu of season-driven fare (the charred broccolini with parmesan crumble and picked raisins and the short rib with chimichurri puree are particularly noteworthy), and for happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on weekdays, grab yourself a $15 cheese and charcuterie board and $7 glass of vino. 1134 W. Washington. 331-240-1914.


This newer West Loop destination, from the folks behind popular Chicago restaurants like Dusek’s and Longman & Eagle, likes to dub itself as having “the feel of a corner bar,” but there’s way more to it than that understated description. It’s hip, fun, plays old-school hip hop and specializes in more than 30 classic cocktails (think margaritas, Manhattans, daiquiris, etc.) for $10.75 each and made with house-made syrups and sodas. Insider’s tip: Try not to get addicted to the adobo corn nuts. And you can order about a dozen dishes until 1 a.m. to cure those hunger pains. 660 W. Lake St.


The massively influential Boka Restaurant Group’s latest venture in coordination with celebrity chef Stephanie Izard was easily one of the hottest openings in Chicago last year. Located on the 12th floor of the Hoxton Hotel, the lively Cabra boasts a Peruvian-inspired menu with bold flavors, sharable plates, dynamite ceviches and a sleek rooftop space. 200 N. Green. 312-761-1717.

Joe’s Imports Wine Bar

Open not yet two years, Joe’s offers more than 250 bottles of wine, including some available to go. The exciting food menu includes small and large entrees to complement the wine, like Iberico ham, snow crab, grilled octopus and wagyu prime steak. Check out their weekday “flight hour” from 4-6 p.m., where you can get a trio of three-ounce pours — served with olives and breadsticks — for $15. 813 W. Fulton Market. 312-736-1750.

Cruz Blanca

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless, whose passion for regional Mexican specialties has led to a number of quality restaurant options in Chicago, recently opened an Oaxacan-style taqueria and brewery called Cruz Blanca in the neighborhood (right next to his restaurant, Lena Brava). Try the fried shrimp tacos and one of their specialty hazy IPAs. 904 W. Randolph. 312-733-1975.

Great Central Brewing Company

You can get a taste of the best craft beer the Chicago area has to offer, all in one place and close to downtown, at this 200-seat taproom located in the red-hot Fulton Market District. It’s Chicago’s first craft-dedicated contract brewery, aiding local beer-making clients with on-site production, while also churning out its own small batches. A total of 24 different local taps are available, including Great Central offerings like a citrus hefeweizen and German-style helles lager. 221 N. Wood Street.