It's not a flashy area, but the South Lawn neighborhood gets the job done when it comes to good eats and low-key hangout spots. Bring your grandparents and settle in for the evening.
Best of the nightlife
As long as the Northwest and Southwest sides of the city continue to exist in their current configurations, the classic Chicago corner tavern as depicted in Mike Royko's Boss will not go extinct. Suffice it to say that this corner bar in the South Lawn neighborhood is just such a beast. On a mild day, when a gentle breeze blows from the south, you can literally smell the stale beer, nicotine and disinfectant cleaner from a half-block away.
Good for groups
It's hard to miss this place, what with the giant wagon parked on the outdoor patio. Grab a table in the large front room and you'll be surrounded by celebratory parties, as well as the six Mariachi band members, who dine before bursting into song throughout the restaurant. Everyone sticks around laughing and storytelling as their meals - everything from raw oysters to fried red snapper to your classic meat/cheese combos - settle.
Huck Finn Donuts (Pulaski)
This diner/donut shop serves just about everything, from a surprisingly good shrimp platter, to the usual hamburger, to the Donut Delight-a plain donut bedecked with whipped cream, a cherry, and red, yellow and blue superman ice cream.
Where to chill
There's no better place to relax than in the bean-bag seating area at this neighborhood tavern. Up for a little more action? There's also a pool table, dart board, jukebox and more.
Vito & Nick's
Old Style-swilling men grasp tiny pilsner glasses with their meaty fingers, and chain-smoking scratchy throated women park their ample backsides in turquoise vinyl stools. These folks have been coming to Vito and Nick's for more than 80 years, when Vito Barraco launched his original tavern at Congress and Polk. The signature pie didn’t arrive until 1949, when Vito's son Nick – fresh off a stint in the Army – developed it with his mother. Today, that secret recipe for cracker-thin crust, cut into an impossible number of squares and drizzled with oozy cheese, tangy and sweet tomato sauce, and of course studded with saa-sidge, is the Chicago ideal for what thin crust pizza should be.
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