Eater Chicago | Naomi Waxman | February 18, 2020
A log of the city’s best bar and restaurant pop-ups
In recent years, Chicago has become ground zero for pop-ups. The concept, which started as a way for chefs to try out ideas while they gain experience and funding to open up their own restaurants, has taken a life of its own. Bars across the city see opportunities to lure customers by dressing up their taverns in themes. Some celebrate TV and film, others are centered around sports or holidays. The common denominator appears to be nostalgia, which is a powerful draw.
To ensure Chicagoans don’t experience regret by missing a pop-up, check out Eater Chicago’s listings below. The listings include pop culture and traditional pop-ups and all the pertinent info for pop-up fans.
FULTON MARKET — Milwaukee-based chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite (DanDan, EsterEv, Fauntleroy) will pop up at acclaimed downtown restaurant Blackbird with a one-day-only American-Chinese dim sum brunch, according to a rep. The pair plan to offer cumin lamb dumplings (black vinegar, chili oil, cilantro, scallion), “happy chicken” (crispy batter, Sichuan pepper, dried chilies, leeks), and more. Proceeds go to the Kennedy’s Disease Association.
February 23, Blackbird, 619 W. Randolph Street, reservations available on Tock.
LINCOLN PARK — Cocktail lounge King of Cups will “celebrate diversity, acceptance, and love” for six weeks with Wizard of Oz-themed pop-up “Emerald City,” reps announced. It kicks off on United Nations advocacy holiday Zero Discrimination Day, March 1, and will feature a “fantastical setting” with an emerald “sky.” Ownership also promises tarot readings and drag performances. More details are listed on the bar’s website.
March 1 to April 12, King of Cups, 2238 N. Lincoln Avenue, tickets available on Eventbrite.
LOGAN SQUARE — Ursula Siker, former baker at Hoosier Mama and of the upcoming Jeff & Jude’s, is throwing a “Babes’ Booze & Bake Sale” on International Women’s Day with 17 of Chicago’s women bartenders and bakers. The sale will raise funds for anti-harassment nonprofit Restaurant Culture Association at modern Indian restaurant Superkhana International. Participating chefs and bartenders include Anna Posey (Elske), Erin Koroll (Cellar Door Provisions), Emily Spurlin (Lula Cafe), and Britt Simons (Bad Hunter). A full list is available below. Tickets ($5) are available at the door — baked goods will cost one to two tickets, while cocktails will require two to three.
March 8, Superkhana International, 3059 W. Diversey Avenue.
RIVER NORTH — Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises steakhouse Nacional 27 is offering a two-day Brazilian Carnival party with $10 pear caipirinhas, samba dancers, and Latin sets from DJ-X starting Friday, according to a rep.
February 21 to 22, Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron Street, reservations available online.
ROGERS PARK — Neighborhood restaurant Onward will whisk diners to warmer climates with a “Florida Keys Culinary Takeover and Fundraiser” that kicks off Tuesday with pink flamingos, palm trees, and Jimmy Buffet tunes. Staff are offering a special seafood-heavy Key West menu that draws on regional influences, such as Bahamian conch chowder and a lobster lasagnette (Old Bay, Manila clam, Tabasco foam, tarragon, panko). Patrons will also be able to dig into a raw bar of oysters, stone crab claws, and more, as well as a desserts like a classic Key Lime pie (graham cracker crust, cream cheese, mango sorbet, fresh orange supremes, lime zest “confetti”). A “Booze Cruise” tiki cocktail menu includes “Captain Sloppy” (vodka, Génépy, lime, pineapple, raspberry) and the “Coastal Ghost” (rum, falernum, orgeat, lemon, passion fruit). A portion of proceeds will go to Florida’s Dolphin Research Center and Turtle Hospital.
February 25 to March 8, Onward, 6580 N. Sheridan Road.
WRIGLEYVILLE — Country bar Houndstooth Saloon is running Mardi Gras pop-up “French Korner” with a variety of specials and activities, according to a news release. Upcoming festivities include a spicy “VooDoo Wing Challenge,” an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil, and a Fat Tuesday celebration with live music and Louisiana-style fare. A full list of offerings is available on the bar’s website.
Now through February 25, Houndstooth Saloon, 3369 N. Clark Street, tickets for the wing challenge and crawfish boil are available online.
WRIGLEYVILLE — Hush Money, the second-floor bar above Eater Chicago 2018 bar of the year Mordecai, will become “the Apothecary” starting Thursday, aiming to “remedy the late winter blues,” according to a rep. Herbaceous and medicinal cocktail “cures” include “Never Nervous Nancy’s Nervine” and “Vip and Vigor” with burdock root. Patrons can also try Asian-influenced small plates such as shrimp toast (brioche, shrimp mousse, lemon basil sauce) and Chinese barbecue riblets (char siu glaze, scallions, daikon).
February 20 to late spring (every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), Hush Money (inside Hotel Zachary), 3632 N. Clark Street.
BERWYN — Essential suburban bistro Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits will become a gourmet sandwich shop for one day with the help of Northwest Side sandwich spot Hermosa, reps wrote in a Facebook event post. Menu options should include a Cambodian fried chicken sandwich, a black truffle grilled cheese, and a “funky” Italian bahn mi, as well as boozy Jarritos floats, Amaro phosphates, and Asian craft beers.
March 1, Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits, 6727 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, Reservations are available online.