This is “The Heart of Wicker Park,” the Six Points, the land of boutiques, bars, restaurants, salons, and spas as far as the eye can see.
There’s a lot going on. Don’t worry! Start with these places.
Best Place for Ears: Double Door. It reminds me what I imagine Wicker Park used to be. There’s a downstairs bar as well. Eighty percent of the time there’ll be great music. But bring ear plugs.
Best Place for Eyes: For some reason, there’re a lot of eye exam/glasses dispenseries in Wicker Park. But I’ll say that the Flat Iron Arts building is the best place for eyes. First Fridays of the month studios open up and visiting artists hang their work in the hallways.
Best Place for Noms: There’re a ton of places to get bar food in Wicker Park.
Other options abound. Bin Wine Cafe offers a civilized alternative. You can get a flight of bloody Marys (which is almost the same as food) or mimosas if you don’t want to commit to just one drink. The food’s delicious.
Noms Honorable Mention: Sultan’s Market is wonderful for quick, cheap, and delicious. Get the lentil soup and falafel sandwich. There’s also a smoothie bar. And you can grab booze from across the street at W Grocer- Sultan’s Market is BYOB.
Best Place after a Long Day: This is really hard. There’re so many great places to grab a drink. Big Star and Violet Hour have a lot to offer, but I’m so tired of hearing how wonderful they are- those places belong more to the city now than Wicker Park. Salud Tequila Lounge has tasty as well as interesting drinks. If you don’t like tequila, you will when you leave.
Long Day Honorable Mention: Piece has good pizza and brews their own beer. Have a Golden Arm and get a white pizza with mashed potatoes, bacon, and spinage. Yes, seriously.
Best Place for Brain: Myopic Books is gloriously claustrophobia-inducing in some areas, luxuriously lofty and open in others. You can get coffee here and relax, as being surrounded by books will lull you in to a state of mmm. The check out desk makes you feel like you’re in kindergarden because it’s so high up the employees can look down on you. Hopefully, there will be a new cat there in the future. The old one was adopted by a regular to be taken care of in peace for its last few months of life.
Brain Honorable Mentions: I didn’t say Quimby’s first because you have to walk a little further, but it’s really hard to walk in and not buy something. There’s little zines, interesting books, and lots of flyers to let you know what’s going on in the area.
Best Place for Coffee: I have to give it to Wormhole. At Wormhole, old technology and dorky stuff are embraced like a fun, friendly robot pal. Super Nintendo detrius, Star Wars posters, and plastic figurines decorate the place, but it doesn’t feel like an ironic nod or fake nostalgia or like kitchy Jimmy Johns décor. It’s an acknowledgement of the role old tech played in our lives and how it continues to be something we can connect with. Also, they have a Delorian!
Coffee Historical Mention: Filter. (I think they still use the same ratty furniture from the original store in the 90s-this is a homey coffee shop.) The coffee’s good, warm lighting, exposed brick, and the delicious, soft clattering of Mac keyboards provide a comforting atmosphere. Please ignore the chains, Starbucks and Caribou.
Jaime, owner of the Circle Salon (a 10 minute walk from the Damen Blue Line) talks about Wicker Park.