Death, taxes and shopping on Michigan Avenue — the three universal truths of living in Chicago. This year, make the shopping experience more enjoyable with a perfectly crafted cocktail, warm prime-rib sandwich or slice of 23-layer chocolate cake. This is, after all, the time of year to be indulgent.
Before hitting the stores, hit the calories with lamb sausage pizza and herbed ricotta ravioli. The casual, yet classy, restaurant recently underwent a major renovation to become more casual, offering cheeseburger pizza and pasta nachos loaded with pepperoni, cheddar, black olive, jalapeño, ricotta and marinara.
110 E. Pearson St.; 312-266-3110
The second location Lettuce Entertain You's all-day eatery Beatrix aims to please the Mag Mile crowd with fresh and fast offerings — 10-grain oatmeal for breakfast, kale salads during lunch and Parmesan-crusted chicken at dinner. In addition to traditional table service, diners have the option of perusing the market for a grab-and-go meal, or to snag a caffeinated creation.
It’s surprisingly hard to find a good drink on the strip littered with tourist traps and overpriced watering holes. Enter this sky-high cocktail bar serving a selection of craft cocktails, and enjoy a view of the Chicago skyline. Leave it to bar manager Whitney Morrow to whip up one of the seasonal concoctions, such as the B Squared (Nola coffee liqueur, Cruzan black strap, pumpkin, chai tea, housemade caramel).
201 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-933-4805
Tucked inside the Raffaello Hotel, this dual donut and coffee shop serves a selection of gourmet donuts — from crème brûlée to red velvet — plus a signature blend of local roaster Sparrow Coffee. It opens for breakfast every morning at 7 AM, and stays open for afternoon pick-me-ups until 2 PM.
Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of New York’s The Dead Rabbit have teamed up with Danny Meyer's Union Square Events for a sleek Streeterville cocktail lounge. Hidden on the 18th floor of a medical office building, the space boasts a Manhattan sophistication befitting the venerable Meyer, and a 19-page drink menu that honors Irish-Americans' role in rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire.
259 E. Erie St. 18th floor; 312-337-0101
The holidays are about gathering with family, searching for the best deal on a new pair of shoes and over-indulging in meat — preferably a USDA Prime, 45-day dry-aged steak drizzled with ginger-balsamic jus. Meat isn’t the only thing on the menu; this restaurant/bar serves signature specialties such as garlic bread with blue cheese fondue and 23-layer chocolate cake.
505 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-321-8823
One of the best-kept secrets of the Mag Mile is the airy escape that is this seventh-floor restaurant and lounge. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails, guests can count on high-quality ingredients served with finesse. During the winter, a hot-chocolate bar serves artisanal takes on the drink with an assortment of toppings including housemade marshmallows, syrups, crunches and candies.
800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-239-4030
This long-standing wine bar keeps table packed with its enticing selection of Mediterranean-inspired small plates: eggplant caponata with goat cheese and warm bread, octopus with green beans, fingerling potatoes and salsa verde, and pig's tails braised in balsamic with grated egg and parsley. There's also an impressive wine list and cheese selection.
500 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-464-1744
After a 30-year run, this Italian standard is better than ever thanks to a new, more modern look and and a revamped menu with dishes like dry-aged beef with beech mushrooms and black truffle. For a more casual meal, opt for appetizers in the lounge or lunch in Cafe Spiaggia, which prepares crudo, charcuterie, pasta and more affordable entrees alongside sparkling cocktails and espresso.
980 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-280-2750
Craft beer, warm cocktails and a whole platter of carved meats await at this secluded lounge adjacent to Lawry's. The long-standing prime-rib joint suddenly got cool when it transformed an adjoining space into a gastropub specializing in cheese, charcuterie and plenty of roasted meats, including the prime-rib sandwich and spice-rubbed leg of lamb.
100 E. Ontario St.; 312-787-6768