From Tacos to Malört: 9 Ways to Fuel a Hipster

By Sarah Freeman  |  November 11, 2013

Maybe you're a hipster, or maybe you want to be a hipster. Maybe you think you might be a hipster but aren’t actually sure, and you're too busy choosing the right Instagram filter to bring out the haziness in a steaming cup of pour-over coffee to find out. (Hint: if that last sentence applies to you, then you are indeed a hipster). Either way, we broke the hipster down into critical elements - from bikes to canned beer - and found their culinary counterparts to create the ultimate hipster dining guide to Chicago.

  • Bike

    Brace yourself for a hipster double whammy. Handlebar is decorated with bike parts and only serves vegetarian food. Whoa. Bar stools are made out of bike rims, tires hang from the ceiling, and bike parking lines the front of the building. Since 2003, the restaurant has served fair-trade coffee, cooked with all-organic eggs and sourced produce from local farms. Right on.

    2311 W. North Ave.; 773-384-9546

  • Mustache

    The unofficial logo of this Wrigleyville bar and karaoke lounge is a rather polished mustache. We’re talking about none other than Blokes & Birds, a rare haven of stirred cocktails and craft beer at the end of the rowdy Clark Street strip. Below the wood-paneled bar is a leather-clad karaoke lounge complete with exposed brick and a fireplace. You just got a little tingly, didn’t you?

    3343 N. Clark St.; 773-472-5252

  • Serious Coffee

    Not only do you like your coffee black, but you also like your beans roasted locally in small batches and harvested by hand from the finest trees in El Salvador. Star Lounge has all of these things covered. The home of Dark Matter Coffee serves only the finest roasts in their coffee bar/liquor bar hybrid. The beans themselves are roasted at a nearby facility with its own five-seat coffee bar.

    2521 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-384-7827

  • Vinyl

    There is something about the unexpected skip of a record that makes the whole listening experience more authentic. How does your vinyl collection compare to the records at Ada Street? The restaurant/bar located adjacent to an industrial park and around the corner from music venue The Hideout, relies solely on its record collection to fill the space with cool tunes.

    1664 N. Ada St.; 773-697-7069

  • Canned Beer

    PBR? Schlitz? Tecate? Old Style? Modelo? No hipster is complete without a go-to ironic canned beer of choice. Revel Room’s selection of “fine canned goods” ranges from local beers such as Half Acre’s Over Ale and Two Brother’s Sidekick to imported ales from St. Feuillien and Stiegl. In the less-fine canned goods section are Budweiser and Miller High Life.

    1566 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-278-1600

  • Craft Beer

    A good beer list is not hard to find in a city overflowing with craft breweries, but Bangers & Lace holds the title for most hipster-chic menu - a chalkboard above wooden taps marked with pressed metal numbers. The selection usually includes more than a few local options from Solemn Oath, Great Lakes and Five Rabbit. Bonus points for the ampersand in its name.

    1670 W. Division St.; 773-252-6499

  • Craft Cocktails

    When tracking the origins of Chicago's craft cocktail movement, it would be difficult not to stumble upon the booze den known as The Whistler. This is the bar where greats like Paul McGee and Danny Shapiro got their start, and remains an institution of stirred and shaken creations. The bar regularly hosts themed nights and live music.

    2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-227-3530

  • Put a Bird on It

    In the words of the be-all-end-all hipsters in Portlandia, “Put a bird on it.” That is just what dive bar Blind Robin did, except they put a bird in its name and logo well before the TV show made it cool. The bar specializes in cold drinks and loud music, with a rotating selection of beers for about $5 and weekly $4 beer specials.

    853 N. Western Ave.; 773-395-3002

  • Malört

    We round out our guide the same way a true hipster ends a night - with a shot of the Chicago cult-classic spirit Malört. The team at Scofflaw claims they run on Malört and even dedicated an entire tap handle to the bitter stuff. So step up to the bar, ask for a single shot, and knock it back in one fell swoop of indie submission. Congrats, you can now call yourself a hipster.

    3201 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-252-9700