Logan Square is the undisputed gathering ground for Midwestern hippies: the ironically independent, creative artisans and craftsmen, easily recognized by their immoderate use of plaid and selvedge denim. This Chicagoan version of Brooklyn is a neighborhood devoted to expressing a zealous passion for local food, independent fashion, and off-beat nigthtlife entertainment. Criss-crossing the wide thoroughfares are hipster-approved haunts that effortlessly produce an artful melange of taquerias, hole-in-the-wall taverns, and craft coffeehouses. There isn’t a chain store or franchise to be seen. And the food and beverage scene has garnered Logan Square an admirable reputation for forward-thinking plates, while the ecclectic fashions give residents their uncommon edge. Inspired by the city’s architectural heritage, Daniel Burnham, the director of works at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, delivered his instruction,“make no little plans.” In Logan Square, his vision has been taken to task, resulting in risk-taking art and palate-expanding fare that defines all that is hip in Chicago.
Named for renegade boozers during the Prohibition, this boite is a modern-day gin joint with a “spirit forward” point of view and inviting, modern-day Cheers vibe. Cocktails are wildly inventive and wildly inexpensive (all $8). For beer-meisters, there is a monthly “tap takeover” featuring a need-to-know-about breweries.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters
Exposed brick walls, reclaimed-wood tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a quirky collection of taxidermy are, in fact, pivotal design details at this buzzed-about micro-roaster. Exotic estate coffees are prepared in any style, siphoned or pour-over, with a playful European menu including small plates of charcuterie and tartines.
What do you get when you mix an uber-connected DJ, a seasoned visual artist, and a retail dynamo and plop them down on the best corner in Logan Square? A men’s lifestyle store that tows the line between highbrow boutique and neighborhood hangout. The cross section of upscale apparel and accessories is offset by a clean, modern, come-check-us-out aesthetic.
Bang Bang Pie Shop
What started as a food truck has transformed into a brick and mortar magnet for lovers of fresh, Southern-style baked goods. Each day there is a seasonal pie and a smorgasboard of buttery, flakey biscuits (topped with Smoking Goose ham or housemade jam). The recent introduction of biscuit sandwiches has amped up this shop’s cult following.
Bold, silk-screened tunics and African-inspired jackets stand out against the white-washed interior of Tusk. This hybrid fashion boutique does double duty as an art gallery. Owner Mary Eleanor Wallace demonstrates her strong aesthetic with an ever-changing wall of art and curiosities that add context to the hand-crafted jewelry on sale. Look out for collaborations with local artisans.