Chicago Hotel, Gym, Restaurant Recommendations

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    Jul 22, 2008 2:01 PM GMT
    A buddy and I are planning a trip to Chicago in October. I've searched the RJ archives and couldn't find much in the way of hotel recommendations, gay-friendly gyms, etc. Where is a good place to stay ? And, yes, we will probably hit the clubs at least a couple of nights while there. Thanks in advance !!!
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    Jul 22, 2008 3:26 PM GMT
    I love the W on Lakeshore drive - make sure you ask for a Lake View.
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    Jul 22, 2008 3:42 PM GMT
    In and around Boystown, some hotels are City Suites, the Brompton (now Majestic) and the Surf (now the Willows). There's also a Best Western in the area. A bit to the north there's a Super8 - with free parking, making it a good choice if you are bringing a car. And it's just off the Red line, so it's easy to get to Boystown and downtown, and it might even be walking distance from some of the newer gay strips north of Boystown.

    Google found me this page:

    http://www.gay.com/travel/premium/?sernum=212


    As for good eats, it almost seems you can't go wrong. Ann Sathers is popular (good lingonberry pancakes) and there is also Clark's (good baked pancakes). I also like The Bagel (Broadway at Barry, my favorite Challah French Toast). For a great Breakfast/brunch, try the Bongo Room (I hear Orange is also good, but haven't been).

    Sniff. A popular stop for me use to be the Melrose Cafe, not so much for the (diner) food but for Virginia, the sassy middle-aged waitress. The kind who'd mix your coffee with her finger if you complained that you didn't get a spoon.

    For dinner, there are so many good places I can't think of any to mention. One popular place is the Cheesecake Factory downtown (schedule an extra cardio workout for the next day - assuming you only share 1 piece of cheesecake). For good Asian food, look for Big Bowl.
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    Jul 22, 2008 3:59 PM GMT
    caesarea4 saidIn and around Boystown, some hotels are City Suites, the Brompton (now Majestic) and the Surf (now the Willows). There's also a Best Western in the area. A bit to the north there's a Super8 - with free parking, making it a good choice if you are bringing a car. And it's juts off the Red line, so it's easy to get to Boystown and downtown, and it might even be walking distance from some of the newer gay strips north of Boystown.

    Google found me this page:

    http://www.gay.com/travel/premium/?sernum=212


    As for good eats, it almost seems you can't go wrong. Ann Sathers is popular (good lingonberry pancakes) and their is also Clark's (good baked pancakes). I also like The Bagel (Broadway at Barry, my favorite Challah French Toast). For a great Breakfast/brunch, try the Bongo Room (I hear Orange is also good, but haven't been).

    Sniff. A popular stop for me use to be the Melrose Cafe, not so much for the (diner) food but for the sassy middle-aged waitress. The kind who'd mix your coffee with her finger if you complained that you didn't get a spoon.

    For dinner, there are so many good places I can't think of any to mention. One popular place is the Cheesecake Factory downtown (schedule an extra cardio workout for the next day - assuming you only share 1 piece of cheesecake). For good Asian food, look for Big Bowl.



    This Best Western is not bad at all... and I second his recommendation of the places to eat. To that list I would add Reza's on Clark Street in Andersonville, Nuevo Leon in Pilsen for great Mexican Food, and any of the Indian restaurants on Devon Street.

    --Adam
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    Jul 22, 2008 5:47 PM GMT
    I always stay at the Sofitel Water Tower when I travel to Chicago. It's a stunning hotel in a style that I absolutely love. It's also pretty close to all the stuff you'd want to visit downtown.

    http://www.sofitel.com/sofitel/fichehotel/gb/sof/2993/fiche_hotel.shtml

    For breakfast, I always hit up Lou Mitchels at least once. http://www.loumitchellsrestaurant.com/
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    Jul 22, 2008 6:33 PM GMT
    I don't have much in the way of gym or hotel recommendations, but here are some restaurant recommendations.

    In and Around Boystown:

    For great Italian, I'd go with Leona's http://www.leonas.com/.

    Also, in Boystown, Halsted's is pretty great. The BEST tater tots EVER! http://www.halstedschicago.com/. They also have a video juke box there which is kind of fun.

    If you're interested in deep dish pizza, I would highly recommend Giordano's http://www.giordanos.com/ for eating in (also has locations downtown) and Edwardo's Natural Pizza www.edwardos.com/ for delivery.

    My favorite place for Mexican is Mayan Palace www.themayanpalace.com. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they have half price pitchers, and the service and food there can't be beat! Many people might try to direct you towards Las Mananitas in boystown, but it's only good for margaritas- NOT FOR FOOD!

    Good for any meal of the day, is Nookie's Tree http://www.nookiesrestaurants.net/ although I would recommend them for breakfast/brunch. If you go on a Sunday, be sure to get the cream of chicken and rice soup.

    Although it's already been mentioned, GO TO ANN SATHER! You will not regret it!

    Downtown:

    Bandera http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/bandera/ is my new favorite place to go on Michigan Avenue.

    For sushi, I love Ra Sushi www.rasushi.com/. Check out their happy hour specials! icon_smile.gif

    I'm also a huge fan on Carmine's http://www.rosebudrestaurants.com/rest2.php. I love the Ahi Tuna Salad there!

    If you like Brazilian Steak Houses, I can't get enough of Brazzaz brazzaz.com! TONS of food, but a little pricey.

    If you just want some fancy drinks, you will love Martini Park www.martinipark.com/. Tons of martinis to choose from and a great appetizer/food list as well. Also- although not located downtown or in boystown, if you like beer, you MUST visit Hopeleaf http://www.hopleaf.com/, filled with tons of beer that taste great and many that you've probably never heard of before. They also have some food as well as a pretty nice wine list.

    I noticed that Big Bowl and The Cheesecake Facotry were mentioned before. Truthfully, I wouldn't suggest Big Bowl- I think there are so many REAL asian restaurants here that you don't need some big corporations view on it. The Cheesecake Factory, although good, is a huge tourist destination, which is funny because they're EVERYWHERE in the country.

    Hope the suggestions help! Happy eating!
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    Jul 22, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    Just spent a weekend in Chicago a few months ago (Spice Girls World Tour - yes I'm queer!)

    Breakfast: Toast Two on Damen Ave.

    Lunch: Big Bowl or even Wow Bao we found to be really good Asian spots

    Dinner: Scoozi on Huron St (Not the best Italian place in Chicago, but good - and the wine is on tap!)
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    Jul 23, 2008 3:56 PM GMT
    Wow !! Thanks for all the great restaurant recommendations. Any ideas on a gay-friendly gym ? Not looking for a bathhouse type place (no judgment, LOL), but just a legit place to work out with a bit of eye candy for motivation. I am told Chicago guys are hot !!!
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    Jul 23, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    For gym recommendations, I think you're pretty safe with any around Boystown.

    LVAC (Lakeview Athletic Club) http://www.chicagoathleticclubs.com/club/scripts/section/section.asp?NS=LV1 located at Broadway and Belmont or the FFC (Fitness Formula Club) are your best bets. There are two locations for the FFC (Halsted Street http://www.fitnessformulaclubs.com/halstedstreet/ and East Lakeview http://www.fitnessformulaclubs.com/eastlakeview/) that are pretty close to each other. I'm not sure which one is better, so if you decide to go with that one, you may just want to go with convenience. I've also heard that Bally Total Fitness at Century City http://east.ballyfitness.com/ is pretty gay-friendly, but I've heard that their locker rooms tend to be pretty dirty (literally).

    Unfortunately, I am not very familiar with gay-friendly gyms downtown.
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    Jul 24, 2008 10:56 AM GMT
    Caesarea4> As for good eats, it almost seems you can't go wrong. Ann Sathers is popular (good lingonberry pancakes)

    muchmorethanmuscle> I don't agree with this statement. I actually just went to Ann Sather's today... I realized why I don't care for their food. It's so decadent and so exceedingly greasy. It's so unappetizing to just look at. Even IHOP has better omelet meals.

    See? You should have had the lingonberry pancakes!
    icon_rolleyes.gif

    Honestly, I don't spend as much time in Chicago as I used to (or would like to). Seems that since my sister finished her PhD at Northwestern I've only been getting there once a year - so I could be out-of-date. icon_sad.gif
  • boffin818

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    May 19, 2010 5:53 PM GMT
    I'll add to this thread since I browsed it earlier and just returned from a few days in Chicago.

    Hotel - City Suites is nice in an urban, old-fashioned way (narrow halls, tiny elevator), but right next to the El (the train), which rumbles past all night. I think I'll look for a different place next time.

    Ann Sathers - go there for the Swedish pancakes, if nothing else; they're thin and fluffy and delicious with a dab of the ligonberry sauce they give you (you don't need syrup). I didn't try their omelettes; I had poached eggs. They do overload the food. Any combination plate comes with two sides, and among the sides are two cinammon rolls, which my partner ordered. Yummy, in a cheat meal way, but do you need cinammon rolls on top of pancakes?

    Bally's in the Century City mall (http://www.ballyfitness.com/discover-bally/our-clubs/club-amenities-hours/club701-12.aspx) is very well-equipped, on the 7th and 8th floors with views in every direction, 4 lane lap pool, lots of machines, running track. Locker room OK. Only negatives would be the dry sauna and steam room are co-ed, out by the pool, rather than inside the locker room for men only...