I have gone to Picture US twice now and have had great experiences both times. The first time I went in to have a poster drymounted as a gift. A few days later I get a call that something had gone wrong with the mounting and there were now holes in the print. The woman at the shop had already contacted the company that had printed the poster (extremely limited edition) and offered to pay to have a new poster made, or she'd have the print framed for free. Well, I went in expecting a horrible mess, but the holes she was talking about were so tiny I could barely see them, and she was able to fill them in with marker and no one can tell there was any damage at all! Plus, a free frame! Hey, everyone wins (especially me)!
The second time I went to Picture US I had a print custom framed for myself. The store (the one on Lake) has been offering 1/2 price on custom frames for several months, so I decided to take advantage of their generous offer. It took me a rather long time to pick out the matting and frame but the woman helping me was very patient, even though I was there right at closing time. I picked up the masterpiece a few days later and it looks wonderful. Everyone ooh'd and ahh'd over it, even the artist! I even had a man stop me in the street and compliment it! I will come back here for sure.
My boyfriend is a regular at this place and absolutely swears by its tap list. (In fact, our first date was here!) They always have a staggering list of beer on tap, and an even more overwhelming bottle list. It is *the* beer bar on the northwest side.
The only down side is that the last few times we've gone, the staff has been ridiculously strict about the number of people going in and out. People constantly hassle the bouncer about not being let in when all of their friends are inside, but he won't budge on the issue. It makes the customers frustrated and the bouncer annoyed. It especially irritates me when people leave and the bouncer is not near the door so he doesn't adjust his clicker. The best way to avoid this cluster**** is to get to the bar as early as possible and not have a bunch of people.
Also, if you just want a Bud, spare everyone else the wait and just go somewhere else. You'd just be taking up space in the 2nd-best beer bar in the city (2nd only to Hopleaf).
I have put hundreds of miles on my bikes over the past year and a half and the boys at Boulevard always keep my bikes in good working order. They are so sweet and friendly, and always give me a good deal. My boyfriend has complained of having pretty shoddy service (from one specific man) at Rapid Transit, but all the work I've had done at Boulevard has been first class. So far I've had to replace wheels, fenders, brakes, a derailleur, and tires, and have had to install 2 bells, handlebar tape, lights, and a rack. I have also purchased all my gear (lights, gloves etc) here. These boys never, ever let me down. I will forever be at their service.
Also, I should note that both of my bikes were purchased for less than $100 at different locations (Ride and Working Bikes) and the boys have never given me crap for it. In fact, they gave me kudos for finding good deals!
Ever since I moved to Chicago, I knew about Sam's. There's a good reason for this. They have pretty much everything you could ever hope to find in one liquor store and their staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Although Sam's specialty is wine, they also have an impressive stock of liquor and beer. (Plus the younger beer guy, Austin, definitely has a cute butt.) In addition, you can schedule private tastings and tours and later impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.
A word to the wise: do *not* order anything through their internet department. They are very backed up and disorganized. Either go to the store (recommended) or phone in to the call center.
I went here at a friend's insistance and was really disappointed. The food didn't taste fresh and was not very satisfying. The dessert crepes were good, but for dinner go elsewhere.
A lot of people really like Earwax, but it has never really impressed me much. I can't really say that I've had a really good meal here, though I do remember specific things I've had (one was too messy, another too garlicky, and yet another too bland). Maybe I just keep choosing the wrong things, but at some point I just gave up. Now I usually just head to Handlebar instead.
Handlebar is one of those places that I tend to steer people toward when there's a vegetarian or vegan in our midst. Though their veggie-friendly dishes do tend to be on the spicy side (why is this always the case with bland vegan food? Spicy does not make up for a lack of flavor!) there are some gems on the menu. Their desserts and beer list also impress.
I wandered into Pierre's Bakery hoping to find some fresh bread. Alas, Pierre's is not that type of bakery. They do, however, have enough cookies and cakes to fulfill your most sugary dreams. The goods taste slightly manufactured, but when you are gazing at such delicious-looking cakes, pies, and tarts, it almost doesn't matter. This would be a great place to take some kids before letting them run loose at the park. Also a good place to buy a cake based on looks (kids party? anniversary? holiday?) and not on taste. The store was very clean and spacious, but I did have quite a bit of trouble with one of the employees refusing me service because I didn't speak Spanish. (I think she might have been a newcomer to the States and intimidated by the idea of helping a gringo... who knows? That doesn't give you leave to refuse someone service!) Thankfully another employee stepped in and saved the day.
Also, please note that Pierre's is located just to the west of Spaulding, not Kedzie.
I've bought several things from Silver Moon Chicago (now located on North near Wood) and have never regretted it. The selection and quality of their clothes is wonderful. They have gorgeous hats, gloves, and jewelry as well. Their clothes range from the 1890s through the 1960s, but they mostly just have stuff from the 40s-60s out for people to try on. They also have some really beautiful vintage bridal gowns and carry a lot of Vivienne Westood. Don't worry lads, there's even a men's section! And, for you Rockabillies, they even have vintage housewares. Check out this jewel and you won't be disappointed.
Una Maes Freak Boutique really impressed me. I went in while trying to kill some time and walked out with some cute clothes. They have really beautiful new clothing in the front of the store--although the new stuff looks like it *could* be vintage, but with a funky twist. There's also a modest second-hand section in the back of the store. It's obvious they're pretty picky about what they accept, and I found some really cute things. I tried on several second-hand items and a few new items as well, but the high prices of the new clothing was prohibitive to me and I ended up just getting the very reasonbly priced second-hand clothing. If you want to spend a little more money than the usual on a piece of funky, unique clothing, check out the front of this store. Otherwise, browse the used section in the back for some hidden gems.