Lauren Viera

Correspondent

  • Chicago, Illinois, USA

Lauren Viera is a correspondent who lives in Chicago and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Viera contributes articles on spirits, travel and lifestyle to Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business, Imbibe, MensJournal.com and others. She was a senior editor on the launch staff of Time Out Chicago, and was a staff writer on the travel desk of the Chicago Tribune. A native Californian, Viera has lived in Chicago for a decade and chronicles her love of horticulture and cocktail culture on her blog, The Glass & Garden.

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  • On March 4, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best comedy clubs in Chicago?

    The ruling comedy club in Chicago is The Second City, which has been a seminal part of the city's funny business since it opened in 1959. The venue offers multiple shows nightly, ranging from big-ticket Saturday nights to freebie workshops scattered throughout the week. The Second City is widely regarded as the incubator for tomorrow's brightest comedic stars, as shows such as Saturday Night Live often draw directly from Second City cast. Notable alumni include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and dozens of others.

    Second to The Second City is iO, formerly known as Improv Olympic, which also has a satellite in Los Angeles. Named for what it does best, improv, the Wrigleyville venue houses two theaters offering improv and Harold (long-form) shows nightly, as well as touring troupes.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best sports bars in Chicago?

    Though it's better known as an Italian steakhouse, the various locations of Harry Caray's, named for the famed Chicago Cubs sportscaster, is one of Chicago's most beloved sports bars. Decorated with baseball memorabilia -- and, on occasion, old-timers and celebs who lived the dream -- Harry Caray's is a colorful backdrop for rooting for the Cubbies.

    Located in the heart of River North, Bull & Bear brags about its trifecta of draws with its catch-phrase: "Bar. Grill. Vantage Point." The full-service restaurant offers standard pub fare (wings, sliders, burgers), but what's most impressive are the features that set it apart, such as the Personal Table Tap, available at five booths, and a full brunch menu built for morning matches.

    Decked out with shiny wood-grain floors and vintage lockers is The Anthem in Wicker Park, a fun throwback to the glory days of fandom. With multiple giant screens, bench-style seating and a beer list that makes Midwesterners proud, this buzzing sports hub opens up its garage-door style windows during warmer months to share its patrons' wins (or defeats) with passers-by.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best sports bars in Chicago?

    Though it's better known as an Italian steakhouse, the various locations of Harry Caray's, named for the famed Chicago Cubs sportscaster, is one of Chicago's most beloved sports bars. Decorated with baseball memorabilia -- and, on occasion, old-timers and celebs who lived the dream -- Harry Caray's is a colorful backdrop for rooting for the Cubbies.

    Located in the heart of River North, Bull & Bear brags about its trifecta of draws with its catch-phrase: "Bar. Grill. Vantage Point." The full-service restaurant offers standard pub fare (wings, sliders, burgers), but what's most impressive are the features that set it apart, such as the Personal Table Tap, available at five booths, and a full brunch menu built for morning matches.

    Rallying for the vintage side of sports memorabilia is The Anthem in Wicker Park. Designed with multiple giant screens, bench-style seating and a beer list that makes Midwesterners proud, this buzzing sports hub opens up its garage-door windows during warmer months to share its patrons wins (or defeats) with passers-by.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    Where are the best cocktails in Chicago?

    Opened in 2007, The Violet Hour in Wicker Park was Chicago's first new-fashioned craft-cocktail bar, and remains among the top cocktail destinations, which now number in the dozens. The gorgeous lounge was founded by a handful of alumni from New York City's famed Milk & Honey, widely regarded as one of the country's first craft-cocktail bars, and continues to offer seasonal menus of popular and obscure classics, as well as divine originals.

    Newer to the scene is Michelin-starred Chef Grant Achatz's molecular gastronomic cocktail lounge, The Aviary, in the city's Fulton Market neighborhood. The Aviary is home to the most original cocktails in town, from vacuum-potted tea-based infusions to an old fashioned iteration dubbed In The Rocks, a cocktail frozen in an ice sphere that must be burst before drinking. Downstairs from The Aviary is The Office, a tiny, 16-seat den of handsome leather couches and carefully curated vintage artwork. The Office makes hands-down some of the most delicious drinks in town, yours for a pretty penny: all are $20.

    On an otherwise quiet block in Lincoln Park, Barrelhouse Flat offers an impressively dense menu of classic cocktails -- nearly 75 of them -- organized by spirit. Run by a Violet Hour graduate, Barrelhouse Flat serves classic cocktails with classic proportions: no more than three ounces at a time, lest you fall over from their potency.