So, this wedding season, when maid-of-honor duty calls, make it your business to plan a bachelorette party people actually want to attend. Step one: Book a table at one of these fun and fab Chicago restaurants.
Brendan Sodikoff’s latest culinary venture has a heavy focus on pasta, and we’re not mad about that. Tuck into an ample serving of tender noodles dressed simply with fresh pepper and Pecorino or feast on a delicious bowl of creamy risotto with Gorgonzola and bacon. Cozy and artfully mismatched lounge seating in the dining room encourages you to linger over another glass of wine, making it a great spot for a leisurely dinner with the girls (if not a place to party all night long). Bridal diet be damned: You cannot leave Cocello without trying the crazy good homemade doughnut holes with fresh whipped cream.
Cocello, 354 West Hubbard Street (at Orleans Street); 312-888-9195.
Sable Kitchen & Bar
Sable is glitzy (in a good way), and if you didn’t know it was connected to the Palomar, you probably wouldn’t peg it for a hotel restaurant. The menu is filled with upscale versions of playful comfort foods like soft pretzels with smoked-cheddar dip, house-made beef jerky, and some of the best cheese curds you’ll find outside of a state fair, and all are great for munching over cocktails. Speaking of which, Sable has a robust offering of Prohibition-era libations that are guaranteed to get you in a celebratory mood. If you’ve got a large guest list, book the indoor or outdoor private-party space so the blushing bride can open gifts of lingerie without an audience.
Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 North State Street (at Illinois Street); 312-755-9704.
Girl and the Goat
Foodies will delight in an evening spent in Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s wacky world. Escargot ravioli, duck tongues with spicy piri piri sauce, and the legendary oven-roasted pig face — this is definitely a place for adventurous eaters. Order up a few Three Floyd’s craft beers or a couple of glasses of Girl and the Goat’s house-blended wine to wash down that swine (which is actually a succulent piece of salty pork with crispy fried potato strings and topped with an egg).
Girl and the Goat, 809 West Randolph Street (at Halsted Street); 312-492-6262.
Your best girls, several bottles of Italian rosé, and endless rounds of cicchetti (Venetian-style appetizers) — if that sounds like your idea of a good night, Ombra is your bachelorette-dinner destination. If you have a smaller group, nab one of the adorable distressed wood booths on the sidewalk patio for an alfresco affair to remember.
Ombra, 5310 North Clark Street (at Summerdale Avenue); 773-506-8600.
Decked out in Italian marble, rows of crystal chandeliers, and French-herringbone floors, it’s almost as if Nellcote was tailor-made for a glam girls’ night. Live DJs spinning classic rock and hoodie-wearing hipsters working as waiters balance the opulence of the décor. The impressive menu features European-inspired small plates made with locally sourced ingredients. In this case, “locally sourced” isn’t just lip service — the pizzas and pastas are made with flour from an on-site mill. The strozzapreti is a perfect pasta for summer. The curly noodles are dyed black with squid ink, served chilled, and tossed with spicy chilies and sweet chunks of lobster. Looking for a little privacy? There are semi-private areas available that hold anywhere from 10 to 100 guests.
Nellcôte, 833 West Randolph Street (at Green Street); 312-432-0500.
Longman & Eagle
If your bestie needs a few stiff drinks in a chill place before she walks down the aisle, gather the gals at Longman & Eagle. With 300 kinds of whiskey, you’ll be primed for wherever the night takes you next. But, don’t leave without filling up on creative eats like cornmeal-battered soft-shell crab with asparagus or wild boar sloppy Joes with crispy sage on homemade sesame buns. The menu changes with the seasons, so you can expect lots of fresh, local ingredients.
Longman & Eagle, 2657 North Kedzie Avenue (at Schubert Avenue); 773-276-7110.
Salmon au poivre and Chateauneuf du Pape at a refined French bistro followed by bottle service and dancing at a rooftop nightclub — c’est magnifique. And, you can get both under one roof at Paris Club. Semi-private dining spaces are available at the downstairs bistro. Upstairs at Studio Paris, expect loud music and long lines of pretty people — you and your bridesmaids included.
Paris Club, 59 West Hubbard Street (at Clark Street); 312-595-0800.
Sushi has become so commonplace, it’s veered into Netflix-binge takeout territory for most of us. For a special occasion, like a friend’s last meal as a single lady, try a different type of Asian cuisine at Laughing Bird, a brand-new Lincoln Square eatery serving upscale Filipino food. Start your meal with the burrata, which is served with a unique coco jam that has the consistency of pudding and tastes like not-too-sugary caramel. It makes for an insanely delicious sweet/salty pairing with the creamy cheese and slightly charred spring onions. Main courses include beautifully executed versions of traditional Filipino dishes like Adobo chicken and pancit palabok (garlicky seafood noodles).
Laughing Bird, 4514 North Lincoln Avenue (at Sunnyside Avenue); 773-506-2473.
Live DJs create an instant party vibe in this old bank turned hip and sexy restaurant. Reserve a table in the vault ($500 food/beverage minimum), where you can nosh on oysters and sip Champagne until the wee hours. Small plates like grilled asparagus with Parmesan polenta are perfect for sharing. Entrées are subtly updated renditions of supper-club classics: The flat iron steak is gussied up with foie gras butter, and grilled rapini and fennel citrus salad save the chicken breast from feeling ordinary. Cure your “always-a-bridesmaid” blues with the salted caramel pot de crème. Yes, it’s that good.
The Bedford, 1612 West Division Street (at Ashland Avenue); 773-235-8800.
Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about “female-friendly” steakhouses since the announcement that STK plans to open a restaurant in River North. Reportedly, the chain caters to the fair sex with tiny, lady-sized steaks and feminine décor. If you’d prefer your filet mignon without a side of sexism, go to Bavette’s for one of the juiciest, gender-neutral steaks in Chicago. Tufted red-leather booths, dark wood, and antique fixtures create an atmosphere of timeless elegance — the perfect backdrop for an evening you’ll want to remember for years to come. Kick off the pre-nuptial festivities with a round of Champagne cocktails. There are six different bubbly concoctions to choose from, like the super potent (but delicious) French 75, made with a generous splash of gin.
Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, 218 West Kinzie Street (at Franklin Street); 312-624-8154.