Canadian Plastics

Out on the town at NPE

"Chicago is my kind of town", Frank Sinatra once sang....

June 1, 2006   By Mark Stephen, associate editor



“Chicago is my kind of town”, Frank Sinatra once sang.

And if you’re attending or exhibiting at the National Plastics Exhibition (NPE) 2006, taking place June 19 to 23, 2006, the Windy City can be your kind of town too, provided you know what you want and where to find it.

FINE DINING AND OTHERWISE

Although NPE 2006 wraps up by 5:00 p.m. each day, clinching that new client may mean extending business outside of regular office hours.

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Chicago’s online city guide, www.chicago.citysearch.com, lists the city’s top 10 business places to wine and dine prospective clients.

Topping that list is Keefer’s (20 W. Kinzie St.), the perfect setting to close a deal over top-notch steaks and a bottle of port.

However, if you’re in the mood for something a little more exotic, try the bronze medal winner, China Grill (230 N. Michigan Ave.), particularly appropriate for NPE-goers for its Plexiglas wall of wine.

Other popular business dining venues include Narcisse Restaurant (710 N. Clark St), and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (431 N. Dearborn St.).

But if you’d rather skip the formalities and settle for some beer and wings, try the ESPN Zone (43 E. Ohio St.) or McGees (950 W. Webster Ave). For those who’d like to pay homage to “da Bears”, Mike Ditka’s Restaurant (100 E. Chestnut St.) is the ideal spot, and show-goers who prefer baseball to football should stop by Harry Caray’s Restaurant (33 W. Kinzie St.).

If Italian cuisine is more to your taste Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (439 N. Wells St.) is highly recommended as is the Italian Village (71 W. Monroe St.).

And for avid-meat eaters looking to sink their teeth into classic Chicago-style slabs of red meat, the Chicago Chop House (60 W. Ontario St.) or the Fireplace Inn (1448 N. Wells St.) — famous for its Fred Flintstones-sized ribs — are great places to get your protein fix.

But let’s not forget the herbivores among us: Vegetarians visiting NPE won’t have to go hungry. Charlie Trotter’s in the five-star Wyndham Chicago Hotel (816 W. Armitage Ave.) offers such vegetable dishes as rosemary tart with grilled treviso, cauliflower, maitake mushrooms and red cabbage.

However, if you like the feel of chopsticks in your hand, visit Kizoku Sushi & Lounge (358 W. Ontario St.). And if you can think of a way to expense it, try the ‘body sushi’, which is eaten off the nubile form of a belly dancer, and only costs a paltry US$500 for a party of four.

For those NPE attendees who’ve brought spouses or significant others along with them, but who may have spent one late night too many out with clients, Chicago has many romantic restaurants to help make amends. Try Angelina Ristorante (3561 N. Broadway Ave.), Le Titi de Paris (1015 W. Dundee), or Trattoria No. 10 (10 N. Dearborn St.).

As a final piece of advice, NPE attendees would be wise to make reservations and check prices at these or any other restaurants before heading out for dinner.

RAISING THE BAR

However, if your quest to unwind from a hard day at NPE involves searching for the perfect drink, Chicago has no shortage of watering holes.

Among the hottest bars in the city are the ultra-modern Chi Bar (301 E. Water St.); a retro lounge, Under the Nut (200 E. Chestnut St.); and Elm Street Liquors (12 W. Elm St.). Classic cocktails can be downed at Jilly’s (1009 N. Rush St.) or Matchbox (770 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

But if expensive, fruity cocktails and expensive scotch just aren’t your thing, don’t despair; there are plenty of haunts for those craving an old-fashioned cold beer. Places like the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (1 W. Grand St.), The Beer Bistro (1061 W. Madison St.) and Justin’s (3358 N. Southport Ave.) will serve up both local and imported brews.

And if you have to choose between sightseeing or having a nice dinner and a drink, why not do both? For both a drink and a panoramic view of the city, pull up a stool 96 stories above the Magnificent Mile at the Signature Lounge, in the Hancock Building (875 N. Michigan Ave.).

GETTING — AND GETTING RID OF — THE BLUES

Chicago is the ‘Home of the Blues’, and remains the world’s supreme blues town. Some of the city’s best blues bars include the New Checkerboard Lounge, (5201 S. Harper Ct.), Buddy Guy’s Legends (754 S. Wabash Ave.), House of Blues (2519 N. Halsted St.) and Lee’s Unleaded Blues (7401 S. South Chicago Ave.).

If jazz is more your style then try the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (4802 N. Broadway St.), one of Chicago’s oldest jazz clubs; or the Jazz Showcase (59 W. Grand Ave.).

Classic rock’n’roll, however, is still alive in the Windy City. Why not check out the Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland Ave.). If more contemporary pop music is to your taste, go to the Double Door (1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.), and for those brave souls looking to unleash their inner American Idol, stop in at the Red-I late-night karaoke lounge (2201 S. Wentworth Ave.).

NPE show-goers interested in dancing all night to hip urban beats should visit the Crobar Nightclub, a well-known party palace at (1543 N. Kingsbury St.), where DJs spin techno, drum n’bass and progressive house.

For something lighter, attend a performance of the famous Second City comedy troupe, performing nightly at the Second City Theatre (1616 N. Wells St.).

Die-hard sports fans can catch both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox in live action during the week of June 18 to 24, at Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field, respectively.

To see more of the variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs that Chicago has to offer, visit www.chicago.citysearch.com, www.choosechicago.com or www.onlinechicagoguide.com and make the most of your evenings out during NPE 2006.

Wonders of the Windy City

* Field Museum of Natural History, open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm, adult admission $12. 1400 S. Lake Shore Rd. Tel: 312-922-9410., www.fieldmuseum.org

* The Art Institute of Chicago, open daily, adult admission $12. 111 S. Michigan Ave. Tel: 312-443-3600, www.artic.edu

* The Magnificent Mile shopping district, www.themagnificentmile.com

* Sears Tower Skydeck, open daily 10:00am to 10:00pm, adult admission $11.95. 233 S. Wacker Dr. www.the-skydeck.com


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