Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, June 30

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Drink Thu Dec 12 2013

Holiday Drinks: Seasonal Favorites

Throughout this month, Drive-Thru staffers will be writing about their favorite bars and restaurants to celebrate the holiday, as so much of the holiday is not the day itself, but the days that come before -- the places you end up at after a holiday party, a day of errands and shopping, or just to hide away from the shorter days and colder weather.

When the cold weather season comes around, all I want to do is drink. Don't get the wrong idea--I'm talkin' all sorts of drinks, from gold-hued tea to frothy cappuccinos to belly-warming beers to velvety hot chocolate. It's kind of my thing. However, although all of these beverages regularly inspire something festive in me, there are certain bars and cafes that just seem a little more in their element during the holiday season--places that fully embrace the coziness, the over-indulgence, and (because it's an essential part of it, too) the delightfully kitschy vibes of the holiday season. Here are some of my favorites.

Dollop Coffee and Teadollop.jpg
Multiple locations, but this review is specifically for the Uptown location, 4181 N Clarendon Ave.
This café is on the complete other side of town from where I live. I have to take a convoluted series of buses to get there, and it usually takes me upwards of 45 minutes to arrive. However, despite the fact that I've only been there a precious handful of times, I still consider this place my coffee shop. Home base. I first went there about a year ago, in the thick of winter, for a writing MeetUp group where I knew no one. I got lost on the way there. A wayward car sped past me and spattered sludge all over my new coat. But when I walked in the door, after the fog on my glasses had subsided, I felt like I'd found my happy place. This place brews Metropolis coffee, sells Hoosier Mama pie slices, and has the means to satisfy pretty much any snacking need. Gather your spoils and head to the back of the café--there, down a few steps, you will find the coziest room in existence, practically designed to accommodate the lengthy process of writing out your holiday wish list.

The Map Roommap_room.jpg
1949 N. Hoyne
"A travelers' tavern." This warm, inviting bar is a proper bar, no small plates or mixologists, no blaring music or dainty décor--a dying breed, it sometimes seems? Let's certainly hope not, for there are few better places than the local tavern to get properly imbibed as snow falls outside the window and regulars nosh on pretzel sticks at the bar. Opened in 1992, the Map Room boats an impressive list of draft beers (including, of course, some international players) and a dose of wanderlust: topographical maps line the walls and book shelves are stocked with previous issues of National Geographic. Think rich wooden accents, cable-knit sweaters, and a dash of adventurers' spirit. The bar features nightly specials and even hosts their own "Beer School" on select nights, where local brewers come speak about beer and how to enjoy it like a pro.

The Green Eye Loungegreeneye.jpg
2403 W Homer St (under the Blue Line Western stop)
All of the character of a dive bar without the seediness. A pretty standard spot for a solid night of drinking: nice extensive draft list featuring plenty of craft beers, wall space available for local artwork, and a strong following of regulars. However, during the holiday season, I like my bars lit up with the otherworldly glow of oversized Christmas-themed lawn ornaments-- and hopefully you do too. The Green Eye takes the art of holiday decorating with all of the seriousness of a suburban dad trying to out-spirit the Joneses. As a "Home Alone" marathon whiles away the hours til Christmas on TV, drink your brew in the company of scarf-sporting penguins, beer mug-shaped Christmas lights, and a fake fireplace mounted upon the wall. If there's any place that will make you willing to brave 1 degree weather for a hearty drink--it's gotta be this one.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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