The Run Down
Andersonville is well known as the go-to neighborhood for all things Swedish, but it also has some pretty fantastic antique stores. As luck would have it, there are some great places to eat and drink in the neighborhood as well. So today, we’re checking all three boxes!
1. Lunch @ Kopi Café
2. Antiquing @ Brimfield
3. Post-shopping drinks @ Simon’s Tavern
1. Kopi Cafe
Shopping on an empty stomach should be a crime, so we’re going to avoid it by making Kopi our first stop. This isn’t your run-of-the mill café. Kopi has been around for Andersonville for almost 30 years. It’s one part cafe with a worldly selection of teas, coffee, wine, and food, and one part boutique with interesting items sourced from all over the world. It has a bohemian vibe that, simply put, is easy to love.
Now onto the food. If you’re vegetarian or pescatarian, then this place will be right up your alley. They have an all-day breakfast menu and creative mix of lunch options like grilled organic tofu and tempeh drizzled in an Indonesian sweet soy sauce and a veggie Italian beef.
We opted for the Smoked Salmon Tartine and weren’t disappointed. A healthy portion of savory smoked salmon on a baguette is perhaps expected, but what really gives this sandwich its umami is the wasabi dill cream cheese. It’s rich, spicy, and the perfect complement to the smokiness of the salmon.
If you’re not one to forgo dessert, the chai milkshake shouldn’t be missed. It is dangerously good… the danger being that you could easily finish a second one before you even realize you’ve ordered it.
Now that we’re properly fueled, it’s time to shop. Andersonville is full of great shops, but today’s focus is Brimfield: a lovely little storefront stocked full of 20th century furniture and décor, adorable knick-knacks, and no shortage of wool or plaid.
Honestly, I want to live in this store. It smells like mountain pine and has a fun vintage summer camp aesthetic going on.
The story of Brimfield actually started overseas in 1999, when its founders moved to the UK. While there, they turned antiquing from a hobby to a passion. Upon moving back to the states, they turned that passion into a business. And you can tell passion fuels all they do here. Brimfield is a great place to find an eye-catching centerpiece or any number of unique curios for your place. Of course, if you’re waiting for pay day, this is also a great shop to simply wander and get décor ideas.
3. Simon’s Tavern
Now that we’ve found some awesome antiques, there’s no better way to celebrate the perfect vintage find than with a drink! Welcome to Simon’s Tavern. The sign features a fish drinking a martini, so you know it’s a good bar.
Things you’ll find at Simon’s:
2. A wildly diverse jukebox
3. Great prices
4. Glögg slushies (maybe the most important thing of all)
Let’s talk about Glögg. Glögg is a delicious Swedish mulled wine made from port wine and spices, like cardamom and cinnamon. It might also include some added liquor that you can’t really taste when you drink it, but you can definitely feel afterward. Consider that a warning.
Aside from great prices and tasty glögg, Simon’s also has that great divey feel without the sticky floors or smell of stale beer. Like all the great dives in Chicago, it is cash only–but they do have an ATM at the bar.
Most days, you can find the owner, Scott, engaging in conversation with both regulars and new patrons alike. If you ask (and perhaps even if you don’t), he’ll give you a tour of the bar––complete with the history of the neighborhood and how Simon’s came to be. I won’t spoil any of it here, but definitely ask about the portrait hanging just inside the door.