The Run Down

This guide has us in Lakeview and starts off with a nice wholesome evening of Korean fried chicken and cupcakes. Our wholesome night starts to take a turn when we make to a karaoke bar just down the street. With our night time debauchery fully underway, we end the evening at a basement dance club where we'll be kicking back cheap drinks to 90s/00s hip-hop. Here are the details.

1. Korean Chicken @ Crisp

2. Creme Brulee @ Molly's Cupcake

3. Karaoke @ Trader Todd's

4. Dance @Baby Atlas

1. Crisp

We’ve got a long night ahead of us, so we’re stopping by Crisp to feast on a plate of bibimbap and Korean fried chicken wings. If you’re wondering what the difference is between regular fried chicken and Korean fried chicken, well, Korean friend chicken has a thinner crust, is fried twice which makes it extra crispy, and the version at this eatery is coated in one of three scrumptious sauces. Here are some helpful notes to think about when you come.

– Crips is an order at the counter restaurant.

– If you come during prime dinner time, expect the place to be packed. They have a few long picnic tables and stools along the walls and window.

– Don’t worry if all seats are taken when you come in — they turnover pretty fast. By the time you get your food, something should open up. A bit off topic, but there have been academic papers examining the psychology behind busy restaurant environments and how fast tables turnover.  Here’s one from Cornell for your reading pleasure.

You’ll most likely be sitting family style, so get cozy and have a seat wherever you can find. 

Each piece of chicken is the combined drum and wing, and you can get them in three flavors. Here’s their menu description.

– Crisp BBQ – A homemade Korean / American fusion BBQ sauce that’s a little spicy, a little sweet and a little smoky. Prepared with fresh herbs and spices.

– Seoul Sassy – A family recipe handed down over many generations. A subtly sweet sauce prepared with ginger, soy, garlic and other select spices.

– Buffalo –  This buffalo sauce is from their favorite Chicago Hot Dog Stand, Budacki’s Drive-In.

This is a heavy piece of chicken, so pair it with a plate of their bibimbap (rice and mixed veggies). It’s nice to reset the pallet with fresh veggies after a few pieces of chicken.

They’ve got a few additional sauces on the tables to turn up the chicken an extra notch. Gochujang is condiment that’s a staple in Korean cuisine.

2. Molly’s Cupcake

Our next stop is Molly’s Cupcake, which is less than a 15 min walk from Crisp. We’re here to grab dessert at this small street side bakery. The cupcake renaissance that started in the early 2000s peaked a few years ago and now only the strongest cupcake bakeries have survived. One of those is Molly’s Cupcake, which has made us true believers.

Their cupcakes come with a filling in the middle, which for me is always the best part.  I’m singling out one of their cupcakes in particular — it’s their Creme Brulee cupcake. In the pictures below, it’s the one with the raspberry and blueberry resting on the caramelized sugar muffin top. Inside is a creamy custard that pulls it all together. You put 5 of those in front of me with a cup of coffee, and there’s no way I have the will power to not eat them all in one sitting.What’s also nice about this place is that they are open late. They are open until 10pm on Sunday – Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the are open until midnight.

There are some board games on their shelves, so you can easily just post up here for the night and chill. If you want to get a little wild, then keep on reading. 

3. Trader Todd’s

You don’t want the night to end so we’re moving on down the street to put our own musical talents to the test. We’re here at Trader Todd’s, a karaoke bar with not one, but two karaoke systems in the place. Right as you enter the front entrance, you’ll see the karaoke DJ to your right and a small stage with microphones and a karaoke screen.

Put your request in with the DJ. Who knows, there might be a music talent agent sitting in the back of the bar looking for undiscovered talent, and after you sing your rendition of Whitney Houston’s, “I Will Always Love You,” you’ll get signed to a mega deal and have us to thank.

Alternatively, you’ll just get a night of fun memories with friends and perhaps a few laughs to go with it.

4. Baby Atlas

We’re now deep into the night and we’re at a critical decision point. Keep the night going or just go home. For all of you who are in the “keep the night going” column, we’re going down the street to dance off the last of our energy. At the corner of Barry Ave. and Sheffield is a bar called Matilda. This is your normal corner restaurant/pub, but as you walk by you’ll hear sounds of 90, early 2000’s hip-hop creeping out through the basement doors.

Follow the music and make your way to “Baby Atlas,” this basement dance club underneath Matilda. There’s no cover, the drinks are cheap, and all you got to do is bring your dance skills to the floor.

Here are the stairs down to Baby Atlas.The crowd comes in waves in this small basement club. At one moment it’s packed, and the next thing you’ll know, you have it all to yourself until the next group of revelers stumble upon the place.