Anna Maria Locke

a weekend of celebrating

 (photos from Anna S. since I didn't bring a camera out all weekend!)

My three best girlfriends and I all have birthdays within a 10 day span in April, and we always make sure to celebrate in the biggest, most drawn-out way possible. This past weekend Anna (pronounced the "regular way" as opposed to my "European way") came to Chicago to celebrate her birthday last week and my early birthday which is this Friday!

We've been experiencing a WONDERFUL and unexpected string of sunny days here, so even though it was chilly over the weekend, walking around outside under a blue sky felt so amazing and care-free! We kicked things off with a mimosa brunch and just let things roll from there.

We ended up in Wicker Park most of the weekend, which I loved because there are so many great restaurants/bars/shops there that I've wanted to check out! Here's a list of where we went in case you're ever visiting Chicago and looking for recommendations:

The Fifty/50--We came here for brunch because their website says they offer unlimited bacon, but sadly they had changed the menu and no longer serve that. The rest of the food was tasty though. I had the breakfast lasagna, which was basically a melted pile of bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and tasted like a bacon cheeseburger, AKA amazing. This place is a sports bar and would definitely be good for dinner. Apparently their wings are delicious. I don't think we'll ever come back for brunch just because there are so many brunch places here, although the mimosa buckets came with adorable mini Prosecco bottles!

FatPour Tapworks--After brunch we wandered in here because it was nearby and I'd wanted to check it out for a long time. Basically it's a huge and clean bar with like 50 taps. I wasn't blown away by the atmosphere and beer selection at the moment, although now I see they have one of my favorite west coast beers (Lost Coast Downtown Brown), Sierra Nevada Torpedo on draft, and a huge cider and Belgian selection if you're into that, so I'll give them some belated bonus points. I like Village Tap in Roscoe Village better in terms of local/unusual/seasonal tap selection and cozy atmosphere.

Buzz: Killer Espresso--So after hitting up two bars before 3 pm we were in desperate need of some caffeine so we stopped by Buzz: killer (how appropriate), which has a brand new interior and a million kinds of coffee to choose from. Definitely the place if you're a coffee snob.

Briciola--We came to this Italian restaurant for dinner and I'm a huge fan for three reasons:
1. Not only do they give you a bread basket, but they bring you complimentary bruschetta!
2. It's BYOB so you can save a fortune on wine.
3. Homemade pasta.
Need I say more? It was pretty cramped and crowded inside so I'd DEFINITELY make a reservation. Also, it seems to be located randomly in a residential area so parking is tough to find.

The Violet Hour--A pretentious, hidden "speakeasy" with an atmosphere that makes you lose track of all time and a ridiculously amazing cocktail list. All the drinks are $12 but you only need one and you get what you pay for...even the ice is carved to fit your glass and type of drink. ALMOST too cool for school but I definitely want to come back to try more of the drinks. Probably not for you if you don't like bitters (herbal liqueur) or expect constant attention from your server. Great place for a date night...if you have a larger group expect to wait in line to get in.

What did you do this weekend? Anything fun?