Restaurant Review: Band of Bohemia

Hello My Fellow Foodie,

If you’ve been around here for a while, whether you follow me on my Social channels or subscribe to my blog, you know that I have an obvious love for fashion. My other true love though comes in the form of food. As happy as I would be to dive into a freshly steamed pile of Christian Siriano dresses, I’d be equally as happy stuffing my face with medium rare lamb chops and truffle mac n cheese. My mouth is just salivating thinking about it.

That’s why when I was asked by a coworker to cofound a lady’s supper club, it was a true no brainer. And then I thought, well this would be a perfect opportunity to document my (hopefully) delicious endeavors and report back to you as to whether these hot spots are worth your hard-earned dollars. So here I am, reporting out on my first supper club experience. Read on to gorge yourself with my Band of Bohemia review.

Band of Bohemia was the first restaurant we all wanted to explore. A hop skip and a jump away from the Loop, it is strategically located in Ravenswood right off the Metra train stop. You can’t miss it as soon as you step out on the platform. Location was convenient and there’s even some parking if you wish to drive. At this point, it was so far so good.

Walking into the joint was surprising. It is ginormous in there. It was dimly lit but decorated to the nines. Think warehouse shabby chic with a variety of seating options, an inviting bar area and open kitchen. There was candlelight, soft, jewel-toned couches, drapery and an expansive bar top area. While waiting for our table, our group situated ourselves at the bar to grab a drink. I would say the inside itself is a great selling point. Okay, still so far so good.

To be completely honest, I think the drinks were, in my opinion, the best part of the entire experience. Band of Bohemia is actually a brewery as well as a restaurant. Not only do they have a fully stocked bar, but the menu offers up a wide array of specialty cocktails and craft brews. Inventive, innovative and imaginative is how I would describe these colorful concoctions. Out of the box ingredients complemented the more usual cocktail combinations. I had the Lazy Daisy, Magic Wand and I indulged in one of their locally-crafted Pale Ales. All were spectacular. Another really high selling point for this place.

Food wise. This is where the place missed the mark for me. It was what I was gearing up for the entire planning period. It fell flat. I guess going into it, given the name, I expected the cuisine to be either Middle Eastern or Asian. In reality, it was kind of a mix of a lot of things. A more gastropub of global eclectic food, which I really appreciated. Regardless of what you want to call it, what we had was fine, some of it amazing, but it didn’t completely blow my socks off. Some of the items we got off the menu included: Walleye Crudo, the Octopus starter, I ordered the Halibut with Pineapple three ways as an entree and Garam Masala Ice Cream dessert , but I would say the best taste any of us took that night was the Dill dessert. It was refreshing and something that I’ve never tasted before. That’s coming from me, someone who doesn’t even like sweets and my favorite thing on the menu was their dessert.

Portions were also pretty insubstantial. I think I actually left there and went home to eat some leftovers because I was still hungry and maybe that’s where I left not fully satisfied. Perhaps if I left feeling sufficiently full, the food would have been better perceived. Like I said, the food was not terrible, it was good, but just okay. If someone planned a night and picked this place as their dinner spot, sure I’d join (mainly for drinks and dessert) but would I voluntarily go there again myself…probably not.

Overall, I would give Band of Bohemia a 5 out of 10. It was fine, there’s really no other words I can think of to describe it. If you are choosing between a few options and this Ravenswood spot is one of them, I’d advise maybe considering elsewhere first. This joint does have a Michelin Star and a very high-rated Brunch menu though and that means something to me, so maybe I need to give it another shot.

Sincerely,

Top 10 Rosé All Day Chicago Spots

Dear Fellow Chicagoans (or people traveling to Chicago soon),

Whenever I’m traveling and say I’m from Chicago, I often get asked the question “how do you survive those winters?” The reason I’m so passionate about Chicago and tough it through our brutal winters is because when the harsh months are a thing of the past, we can truly say that we’ve earned our Summer. And there is no better place in the world to be than in Chicago during Summertime. From beaches to parks, downtown to quaint neighborhoods, Chicago has it all. One of the best things to do in the city during the Summer is walk around until you find the perfect patio to set up camp at for the afternoon and sip on your favorite rosé. Okay, maybe that’s just me, but if it isn’t and you’re looking for the top spots in the city to rosé all day, I have curated a list of my top bucket list destinations for the perfect, crisp glass of blush-colored wine. I’d also love to know where you’ve been celebrating rosé season this year, so put some place down below in the comments!

1. Cindy’s Rooftop // Instagram

The highly-coveted Cindy’s rooftop bar and restaurant on the 13th floor of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in the loop has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. The panoramic views of the city, overlooking Millennium Park, are just to die for. Not only do they have a rotating large-format list of cocktails and premium food options, but they also offer a variety of select rosés, perfect for those hot Summer nights. I hear getting in here can be a real pain, so make sure to reserve a spot as soon as you are considering. The high prices can also deter people away, so perhaps save this spot for a really special occasion.

2. Katana Chicago // Instagram

Katana Chicago is a chic, upscale Japanese eatery offering a robust menu including sushi and modern cocktails. This place was never on my radar until this year. I have followed a local PR agency called Monica Dixon PR and Katana happens to be one of their clients. The reason this hip spot caught my eye was because of their Rosé Friday specials. Bottomless fountains and rosé specials from 4-7pm every Friday to kick off your weekend with a bang. The menu looks inventive and eclectic, all up my alley, but again this is probably another place you’d want to reserve for a really special occasion.

3. Hampton Social // Instagram

I mean how could I not include this place on my list, it literally has a “Rosé all day” neon sign right in the dining room. This place has all of the iconic, East Coast vibes, which is perfect for a hot Summer afternoon. Many sources online revealed that The Hampton Social actually has ½ off rosé of the day Monday-Friday during their Happy Hour which runs from 3-6pm. I included this one because although I’ve never been there, it seems like one of those Instagrammable staples you have to try at least once in your life.

4. Beatnik on the River // Instagram

So I actually have been here before, but I just HAD to include it because it truly is that good. From the Spanish and Mediterranean décor, fringe umbrellas, colorful upholstery, this place is like magic. It offers up some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had in my life, which comes in small plates so you can try a little bit of everything. I’m telling you from an insider’s perspective, get the fried rice and the curry meatballs. The rosé selection is also abundant with options from all over the world making it, in my opinion, the perfect place to drink pink! Grab your girlfriends, your cameras, get there early to snag a prime spot and spend the entire afternoon here.

5. Parlor Pizza // Instagram

I have also been here, but thought it was a great place to include on this list for a couple of different reasons. One, the patio at this West Loop location is just unparalleled especially in this area. The patio is huge and has such a vibrant energy that makes it the perfect place for a Happy Hour after work or to hang at on the weekends. Two, the specialty pizzas are out of this world good. With a wide variety, there’s something on the menu for everyone in your party. And three, the rosé drink I always gravitate towards here is actually Frosé. For those unfamiliar, it’s basically frozen rosé, almost rose in margarita style, which makes this the ideal drink to order when temperatures are just a little too high. Sit at a table on the patio under an umbrella and spend your afternoon sipping on this frozen masterpiece. It’s a different take on your typical rosé, and that’s fun, but hurry before this location officially closes!

6. North Pond // Instagram

I found this place while doing research for this post and I’m kind of obsessed. North Pond is a Michelin-starred farm-to-table restaurant right on the edge of Lincoln Park’s North Pond (hence the name). Just from looking at pictures, this place totally reminds me of Central Park in New York. It just has that vibe. I assume prices are steep as they offer prix-fixe menus, but definitely a place to consider if you are looking to splurge. I also read they have a stellar selection of rosé options from still to sparkling, both of which I am not opposed to.

7. Etta // Instagram

I wanted to include Bucktown’s Etta because of the rosé special they offer. Bottomless rosé tub for a group of people for $35 a person? I didn’t think that was too shabby.

8. Piccolo Sogno // Instagram

I have been to Piccolo Sogno once for a baby shower and the food was incredible. I love going with a big group of people because you get to order and sample a bunch of menu items. Unfortunately, on the day of my visit to this iconic spot, it was raining hard, and I couldn’t sit outside in their renowned patio. At a glimpse, I could tell it would be the prettiest place to grab a table and sip on some sparkling rosé. It’s on my list before Summer ends for sure!

9. City Winery // Instagram

I had to include City Winery (the Riverwalk location) because the only time I’ve been here was on a team outing for work so we could sit in the iconic igloos. It was literally snowing outside….so now that I’ve had that experience, I now need to experience City Winery in all its glory on a nice, sunny Summer day. Sit out by the river right in the hustle and bustle of the loop and sip on rosé? Sounds like the perfect day to me!

10. Saint Lou’s Assembly // Instagram

I went to Saint Lou’s about two weeks ago and absolutely LOVED it! It is the perfect Happy Hour spot after work especially with a small group. During their Happy Hour, they have a 4-piece fried chicken, 2 biscuits and a bottle of rosé special for only $40. The food was incredible and the patio was so much fun!

Sincerely,