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On the Blackboard: March 21

By Anthony Todd

Chicago is finally headed into spring, which means we can all come out of our ice caves and find the cure for the hibernation blues in bottomless brunches, high teas, and weekend noshing. Throw off those coats and get out into the world to experience these eight causes for celebration around the city.

Bingo happy hour at The Native
Thank goodness happy hour has returned to Chicago—every bar seems to be trying to outdo themselves with fun, unique deals. The Native, a new ‘70s-themed spot in Logan Square, has happy hour specials that include the “Chicago Handshake” (Malort and Old Style) and draft beers for $4. And on Tuesdays they’re running a free bingo game with real prizes, “White Elephant” style—so if you don’t like your prize, you can slip it to someone else and steal their prize. The whole thing sounds like a lot of cheap, boozy fun.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

Comics and pastries at Martyrs’
Are you a comic geek? Are you a sweets lover? If you’re both, then this is your dream come true. At Martyrs', comics and desserts are colliding in the best way possible: Five of Chicago’s top pastry chefs—including those from Blackbird, Lula Café, NoMi, and GT Fish & Oyster—have given five local comic artists a dessert, and asked them to design character and comic around it. On March 27, see what they’ve come up with—whatever happens, it’s sure to be as fun as it is delicious. Tickets (available online) are only $10, and proceeds go to Common Threads.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square MAP


M Burger

Free (not kidding) birthday burgers at M Burger
Yes, there are some great deals out there—but nothing is better than free. To celebrate its seventh birthday, M Burger will be giving out free burgers all day on Wednesday, March 22. All you have to do is buy something (anything—even a small order of fries) and you can have any burger on the menu for free. We’re not saying you should do a crawl to every M Burger location and get free food all day. We’re just saying that you could.
Neighborhood: in six locations around town

American dim sum brunch at AceBounce
AceBounce is at the leading edge of the new ping pong bar trend (yes, you read that right) and they’ve just launched what might be the best brunch deal in town. Every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., guests can get bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys, unlimited small plates—including dishes like oatmeal crème brûlée, coconut shrimp dumplings, and eggs Florentine pizza prepared by chef Rick Gresh—and, of course, free ping pong. The whole deal is served cart style, just like dim sum, and only costs $39 per person. For two hours of unlimited fun, that’s not bad.
Neighborhood: Downtown MAP

Fancy tea at Fig & Olive
If you’re a sucker for high tea, Fig & Olive’s new bag is just about perfect. Starting March 22, this high tea happens every Wednesday through Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.—call it an afternoon indulgence, a happy hour, or a weekend break. For $35 per person, you get tea from Tea Forte plus a ton of dishes, including a truffled egg salad sandwich, an heirloom tomato tartlet, a Fig & Almond canele, and lots more.
Neighborhood: Gold Coast MAP


The Barn

The Barn’s late-night menu is worth the drive
You’re probably already sold on this new “meaterie” from Amy Morton and Nicole Pederson thanks to the rave reviews it’s been earning, but if the location (it’s up in Evanston) gives you pause, start figuring out transportation now, because this deal is too fun to pass up. Starting at 10 p.m. every Saturday night, The Barn turns into a cross between a speakeasy and a dive bar. There are games like backgammon, fancy bottled cocktails served in vintage jars, salty bar snacks and more—plus, you can get any wine on their extensive wine list by the glass. Splurge on a fancy quaff, deal some cards, and wile away the night.
Neighborhood: Evanston MAP

Guest star pizzaioli at Eataly
Eataly is well known for its awesome pizza, though one thing it doesn’t do is change all that often—until now. Through the end of April, they’re inviting guest chefs in to create special, signature pizzas that are each only available for one day. What a great way to get something totally unique from some pretty fancy chefs, without having to pay for a $100 dinner at their restaurants! A few examples: Matthias Merges of Yusho will be there on March 28, Bill Kim of Urban Belly will be cooking on April 4, and Edward Kim of Ruxbin on April 18. More are being announced all the time, so be sure to check the schedule online.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Suck the heads at Big Jones
It’s crawfish season, and for the first time ever, Big Jones, the acclaimed Southern restaurant in Andersonville, is celebrating with something special. From now until April 15, there’s an entire menu of crawfish favorites—including boudin, chowder, crawfish pie, and more—to enjoy. If you want to spend a tiny bit extra, for $50 per person, Chef Paul Fehribach will fly in fresh crawfish just for you and throw you a whole boil, including drinks on Thursday nights–just be sure to book 24 hours in advance. Talk about a great way to celebrate, well, anything!
Neighborhood: Andersonville MAP

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