Municipal Bar + Dining Co.

By Molly Durham

Waltzing into a River North bar, you may expect walls plastered with screens and party music at noon. This is true about Municipal Bar and Dining Company, but once you take in the TV-flooded brick walls, round booths, and metal-filled interior, you realize their talents are hidden in the kitchen. They clearly take care with their food here, making everything in house and focusing on easily shareable comfort foods. Chef Jeffery Arasi’s standout is the Reuben, with corned beef brined for 18 days (his mom’s original recipe). Rich with flavor, it’s gooey, warm, and one seriously comforting lunch. The salty short rib slider, slathered in hoisin and topped with cabbage slaw, Japanese aioli, red jalapeño, and cilantro is another star, and is the best choice out of the three slider options. Cold apps like the lobster-avocado salad and hot apps like the Angus beef meatballs—stuffed with mozzarella and served in fresh tomato sauce—round out the menu, making it perfect for everything from a lone lunch to a late night gathering.

the crowd

Professionals having a midday meeting over some sliders and people getting their drinking started early in the day with the 50-plus beer list.

... on the side

beans to spill
Word is that Municipal Bar plans to knock down the back left wall to make way for a spacious deck come the warmer months.

on the stereo
One hundred percent Top 40; think Katy Perry’s “California Girls” and music you’d hear at a club.

Medium. The tunes will make you wish it was the weekend, but won’t distract you from your company (at least during lunchtime).


Sun–Fri 11 AM–2 AM; Sat 11 AM–3 AM

price range

$10 (Municipal burger) to $30 (NY strip steak)