These Excellent Restaurants & Bars Are Open Christmas Day
By Stephen Gossett in Food on Dec 23, 2016 9:01PM
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, or just have a healthy skepticism toward knee-jerk traditionalism—or perhaps you just really hate doing dishes—dining out on Dec. 25 can be a seriously appetizing proposition. There are a surprisingly large number of options available in Chicago, dozens actually. So rather than cripple you with paradox of restaurant choice, we’ve whittled it down to a handful of standouts—including some bars you might want to escape to when family time and Christmas cheer all get to be too much to bear. Here’s where to head.
The interior of the Cape Cod Room. Photo via The Drake.
The Cape Cod Room
CCR is the kind of old-world, white-tablecloth hotel restaurant that doesn’t seem long for these times. To be sure, the old-school seafood spot is in fact closing its doors at year’s end. We’re sad to report that the room is now booked for Christmas Day, but we think it’s worth a call or two or five day of to cruise for cancelations. As our food writer noted when news of the closure arrived, the restaurant pendulum is swinging back appreciation for such yesteryear timelessness. If you can get the real deal, on a holiday no less, before some trendy hospitality group serves back the repackaged version, do what you can to make it happen.
The Cape Cod Room is located at The Drake Hotel, 140 E Walton Pl.
A bevy of restaurants in Chinatown are open on Dec. 25, for rather obvious reasons: grabbing Chinese food on Christmas Day is a traditional all of its own, particularly among Jewish people. Options include the great tapioca/smoothie spot Joy Yee Noodle, about which we’ve waxed poetic before, but you can’t do better than this lovably boisterous, much-celebrated dim sum/Cantonese favorite. Whatever you do, make sure to try the Macau Style Roast Pork Belly, semi-legendary among aficionados.
MingHin Cuisine is located at 2168 S. Archer Ave.
Via Nico Osteria
The Italian favorite is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, serving brunch on both. (The Feast of Seven Fishes is a long-running, much-loved Eve tradition.) Christmas Day dinner menu offers “regional classics” and “seasonal favorites,” from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Nico Osteria is located at 1015 N. Rush.
Replay Beer & Bourbon
Enjoy a retro vibe of a whole different kind than Italian and hotel-restaurant classicism this Lakeview barcade. (Note: Despite this being a Lakeview bar, you are neither required nor encouraged to binge drink, despite what trends indicate.) Replay opens its doors—and impressive tap list, bourbon shelves and free (!) arcade games—at 7 p.m., serving as a self-professed Island of Misfit Toys. If you like a little joystick analog with your holiday joy, or just need a boozy break from the overwhelming enormity of the day, this is looks like a way to call timeout.
Replay is located at 3439 N Halsted St.
For once, you might actually not have to arrive early on a weekend night at Logan Square’s favorite skee-ball-themed dance club to avoid Slippery Slope’s notorious lines. Or maybe it’ll be business as usual, with sweaty throngs filling the dance floor, regardless of time of year. The Slope, which is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., might be the best option for a post-festivity rager. Expect lots of “drinks, jams and Chinese food.”
Slippery Slope is located at 2357 N Milwaukee Ave.
Travelle Kitchen + Bar
Michelin star-winning chef and Tru vet Tim Graham may have decamped earlier this year to forge his own venture, but the annual Christmas brunch at this swank, Mediterranean-focused Langham Hotel spot carries on. Now something of a new tradition after a few years, the buffet and/or cooked-to-order offering is one of the precious few pre-dinner options to stand out, running from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Travelle is located at 330 N. Wabash Ave.
photo via Vermillion
“If you’re bored of honey-glazed ham and not animated about playing host” this upscale Indian-Latin fusion spot on the Near North Side offers a five-course herb-and-spice dinner for $50. (Their ham is mango coriander; beat that, Aunt Betty.) A vegetarian menu is available, as are Christmas cocktails, such as pumpkin horchata and coconut saffron crème.
Vermilion is located at 10 W. Hubbard St.
Mercat a la Planxa
This South Loop staple is serving up excellent Spanish dishes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—stop by for brunch before 3 p.m. for a price-fixed meal at $35 a person, or visit in the evening for a $75, four-course dinner featuring choices such as Roasted Suckling Pig, Block Cod and Grilled Lamb Chop. Make a reservation now if you want to make this your last-minute Christmas Day plan.
Mercat a la Panxa is located at 638 S. Michigan Ave.
When Christmas Day gets overwhelming, sneak out for a drink at this divey Lincoln Park spot. Delilah's is screening a Star Wars holiday special in the evening as a twist on their regularly-scheduled Sunday Film Night. A DJ will also be spinning later in the night.
Delilah's is located at 2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
If you're like me and you remember Christmas being much more fun when you were a kid, Headquarters might just be the Christmas Day spot for you. This spacious River North arcade bar has dozens of vintage games and pinball machines to make anyone feel like a kid again, plus an extensive menu of drinks, bar snacks and burgers.
Headquarters is located at 213 W. Institute Place