Community

Lakeview/Wrigleyville Neighborhoods Area Guide

Lakeview

Lakeview is a neighborhood that spans the western half of Chicago’s greater Lakeview area. Packed with some of Chicago’s best restaurants and a shopping district with cool fashions you won’t find anywhere else in the city, Lakeview is the place for you. The area offers some of the best live music and entertainment around with a greater roster of venues and concert halls than any other area in Chicago, numerous theatrical companies, and comedy acts, avant-garde films, serious plays and original productions like you wouldn’t believe. Not only is Lakeview an exciting place to visit, but it is also one of the most sought-after places to buy real estate in Chicago. The most valuable properties in the city can be found in the area’s mid-rise condos and rehabbed walkups.

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Lakeview Then and Now
Lakeview started as the site of a Native American footpath and camp for the Miami, Ottawa and Winnebago tribes who regularly traveled through the area. The first European settler in the region was Conrad Sulzer, who helped to plant the roots of what would become Lakeview. The settlement’s first major population boom came after a cholera outbreak drove people away from Chicago in 1854. When these people saw spectacular Lake Michigan and scenic Lakeview, many decided to stay. In 1857 the Lake View civil township decided to incorporate. In the 1870s the population was just over a thousand and grew to more than 50,000 by 1890 when numerous jobs were created with the arrival of industry.

Lakeview has since become an area composed mostly of low- and mid-rise condominiums, along with townhouse-style buildings, brick walk-ups, and brownstones lining the residential blocks. Over 40% of these buildings were constructed during 1889 and have been continuously rehabbed over the years. From hushed residential avenues to areas bustling with nightlife, Lakeview has something for all within walking distance. Residents say being able to live on a quiet street, while being within easy walking distance of so much shopping, nightlife, and dining options, is one of the biggest draws of the area.

Lakeview Real Estate
The first thing visitors notice about Lakeview is the pervasiveness of turn-of-the-century mid- and low-rise rehabbed apartment buildings. With vintage brink festooning the exteriors of these buildings, they give off a charming antiquated feel that extends only as far as the front door. Many of these buildings have been gutted and refurbished with all the modern amenities one could wish for. Many of these buildings now host condominiums, boasting all new layouts, refinished hardwood floors, and updated kitchens and bathrooms.

Along with remodeled condominiums, there are a great many townhouses and detached single-family home options in Lakeview. Lakeview offers every thing from flats in stately graystones, three-level single-family townhomes, magnificent penthouses, or simple studio or one-bedroom units. This variety of housing options attracts a unique assortment of people ranging from young singles to families to retired folks. Most Lakeview real estate is built to fully maximize their lots, which gives the neighborhood a pleasant consistency and sense of maturity that appeals to many homebuyers.

Lakeview boasts some of the most active and involved neighborhood and commerce organizations in the city. The Lake View Citizens Council is composed of 12 neighborhood associations, all working to protect green spaces such as neighborhood parks, develop community gardens, enhance public transportation, keep housing affordable, retain the living wage and industrial jobs in the vicinity, and support other activities meant to improve the quality of life in the area. The Lakeview Action Coalition is another well-known non-profit, multi-issue community organization. The coalition is made up of 40 institutional members, including religious congregations, non-profit agencies, banks, business associations, a credit union and a senior citizens caucus. The coalition works with issues such as affordable housing, homeless youth, hate crimes, and heath care.

Lakeview Night on the Town
Lakeview is home to a bustling nightlife and a wide assortment and range in bars. With bars frequenting Lincoln Avenue, Clark Street, or Belmont Avenue, there is sure to be one for everyone’s tastes. For a hangout spot for those catching a show at the Metro, The Ginger Man (3740 N Clark, 773-549-2050) is considered one of the best bars in Lakeview. Ten Cat Tavern (3931 N Ashland, 773-935-5377) is off the beaten path, but it is still a cozy bar offering that neighborhood feel. The Long Room (1612 W Irving Park, 773-665-4500) offers a variety of drinks ranging from $5 Manhattans to $2 PBRs. Johnny O’Hagan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (3374 N Clark St, 773-248-3600) offers a low-key atmosphere, complete with decent bar food and live music. Wills Northwoods Inn (3030 N Racine, 773-281-6390) is a bar you have to really look for if you want to find it, but that helps keep the crowd manageable. The 404 Wine Bar (2856 N. Southport, 773-404-5886) is an ideal first date spot, with a small and cozy environment. If the mood for bourbon hits, the obvious choice is Bourbon (3244 N. Lincoln, 773-929-6666). On Mondays, Bourbon offers special prices on wine and $5 pizza. L & L (3707 N. Clark, 773-528-1303) is considered to be the king of Lakeview neighborhood dive bars, with no frills and no frou-frou drinks. Finally there’s Sidestreet (1456 W. George, 773-327-1127), an inexpensive bar that offers all the charm of a Wisconsin tavern.

For more information on Lakeview visit the Chamber of Commerce website by clicking here

Wrigleyville

The neighborhood of Wrigleyville was named for the baseball stadium that occupies its heart. It is one of Chicago’s smallest and most culturally vibrant neighborhoods with a rich history. The neighborhood is well-known as a hotspot for entertainment, dining, nightlife, and baseball. Wrigleyville is best known for being home to the Chicago Cubs and is an exciting place to live during the summer when the Major League season is in full swing. Games days are like a street festival as throngs of fans mob Wrigley Field decked in their favorite Cubbies apparel. The spillover of Cubs supporters who aren’t able to watch the action from inside the park take a seat at the local Wrigleyville bars that show the game on TV.

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Wrigleyville Then and Now
Wrigleyville is home to both the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, which is one of the most revered fields in the nation. Nicknamed “The Friendly Confines” by Cubs’ fans, it is the second oldest Major League ballpark still in use. Wrigley Field is also one of the smallest ballparks and is considered to be much more intimate and fan-friendly than most modern baseball stadiums.

Wrigleyville was once a large unpopulated area that was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889, when the number of residents began to grow at a very rapid pace. Originally it was a working-class neighborhood of European immigrants that did not become an urban destination spot until the baseball stadium was built in 1914 and a prosperous shopping district blossomed just to the south of the small community in the Lakeview neighborhood. When the stadium was first erected, it was called Weeghman Park after the club’s part owner Charles A. Weeghman. It became home to the Cubs two years later, but by 1918, Weeghman had ceded his shares in the Cubs to chewing gum mogul William Wrigley, who named Wrigley Field after himself. After nearly a decade with Wrigley as the owner, he finally saw it fit to expand the seating capacity of the stadium, relocating the grandstand, adding an upper deck, and putting in bleacher seats along right field.

One reason that Wrigley Field keeps its old time charm is its stubborn resistance to change. When Weeghman leased the ballpark property, he demanded that no renovations should ever exceed $70,000. While that condition has never been obeyed, it did set a standard for the sense of tradition that enables the old stadium to endure. Wrigley Field was the last Major League stadium in the nation to install lights. Not until 1988, after the team was sold to the Tribune Company, were floodlights added to the stadium design, enabling it to finally host night games. Even then the move was strongly resisted by longtime fans. Today, Wrigley Field lacks the electronic scoreboard and video screen that has become a fixture of professional sports arena across America and, instead, the park still uses the same manual scoreboard that was erected in 1937. The other distinguishing feature that sets Wrigley apart from the rest is the sheet of thick Boston ivy that grows on the brick wall in the outfield. The ball is often lost in the greenery, signaling a “ground rule double” (which means the batter automatically advances to second base).

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, which is blamed on the curse of the billy goat. According to legand, in 1945 the Cubs were in game four of the World Series against Detroit and a Wrigleyville tavern owner named Billy Sianis reportedly came to the game accompanied by his goat. Sianis was kicked out of the after he paraded his goat around on the field with a sign pinned to it that read “We Got Detroit’s Goat”. Livid, Sianis allegedly placed a curse on the team that they should never win another pennant. Although the Cubs haven’t made it to the World Series yet, but several times they have come breathtakingly close. The most recent season-ending tragedy was in 1993, when the Cubs found themselves enjoying a 3-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, a mere five outs from a trip to the World Series. As fate would have it, a Marlins batter hit a foul ball to the warning track in left field, still playable for outfielder Moises Alou, but very close to the stands. Alou put his glove up only to have it intercepted by a fan, who was then run out of town. At that point, the momentum took a dramatic shift; Florida went on to rally for eight unanswered runs in the eighth and ninth innings, and further deflated the Cubs chances at glory when they won game seven in Florida, depriving the Cubs of what many thought was rightfully theirs.

Wrigleyville Real Estate
Due to its close proximity to the lake, the vibrant nightlife and eclectic dining scene, Wrigleyville has become one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in all of Chicago. Rows of mid-rise buildings along the east and north edges of the Wrigleyville stadium are known for their unique feature that no other neighborhood in the city has: rooftop bleachers with an amazing view of Wrigley Field. While most fans watch the game from inside the park, many people pay massive amounts for seats outside Wrigley Field where they have the luxury of getting all the hotdogs, beer and peanuts they want, but without the crowds or lines.

Getting away from the central business and entertainment district of Clark Street, the rest of Wrigleyville’s neighborhood area is, for the most part, quiet tree-lined streets, densely packed with low- and mid-rise residential buildings, multi-unit condominiums, two- and three-flats, and magnificently restored single-family townhomes, which include rehabbed Victorian greystones.

Wrigleyville Night on the Town
Due to the neighborhood’s proximity Wrigley Field, there are plenty of sports bars lining Addison and Clark streets, and Sheffield and Waveland avenues, where droves of Cub fans go to celebrate both their victories and their losses. Murphy’s Bleachers (3655 N Sheffield Ave, 773-281-5356) hosts a huge crowd and charges around $4.50 for an import or microbrew. The Sports Corner Restaurant & Lounge (956 W Addison St, 773 929-1441) is nestled next to the western gate of the ballpark and is a baseball institution. This Wrigleyville neighborhood favorite boasts a large sidewalk patio and draws ticketless fans to watch the game on TV from its many barstools. The Cubby Bear (1059 W Addison St, 773-327-1662) boasts five full-service bars and another beer-only bar, and more than 50 HD TVs. Despite its super-sized facilities though, the Cubby Bear is perpetually overflowing with rowdy fans. After the game is over, the attention at the Cubby Bear turns to one of their several stages, where musicians perform and DJs spin into the night.

John Barleycorn (3524 N. Clark St, 773-549-6000) is an atmospheric bar that is attractive and trendy. With exposed brick walls and vaulted ceilings of thick wooden beams that are dressed with an occasional velvet curtain and antique chandelier, it’s a handsome setting for a night on the town or a bachelorette party. Sluggers Sports Bar & Dueling Pianos (3540 N Clark St, 773-248-0055) is your typical sports bar crossed with a Chuck E. Cheese, which is where every twenty-something Cubs fan wants to have their next birthday party. There are two “dueling pianos” that are situated upstairs and attract musicians from all over. The audience bellows requests and are invited to dance on the pianos as the pianists show off their chops, fostering a general state of debauchery. Also upstairs, Sluggers offers a full video arcade, a batting cage, several pool tables, air hokey, trampoline basketball, and skee-ball. Though affiliated with the bar, this portion of Sluggers is open to all ages. The Piano Man (3801 N Clark St, 773-868-9611) hosts friendly bartenders, a band of faithful regulars and cheap beer. Located just a block up Clark Street from Wrigley Field, Piano Man is a pleasant alternative to the bigger sports bars in the area. There’s a nice outdoor patio in the back and invites guests to bring their own food. The best part is that for the price of one beer in the ballpark, you can get a pitcher of Miller on every game day.

Goose Island Wrigleyville (3535 N Clark St, 773-832-9040) remains one of the top post-game destinations for Cubs fans. Goose Island is widely considered to be one of the best craft breweries in the nation, and it’s based out of hometown Chicago. Its beer distribution has grown in recent years to span 15 states, most of which are in the Midwest. Goose Island also makes a pretty tasty root beer and several other specialty sodas. The restaurant serves bar food, which is always done well, and with specialties like classic Bavarian pretzels and stilton burgers. Moxie (3517 N Clark St, 773-935-6694) is the hippest spot on the strip with its austere oak bar and very modern aesthetic. Moxie is a nice escape from the baseball ballyhoo of the rest of Wrigleyville neighborhood. The food and drinks are outstanding, consisting of all tapas and appetizer-size dishes; with standouts like the lobster rangoon and Kahlua mashed sweet potatoes. Tryst (3485 N Clark St, 773-755-3980) and Spot 6 (3343 N Clark S, 773-388-0185) are both trendy bars that, like Moxie, stand out as classy. Tryst does small plate entrees and boasts a full bar with a healthy martini list. Spot 6 is heavy on the drinks, but offers got some finger foods and appetizers. The drinks at Spot 6 are probably more reasonable than those at either Moxie or Tryst, and they’ve usually got a live DJ at night.