Restaurants Where You Can Pretend You're In A Holiday MovieFive restaurants with festive decor that will force you into the holiday spirit.
In a city where “snowy” is one of its main personality traits, one would think that channeling the holiday spirit would be fairly easy. But this time of year also often means Vitamin D deficiency, packages that go mysteriously missing, and an irritating loop of 93.9’s Christmas jams.
Luckily, the spots on this guide are brimming with festive energy. From an upscale steakhouse covered in garland to a BBQ spot designed like a winter cabin, the excessive use of tinsel and fake snow will whisk you away into a world where you randomly did a house swap with Kate Winslet for the holidays.
Jojo's Shake Bar
Jojo’s Shakebar is like that one house on the block that insists on having a giant lawn display for every holiday, up to and including Groundhog Day. So it’s no surprise that every corner of this place feels like an awkward family photo backdrop. You'll see Christmas trees, giant snowflakes, and miles of tinsel and string lights. Despite your best efforts, you’ll leave here with 52 selfies in front of a giant sparkly nutcracker. While you're here, you can also drink hot cocoa or one of their physics-defying shakes loaded with things like cookies and cake pops.
Decorated with candelabras, chandeliers, and velvet chairs, Maple and Ash in River North is one of the glitziest steakhouses in the city. And that commitment to aesthetics extends to the holidays. There’s a massive garland-covered entrance topped with a red bow that’s perfect for the wintery meet-cute that every holiday rom-com says is your seasonal destiny. Inside it's full of wreaths and Christmas trees with sleek gilded ornaments. More importantly, Maple and Ash also has great food. This means that even if your date isn’t secretly royalty (like they strongly hinted on their profile) you can find solace in a fantastic steak.
Club Lucky has a charming old-school supper club atmosphere and comforting classic Italian food. But we especially like this Bucktown spot during the holidays. The combination of the loud, crowded dining room and wreaths, lights, and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling really sell the idea that (despite the dibs chair in your usual parking spot) this is a wonderful time of year. There’s plenty of space for groups, so it’s perfect for a holiday dinner with friends or family.
Wrigleyville BBQ spot, Smoke Daddy, has transformed into the Lumberjack Lounge—an homage to cold weather and flannel. This cabin-themed pop-up has evergreen trees, icicle and snowflake decorations, and a bunch of TVs streaming fireplace videos. And as much as it gives The Christmas Cottage vibes (a riveting Hallmark special with a solid 27% score on RottenTomatoes), the setup is great for families, too. They have a couple of special brunch events with Buddy the Elf and Santa.
For holiday ambiance with an old-timey flair, there’s no better place than Armitage Alehouse. And while this Lincoln Park spot is reminiscent of a Victorian-era pub, there aren’t any haunted, Dickensian capitalists here. That we know of. Just an energetic, always-busy dining room decorated with tinsel, wreaths, lights, and a Christmas tree. And while the fireplace is always a part of this place’s charm, it becomes a crucial amenity when 12-degree weather decides to be a thing. Plus, it’s particularly cozy when we’re eating a steak and ale pie and drinking a black and tan.