CHIGuide

Where To Get Dinner With Someone Who Talks Too Loud

12 places in Chicago to take that human megaphone you call a friend.

From our overabundance of improv troops to our penchant for yelling at sports teams, Chicago is full of people who have never grasped the concept of an inside voice. As a result, we all have a Loud Mouth in our lives we love (or at least tolerate) and occasionally agree to grab dinner with. But bringing such a person to the wrong restaurant might involve a few dirty looks or shaming “shhh!”s in your table’s direction. Don't do that. Instead, take that human megaphone you call a friend to a place where the music is loud, the energy is bumping, and where you will receive zero eye rolls when they inevitably start oversharing about their latest bad decision. Here are 12 places to get dinner with someone who talks too damn loud.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Bronzeville Winery review image
8.0

Bronzeville Winery

Because of its fantastic funk and soul soundtrack, delicious food, and long wine list, we already had plenty of reasons to hang out at  Bronzeville Winery for as long as possible. But this American restaurant also has the perfect combination of loud music and conversational buzz that prevents the entire dining room from finding out why your friend thinks health insurance is technically a form of gambling. Plus, there’s a great sidewalk patio surrounded by lots of noise-cancelling plants.


Tango Sur is a place you come with multiple bottles of wine and shout-talking friends you haven’t seen in forever. This loud, crowded Argentinian spot is BYOB, and every evening we’ve spent here has been a great time. Tango’s brusque servers will ply you with flaky empanadas, provoleta, and juicy cuts of meat that are surprisingly affordable. The food is fantastic, but the environment is even better—it’s dark as hell, with so many candles that you’ll start looking around for fire extinguishers. So in the unlikely event someone can overhear your college roommate talking about losing her DivaCup, no one will even be able to see who said it.


For someplace that’s loud and busy but not full of chaotic energy, check out Andros Taverna. This Greek restaurant in Logan Square is spacious, has good food, and its busy-ness means that the table next to you won’t be subjected to your Uncle’s political “hot takes.” There arer appetizers like the must-order kataifi cheese pie (shredded filo layered with cheese, baked, then topped with honey and pistachios), mezze spreads, entrees like prawn saganaki in a rich tomato sauce, and a wonderful spanakopita.


From the guy wearing an earpiece at the elevator, to the twinkly-light-and-plant-filled space, to the trendy people, there’s no mistaking that this Mediterranean spot in the West Loop is a scene. There are also two busy, loud bars, where people are way more interested in getting the bartender’s attention than the office affair your friend is describing in excruciating detail. And unlike your friend’s married coworker, dishes at Aba are meant to be shared, so you can come here and split six types of hummus, plus five varieties of kebabs.


If you haven’t been to a group dinner at Quartino in River North yet, odds are you’re new to town. It’s a busy spot great for any occasion, and it’s usually easy to get a same-day reservation thanks to its inexhaustible supply of dining rooms and tables. Yes, it will be loud and crowded in here, but that means no one will overhear the intimate details of your coworker’s breakup. Plus, the small-plates-style Italian menu is full of reliably good food that’s easy to share.


Loud, dark, and crowded—that’s High Five. This ramen bar is in the basement below Green Street Smoked Meats, and it’s where you want to go when you don’t want anyone to either see or hear you. There’s minimal decor, low lighting, and delicious spicy tonkotsu ramen. Between the loud music and dim lighting, the person sitting next to you can’t be subpoenaed because they overheard your date discussing their brief stint with insider trading. You, however, should contact an attorney.


Daebak is a loud Korean BBQ spot that has a fun industrial atmosphere with K-pop music videos projected all over the walls, and it works for groups of all sizes. The servers are very good about refilling your banchan, but won't hover, which is a relief, because your sister won’t scandalize them with the details of her messy divorce. Get plenty of refills on the excellent soju cocktails, and don’t leave without ordering a kimchi pancake.


This Gold Coast Italian spot walks the line between fancy and formal. It has attentive service and white tablecloths, but is also loud enough that you won’t feel like you’re eating in a library. Plus, the food is good. The menu has dishes like gnocco fritto with prosciutto, whipped ricotta, and honey (a fantastic starter) along with housemade pastas and entrees like a tender bone-in veal parmigiana. Come here for a business dinner with any loudmouth client whose corporation recently moved to Florida, and loves talking about why.


Unlike narrow, shoebox-sized Avec in the West Loop, no one can overhear your conversation at Avec in River North. There are so many seating sections it’s like eating in a furniture store. Plus, the combination of wood and tile floors, tall windows, and high ceilings make the whole space sound like a mall food court in December. The menu is full of delicious Avec classics (like the chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates and taleggio flatbread), along with a lot more small and large plates, pastas, and pizza.


Beatnik is big on atmosphere, and that atmosphere is best summed up as “Wes Anderson film that’s set in a tropical dance club.” That means you’ll find lots of plants, sunlight, ornate furniture, and a DJ hiding behind said plants while playing loud acid house. It’s a fun spot, with tasty small plates like Lebanese lamb, beef cheek arepas, and red curry noodles. The people here will be too busy eating and listening to music to notice that your friend has zero respect for volume control.


La Luna is a fun Mexican restaurant in Pilsen. Thanks to the colorful murals, fantastic hip-hop soundtrack, and occasional live music, this place feels like a party. It also doesn’t hurt that they have fantastic food (with dishes like enchiladas, flautas, and quesabirria), and Happy Hour from Tuesday-Thursday with $10 margaritas and $3 tacos. Those deals should ensure that no one will care that your cousin is trying out their standup material in between mouthfuls of birria.


Azul Mariscos is the kind of spot that has a live DJ, bottle service, a patio on the water, and gives you the option to order something called a “shot tree”—which will get you as drunk as it sounds like it will. No one here is capable of having a quiet conversation, and you won’t be expected to either. This seafood restaurant is along the Chicago River in Goose Island, and the food is Latin-inspired. So expect things like lobster empanadas, tacos, shrimp aguachile, and seafood towers.


Are you having dinner with someone who will absolutely brag about how much he just spent on a bottle of wine? Then make a reservation at Lyra, a loud-as-hell Greek restaurant in the West Loop where that conversation can take place without you cringing and looking for the nearest exit. And at 11pm on Friday and Saturday, they play clubby Greek music while servers dance on tables with sparklers and everyone waves napkins around and around, which is objectively fun.

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