West Loop Chicago – Foodie Date Night Staycation

cocktail at Lazy Bird Bar in chicago

Looking for an easy and food filled date night in the City? Look no further! We recently had the easiest and most fun date night in the West Loop of Chicago and it didn’t break the bank. Use our date night itinerary for a little inspiration for your next date night or West Loop staycation.

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If You’re Staying Overnight

First we checked into Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites by Hilton. If you snag a good deal or discount, you could stay here for under $100. We visited during Chicago Restaurant Week and snagged a deal for $79. They have similar offers still available through 4/11/2021, but check their website for special offers and you might get lucky!

Visit their website here for more info.

Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites Lobby

Dinner & Drinks

After we checked into our hotel (which had the Hilton seal of approval btw). We scoped out where we wanted to eat dinner and have a few drinks. We made reservations to Bandit which is a farm-to-bar sports bar/restaurant. We picked this spot because it was described as having good food, quality cocktails (and craft beer) and fun music. When they say they are a low-key, high-vibe staple in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop, they mean it!

Ryan and I get excited when we see shorter food menus because that usually means that its going to be really good! It may sound crazy but in our experience, the shorter the menu the better the food. Their menu wasn’t pages long and we knew we hit the jackpot! Eventually, I started eyeing the food that they were delivering to the table next to us and that pretty much sealed the deal.

The best cheese sticks ever! At Bandit

The food was delicious! We both agree we had the best cheese sticks ever at Bandit, and the drinks were solid. After we finished up our meals and drinks, we took a 3 minute walk to Hoxton Hotel Chicago to check out Lazy Bird Cocktail Bar. No reservations are allowed here so we ended up waiting approximately 25-30 mins for space to open up. [At the time of this blog post, establishments in Chicago are open at 50% capacity so we suggest making reservations when available, to insure you get tables.]

We were happy we were patient. The vibe of the lounge/bar was classic, dim lighting, with beautiful decor. Honestly, it was ideal for a romantic date night. And we both enjoyed our cocktails, a lot! We didn’t want to leave but it was getting late, so we walked about 10 mins back to our hotel for the night.

Sight Seeing & Lunch the Next Day

If you are familiar with the West Loop area, then you know that there is plenty to see and lots of places to pop into for a meal, treat or drink. Its also easy to enjoy Grant Park and the Chicago River Walk from here. We were in a super chill mood so we slept in a bit, enjoyed our complimentary (pick up and go) breakfast and then took a leisurely stroll through West Loop before eventually having one of the most epic lunch experiences we’ve had to date!

Have you ever had okonomiyaki? If not, Gaijin Chicago will blow your mind! And if you have had it before, we are willing to bet they do it better! Gaijin is Chicago’s first okonomiyaki restaurant specializing in traditional Japanese cuisine, great cocktails, and award worthy Kakigori (desserts). Im not kidding. Their menu options, griddle tableside service and layered flavors will not disappoint. We tasted a pretty good variety from their menu and all we can say to do this experience any justice is to encourage you to RUN, not walk, to Gaijin ASAP for a one of a kind meal experience.

What is okonomiyaki?

okonomi=have it your way | yaki=griddled
savory Japanese pancake, griddled and customizable with everything from cabbage, noodles and veggies, to pork, shrimp, fried eggs and “dancing” bonito flakes, plus lots of tasty toppings

Okonomiyaki at Gaijin Chicago

What is kakigori?

Japanese shaved-ice dessert flavored with sweet sauces and syrups

Kakigori at Gaijin Chicago

This Kakigori was such a fun dessert to end our meal. It was almost too cute to eat! lots of chocolate covered shaved ice, with delicious chunks of pear hidden inside. We topped it with a sweet cream and cookie crumbles… It was so yummy!

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