Having taken two rounds of guitar lessons and three rounds of wiggleworms with my baby, I can honestly say I can't think of any place I'd rather spend my hard-earned money! Each teacher I have had has been fantastic, and a true lover of both music and teaching.
Wiggleworms is fun for babies and parents alike. The teachers all seem to follow the same basic structure for the flow of the class, but change up the songs and games a little bit each week. If your reason for taking the class is to make mommy (or daddy) friends, you'll have to do it on your own time before or after class. Socialization of parents is discouraged during class, as the focus is on the children.
Guitar classes are fun and laid back. Depending on the room you're assigned to and how many people decide to show up or join your class as a make-up, it can feel a bit overcrowded at times. For the most part, though, class size was just right--big enough to hide if you haven't practiced enough, but small enough that you can get some individual attention from the teacher. Classes are nice and long too--about 90 minutes, followed by a short break and the Second Half sing/play along. After two rounds of classes, I can play and sing a nice selection of recognizable songs. Don't let the name of the school or the required song book fool you, you'll learn plenty of popular rock music!
Based on my positive experiences, I highly recommend OTSFM!
My Moretti's experiences have really been hit or miss. The restaurant itself is large and family friendly. Don't worry about bringing a screaming baby, because it's likely that no one would notice or care. I've had some great food (farfalle porcini is my favorite), and some not-so-great food (the pizza). The waitstaff is mediocre at best, ranging from clueless to downright unfriendly. I wouldn't suggest asking them any complicated questions about the food. Occasionally there is a DJ who plays a really odd selection of music. But then there's the patio. It's huge and inviting. A perfect place to sit on warm nights. So, overall:
HIT OR MISS:
NOT TO BE MISSED:
This is a great little hole-in-the-wall off the beaten path! It's the perfect place to see real Wicker Park Hipsters in their natural setting. The staff is quite friendly. The atmosphere is completely unpretentious. The decor is tacky and amusing--it's great. It looks like it just accumulated over the years--not like someone purposely tried to make it look like that. It's kinda like your grandma's basement. The beers are a little bit cheaper than other, more pretentious bars. I recommend the PBR.
If I didn't live right next to Ranalli's on Lincoln and I wasn't constantly enticed by its outdoor seating, I probably wouldn't go back. Don't get me wrong--I've had some perfectly good experiences there. It's just inconsistent. Sometimes the pizza is great, sometimes I've choked down a piece and thrown the rest in the garbage. It seems that they try to do too much with their menu. I say make 10 things and make them great. They say make 50 things and make them however you feel like making them that day. The patio is great, though! If you're looking to have a beer and sit outside, I would highly recommend Ranalli's. If you're looking to eat, well, do so at your own risk. Since they seem to predominantly portray themselves as a pizza/Italian restaurant, I would stick to that type of food. I mean, when you order a burrito at a pizza joint, it shouldn't be too surprising when it's awful, right?
If you're reading this review as a means to decide whether or not to take a jaunt over to Club Foot, chances are that you're not nearly as cool as the regular patrons of the bar. That's OK--I'm not either. But, as a impartial observer, I enjoyed drinking at Club Foot. The pop culture tchotchkes alone make the trip worthwhile. The bar itself felt like it had some history behind it. The atmosphere was very casual and laid back--just a bunch of friends talking over some beers. The bartenders were friendly, and the music interesting. The hipsters, as always, were entertaining
Town House Books in St. Charles is just a charming little book store! It's so easy to get lost in their little nooks and crannies and end up with some really great books. You're not going to find bargain prices, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it. The attached cafe is also great, offering upscale lunches as well as Sunday Brunch. Definitely a treat for the more refined palate (although, they have offerings for everyone).
What a neat place to shop! Traipsing the rooms of this historic mansion is like exploring the floors of Marshall Field's on State Street. Each room brings a new set of goodies, from clothing to food to toys to furniture. In the center of it all is a small cafe with options for light lunch or tea. I think it is impossible to leave the little traveler without buying a little something! I've taken several foreign visitors to the Little Traveler, and they have just adored it!
Having just sold some baby gear, this experience is quite fresh in my mind. I didn't get as much as I hoped for my new/excellent used condition gear, but I also didn't want to go to the trouble of selling it myself, so I settled. As I was waiting for them to appraise my things, I looked around. I was actually surprised by what dingy condition most of the clothes, toys and gear was in. The clothing prices were not great. I could certainly buy my son several brand new outfits at Target or off a clearance rack for close to the same price as I could buy their worn out clothes. I'm sure you could find some diamonds in the rough, though, if you had enough patience. I will say that they ladies working there were extremely friendly and helpful, which definitly increases the possiblity that I will return.
Corcoran's is a great place to hit before or after a show at Second City for a casual, relaxing time. The food is pretty good, the beer is cold and the wait staff is always cute. The juke box has some good tunes, and there are some decent nightly specials. Keep an eye out for Second City alumni! We had drinks with Horatio Sans one night! You can also drink/dine al fresco, weather permitting. They have tables both in front and in back.
Stanley's manages to balance the restaurant and bar aspects very well. They have a decent menu, as well as great buffets on Monday night as well as weekend afternoons (brunch). Stanley's is almost always busy and crowded. With the possible exception of lunchtime, it's usually difficult to get a table to eat, or find a place to stand and drink. But it definitely warrants a visit! Sunday night live band karaoke is a riot! Also, it's not uncommon to have celebrity sightings at Stanley's!