Beadniks isn't a typical arts and crafts store. This thoughtful shop- adorned with woodcarvings of Buddha, beads from African Hill Tribes, and Balinese gold- is good for hours of fascination. For just three dollars (and the cost of materials), customers can sit down and work with the knowledgeable staff to create custom jewelry. New to the art of beading? Try their beginner's class. For $60, you will be taught the basics, make and take home earrings, a necklace, bracelet, and jewelry making tools. It is an experience you will not soon forget. -Eun Jung Decker
1623 North Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60647-5411
In the scope of Chicago's epic restaurant scene, it seems unlikely that anyone would want to venture out of his/her way for bread. Yet, through the passion of the bread makers at Red Hen, this bread is some of the best, and most exciting bread, you will ever find. Red Hen boasts that they make 350 different types of bread. After a single visit to one of their two locations, one may have the desire to go through all 350. As if the bread weren't enough excitement, Red Hen carries cookies, pies, and many other products that equal the quality taste of their bread selection.
When it comes down to it, any place that goes by the name of "The Boring Store" doesn't know the first lesson just in positive self-promotion. Unless the trick is on us, which certainly is the case with the ironically titled The Boring Store. Brainchild of author Dave Eggers, The Boring Store specializes in spy gear. Yeah, that's right, spy gear! If you are looking for a mustache disguise set or a pair of glasses with a hidden camera, look no further. And whether you are planning to spy on your neighbor or just impress friends at a costume party, rest assured that proceeds from The Boring Store help to fund 826CHI-an educational program that teaches kids creative writing.
Apartment Number 9 is the new destination for the fashion conscious men in Chicago. A vibrant collection of casual and semi-formal clothes for men is what this store offers. New designers like Nicole Farhi, John Varvatos share rack space with Paul Smith and Fred Perry. Prices can daunt you a little but they have a discount rack at the back for the budget shopper. Customers are pampered and well guided by the staff. If you are in the mood to indulge yourself for a special occasion check out this store.
Stock up your picnic basket with yummy treats from The Goddess and Grocer at Bucktown. Perfect for those who want to pick up a quick bite, this deli-like store sells a range of delicious sandwiches, cheeses, salads, chocolates, cookies, deli meals and more. All freshly made, these items may be expensive but are tasty, wholesome and convenient. Gift bags and packed lunches are also up for grabs and catering is another service offered. Wine and beer are available.
Zegna may not be as popular as Giorgio Armani, but the truly hip man will be familiar with this brand. Find classic cuts and designs, such as knitted black three-quarter length coats, simple but sophisticated suits and plain, woolen sweaters. Comfort is another of Zegna's priorities, with an emphasis on soft, wearable fabrics like cashmere, silk and mohair. They also stock an up market range of shirts, ties and accessories. Definitely for the discerning gentleman!
This Bucktown outlet of New York based Scoop has a huge collection of casual wear and accessories for men and women. Jackets, skirts, shirts, denims, belts, shoes and other apparel are up for grabs. The warehouse-like store has no dearth of designer labels-creations by Jimmy Choo, Vera Wang and more are available. And after a hard day's shopping, rest a while at Scoop Cafe for refreshments. Metered parking is available.
Alcala's is the place to get your hats and boots to complete your cowboy attire. Jeans, buckles, belts, perfumes and more, line the racks. And just for the record, they have more than 12,000 pairs of boots. The mainly Spanish speaking staff provides attentive service. In case you can't find what you're looking for, Alcala will specially ship it for you! So quit pondering and get your favorite piece of Stetson or Resistol.
The name says it all. Weld, a quaint establishment, gives you customized welded furniture. Brian Eldridge, the owner, melts metals and fuses them into beautiful creations. The store at West Division caters to your furnishing whim and fancy.
Porte Rouge makes luncheon and dinner parties an affair to remember with exquisite dinnerware and cutlery. Find silverware, fine china, martini glasses, carafes, sashimi knives, salt and peppermills, napkin rings, hand painted ceramics, and more objets du desir. Hand made soap, flavored teas, oil essences and tableware, gifts and furnishings are also on offer. As many as 20 designer labels are available and it's no surprise to find chefs scouting for kitchen pieces. Watch out for the prices though, your fancy could burn a hole in your pocket. You can also shop online to avoid the rush.