When it comes to looking for Asian hangouts in Chicago, the options are aplenty.
When someone says Chinatown, you don’t naturally think the Windy City, but Chicago is home to the second most largest Chinese community outside of the first settlement in California. There are over three dozen Chinese restaurants in the general area of Cermak and Wentworth Avenue, home to Chicago’s Chinatown and Chinatown Square. Chinese hangouts in these parts are obviously aplenty, including Zero Degrees Karaoke Bar that offers private rooms but has free live karaoke at the bar as long as you spend $15 on food and drinks. Sakura Karaoke Lounge is another communal karaoke bar in Chinatown with a Japanese theme, but attracts a diverse Asian crowd. Popular eats include the legendary 554, dim sum joints and household names such as Joy Yee’s Noodle House which contrary to its name serves all types of popular Asian fare along with their famous selection of fresh fruit bubble tea.
On the north side of Chicago is a place where it is referred to as the “New Chinatown”, but is significantly populated with Vietnemese restaurants and storefronts. Locals refer to the area as “Argyle” as it is located at the intersection of Argyle St and Western Avenue. So when you hear some say “Let’s go to Argyle” you can safely assume you’re going to get some Pho! Tank Noodle is propably the most well known establishment, but you can also check out our Pho recommendations here.
Lincoln Square is home to about five Thai restaurants in one intersection on Western and Leland Ave. Everyone has their favorite, but my favorite hands down has to be Rosded. The restaurant is small and the decor is nothing to write home about, but their focus seems to be on the food because their food is absolutely delicious. Not to mention they are BYOB and there is a wine shop a few doors down, which is a winner.
If you’re still going to Lawrence Avenue to look for Koreatown, you’re about a decade too late because the new Koreatown has grown up and moved out of the city and in to the suburbs at the intersection of Golf & Milwaukee. Okay, its not official and you can still find many Korean hangouts near the original Koreatown such as Yeowoosai, but Golf & Milwaukee is the new unofficial Koreatown of Chicagoland. New Koreatown is home to a variety of Korean restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, bars and Karaoke bars. Asian bars such as Ssaboo, DMZ and Jurang are main players of the Korean hangouts scene in this area. Outside of the new and old Koreatown you can find gems like Del Seoul, a Korean BBQ taco joint that has been trending since 2011.
Nightlife in Chicago is not difficult to find as there are more than a handful of Asian club promoters in the scene.