There’s something on tap for everyone in Chicago this week. Nosh on tasty pork sandwiches at a Food Network star’s new restaurant, or sip on exotic whiskies at WhiskyFest. Comic book fans should head over to the convention center for an expo just for them, while comedy fans will delight in Tom Papa’s laid-back show at the City Winery.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
March 18 | Drinks
More than 350 whiskies, bourbons, and scotches from all around the world will be on-hand at the 17th Annual WhiskyFest, the longest-running dark spirits blowout in the States. The selection will be wide: Think single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, Japanese, Canadian, and craft-distilled whiskies, just to name a few. Become an expert yourself by attending one of the fest’s seminars taught by people like Brendan McCarron, the head of maturing whisky stocks at Glenmorangie. Your ticket includes access to all tastings and seminars, plus a gift bag (first come, first served, so arrive on time if you want those goodies). Spend the night at the Hyatt Regency Chicago via a $179 room block post-WhiskyFest.
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago | $275 | website
March 18–20 | Comic expo
Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
Don’t let the name fool you: This expo is about a lot more than comic books. Exhibitors and special guests range from Marvel artists and video game writers to pop-art T-shirt designers and actors. Panels include everything from discussions on how comics can be included in elementary and middle school literary curriculums to how a comic goes from the book to the screen.
Times vary | McCormick Place, South Building, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago | From $30 | website
March 19 | Comedy
The 20-year veteran of stand-up comedy will have you in stitches in the intimate setting of City Winery (so sit in the back if you don’t want to him to tear you apart). Pregame with his two critically acclaimed specials, Tom Papa: Freaked Out and Tom Papa Live in New York City, available to stream on Amazon and Netflix, respectively. Papa has starred opposite Matt Damon and Robert DeNiro on the big screen, and his radio show Come to Papa regularly hosts guests like Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld. Order a nice glass of local pinot or a bottle of bubbly—this isn’t the usual dive bar comedy club—and get ready for a one-man show you’ll be laughing about long after the curtains close.
9:30 p.m. | 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago | From $26 | website
March 19–20 | Escape the city
It’s all about the architecture in this suburb, which was once home to Frank Lloyd Wright—a fact the locals will make sure you don’t forget. Start your visit with a Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio tour, which takes you into the place where he once lived and worked (essentially giving you a Frank Lloyd Wright history lesson). Oak Park was also home to Ernest Hemingway, so make sure to save time for a tour of the Queen Anne–style home where he spent his first six years. Then, stop by the Oak Park Conservatory, which houses a whopping 3,000-plus plants, before hitting Maya Del Sol for a Latin-inspired dinner.
Now open | Restaurant
Pork & Mindy’s
The Sandwich King has arrived in Chicago. Food Network star Jeff Mauro brought his smoked meats and mouth-watering sandwiches here in the form of the first Pork & Mindy’s, a fast-casual Bucktown eatery that offers just seven sandwiches. He’s got them down to a science: Each is perfected with only three ingredients, all sourced from farms across the Midwest. Try the Pig Candy B.L.T. for a delicious take on a classic or the Chicken and Waffle, a mulberry-smoked chicken sandwich with a waffle bun. There’s even a veggie option packed with smoked mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, and fresh basil for the meat-averse.
1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | (773) 799-8759 | website
Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.