Bull & BearRiver North | Website
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This masculine, upscale sports bar in River North is just steps away from the Merchandise Mart. The name gives a nod to the city's two major sports teams, plus a hint at the subtle stock market theme throughout (note the stock ticker stretching across the main bar and the menu, called "The Wells Street Journal.") If you want to take advantage of this spot's coolest feature--pay-by-the-ounce beer taps built right into the table--make a reservation for one of five premium booths sitting 8 to 15 or so people (depending on the day, minimums may apply). With a solid food menu by David Blonsky (Quartino), Bull & Bear's kitchen will be slinging eats all day long, from entree salads and gruyere-topped Kobe burgers at lunch to honey-miso salmon and pork chop with apple fennel salad for dinner. Happy hour appetizers are sports bar classics amped up a notch, from pigs in a blanket with citrus slaw to truffle fries with garlic-lemon aioli.