Hard Rock CafeNear North | Website
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Lining the walls at this River North restaurant and music venue are hundreds of autographed guitars, posters, photos, gold albums and assorted musical bric-a-brac. In the past the spot has been a destination for tourists, but owners have added a few twists for neighborhood clientele. To eat, there's a big focus on "smokehouse sandwiches" filled with pulled pork or chicken tossed in your choice of either smoky hickory or vinegary South Carolina barbecue sauce, available in both sandwich or entree. Filling out the classic American menu are burgers, seafood, surf and turf, sandwiches and salads. As for the atmosphere, it's no surprise that music plays a prominent role here: There's more than 15 TVs with music videos playing from all eras (just ask your server or a staffer for your request). At the bar, there's beer on tap or bottle, plus a selection of signature cocktails available in souvenir glasses. In warmer months, there are all-weather TVs and beach decor on the outdoor patio.