The Scout Waterhouse and Kitchen

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Paving the way for modern sports bars in the South Loop, this tavern and restaurant goes beyond your average beer-and-shot spot. "I got tired of waiting for someone to open a sports bar in the neighborhood, so we decided to do it ourselves," said co-owner Chris Bravos, formerly of The Pony. Bringing together an intimate dining environment with wide-open spaces, warm copper finishes and a rustic, lodge-like vibe, the spot's menu includes sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads, seafood items and small plates, bridging contemporary American fare with classic barfood favorites. On weekend nights, you'll find crowds cutting loose to a a DJ, but during the week it'll be more low-key, with smaller groups of friends sipping on signature cocktails or from the extensive brew list featuring craft microbeers. During the warmer months, dining on the outdoor patio sweetens the deal.