Eat. Watch. Do. — ‘The Last of Us’ review, nonalcoholic bars


It’s Thursday, Chicago.

We hope you’re still staying warm and cozy despite the dreary weather. Don’t fret, it looks like the sun may peek through on Saturday in Chicagoland.

This week we have mini reviews of restaurants our critics didn’t get to in 2022, promising shows coming to the Loop this winter and upcoming art shows to look out for this year for your next weekend adventure.

For an emotional and informative long read, check out our deep dive into Chicago’s alcohol-free and low-alcohol bar scene, featuring the work of Bendición Dry Bar in Humboldt Park and Go Brewing in Naperville, in honor of Dry January this month.

Enjoy the weekend, we’ll see you back next week.

Lauryn Azu, deputy senior editor

The hamburgerburrata with cranberry at the restaurant Union, 2202 N. California Ave, in Chicago, on Dec. 30, 2022.

With the Chicagoland food scene rapidly evolving since the pandemic, it’s almost impossible for Tribune critics Nick Kindelsperger and Louisa Chu to cover every new exciting development. Read their five mini reviews of places they didn’t cover in 2022 and their take on what’s cooking.

Pedro Pascal stars in“ The Last of Us.

Based on the video game of the same name, HBO’s new drama “The Last of Us” is a post-apocalyptic story about a population decimated by a pandemic, a sort of cross between “The Walking Dead” and “Station Eleven.” “Above all, TV is about entertainment,” Tribune critic Nina Metz writes. “But speculations about the future always reflect present-day anxieties, and we have plenty of those to choose from at the moment.” Read the rest of her review here.

Owner Cristina Torres serves samples of non-alcoholic drinks, Brella Jazz Club cocktail drops mixed with yuzu seltzer, on Jan. 1, 2023 at her Bendición Dry Bar in Humboldt Park.

This Dry January, Chicago’s nonalcoholic scene is growing. “People really want to have spaces that are more inclusive and to have sophisticated options,” said Carrie May, founder of the group behind NA Day, a nonalcoholic drink festival launching this weekend. “We are going to continue to see this movement exploding, both nationally and internationally.”

Read more about new products launched and communities founded to promote and support alcohol moderation and sobriety here.

Daniella Pineda as Bonnie Lane, Gerard Butler as Brodie Torrance, and Yoson An as Samuel Dele in "Plane."

For action-thriller lovers, “Plane” satisfies with extreme turbulence, a crash landing and a dangerous fugitive, and premieres in theaters this weekend. Read why Tribune critic Michael Phillips enjoyed it here.

Rachel Bode orders a takeout at Baker Miller in Chicago on Dec. 23, 2021.

Lincoln Square’s Baker Miller, one of Chicago’s most acclaimed bakeries, announced a “hibernation” and store concept change to focus on bagels. Tribune critic Nick Kindelsperger, who in 2021 ranked Baker Miller’s bagels as one of the best in Chicago, has the story here.

King Melik (aka Bryce Thompson) has an upcoming concert at Schubas in Chicago.

The violinist and South Side native King Melik is making waves in Chicago. “I love playing the violin, especially performing the violin. Despite being a, you know, R&B/rap/alternative artist,” he told the Tribune. He will be performing tracks from his recently released album “Sanctuary” this Friday at a free show at Schubas Tavern. Read more here.

An employee fills bags of caramel and cheese Garrett popcorn in 2014 at a shop on Ontario Street east of Michigan Avenue.

Last week’s historically contentious speaker election also fomented a viral moment for Chicago’s Garrett Popcorn. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., brought their colleagues Garrett Popcorn for the first day of the 118th Congress to celebrate the new members of the House of Representatives. Read about what the elected officials had to say here.

The “Les Miserables” national tour will be hosted by Broadway in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace.

Facing a new year with optimism, Chicago theater hopes to regroup. “Cabaret” at Porchlight Music Theatre and “Les Miserables” at Cadillac Palace are just some of the shows premiering this winter. Read about more upcoming shows on stage here.

Sweeping views at Lutsen Mountains near Grand Marais, Minnesota.

You don’t have to travel far to take a stunning vacation. The Midwest has more than a few hidden gems, in small towns and big cities alike. Read what made the cut for the best cities to travel to this year here.

Jessi Reaves' "A sample of the truth" (2022; wood, metal, cord, sawdust, wood glue, paper, enamel paint).

Even if art really isn’t your thing, get out of your comfort zone and check out some of the galleries on display across the city that feature boundary-pushing and thought-provoking work. Curious yet? Read more and plan your visit here.

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