[ The Alfresco Everywhere Guide to Summer ]

Andersonville and Edgewater

Vincent in Andersonville

Vincent in Andersonville

Start at the lake. The Chicago Park District playground at Thorndale Avenue and Sheridan Road is an ideal point of entry since it leads directly to a covelike stretch of Lake Michigan beachfront. When lunchtime rolls around, the options abound. Pay a visit to the nearby Waterfront Café (6219 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-761-3294; entrées from $8), a surprising hideout with a lake view, serving summery foods (salads, falafel wraps, fish and chips), beer, and pitchers of sangría. Or walk to Moody’s Pub (5910 N. Broadway, 773-275-2696; burgers from $8), with its legendary shaded patio and giant onion rings. Go to Lickity Split Frozen Custard & Sweets (6056 N. Broadway, 773-274-0830; cones from $2.25) for cones and shakes (called concretes) afterward. Then stroll along the lake from Hollywood Avenue down to Foster Beach, home to the city’s newest dog beach. Look for the mango lady, who sets up her family’s vending cart on the grassy overhang east of the boathouse, and order the Everything ($4): chunks of fresh mango doused in lime, salt, and chili powder and served with toothpicks for sharing.

Heading west toward Andersonville, stop at Kitchen Sink (1107 W. Berwyn Ave., 773-944-0592; items from $1.25), a shotgun-style café that serves iced coffee and gourmet sandwiches. Once at Clark Street, do some window shopping: Scout (5221 N. Clark St.; 773-275-5700) has an ever-changing selection of one-of-a-kind refinished furniture gems; Brimfield (5219 N. Clark St.; 773-271-3501) specializes in tartans, pillows, and found objects with a preppy bent; Room Service Chicago (5438 N. Clark St.; 773-878-5438) will inspire with its Mad Men–worthy vignettes; and Roost (5634 N. Clark St.; 773-506-0406) and its connected sister store, Hutch (1500 Olive St.), pack home furnishings next to vintage dishware. Don’t miss The Coffee Studio (5628 N. Clark St., 773-271-7881; items from $2.10) and its enticing menu of drinks made with Intelligentsia coffee. Get lost for hours browsing the rows and rows of sun-drenched annuals, perennials, and vegetable and herb plants at Gethsemane Garden Center (5739 N. Clark St.; 773-878-5915), the North Side gardening powerhouse. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on a Wednesday, drop by the top-notch farmers’ market that takes over Berwyn Street between Clark Street and Ashland Avenue; you can pick up all the fixings there to throw on fresh pizza dough from Ranalli’s (1512 W. Berwyn Ave.; 773-334-1300) or HomeMade Pizza Company (5303 N. Clark St.; 773-561-8800).

The strip’s restaurants really come to life in the evening. The ever-packed Hopleaf Bar (5148 N. Clark St., 773-334-9851; entrées from $15) promises to unveil its expansion next door—with more patio seating—at some point before the summer is over. If it’s not yet open, divert to Lady Gregory’s (5260 N. Clark St., 773-271-5050; entrées from $15), which has lots of tables inside and out, for pub grub and whiskey flights. Or claim a spot under the charming outdoor canopy behind Anteprima (5316 N. Clark St., 773-506-9990; entrées from $20), a casual small-plate Italian eatery where the antipasto platter and grilled octopus appetizer make a great meal. Eat your weight in mussels, frites, and aïoli at Vincent (1475 W. Balmoral Ave., 773-334-7168; entrées from $15) at one of its ten sidewalk tables on a quiet street. Or try Premise (5420 N. Clark St., 773-334-9463; entrées from $19), the restaurant that replaced In Fine Spirits. Its cocktails are as ambitious as its menu—sample both from the inviting enclosed back patio. Make your nightcap a Negroni under the stars at Marty’s (1511 W. Balmoral Ave., 773-561-6425; cocktails from $14), a local martini bar that is the neighborhood’s liveliest outdoor drinking spot.

Photography: Nadim Audi/Courtesy of Vincent

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