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Lincoln Square Review
Lincoln Square has long been known for its Teutonic heritage. It's home to not one but two annual German fests—Mayfest in late May (held around the neighborhood's iconic 30-foot-tall maypole) and German-American Fest in September. Both involve plenty of beer, brats, and German-style pretzels, as well as folks dressed in lederhosen. Since the 1990s this quiet North Side neighborhood, named for the Abraham Lincoln statue near the Lawrence-and-Western intersection, has seen its currency with young professionals rise, and a spate of trendy new places is the result. Many of the area's most popular bars and restaurants—including Bistro Campagne —are centered on a stretch of Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Lawrence. Shopping is another draw here. Head to the Chopping Block for cooking utensils or to attend a cooking class in the upstairs kitchen. Gallimaufry Gallery is a great place to snag gifts, for instance.
Many credit Lincoln Square's renaissance to the relocation of the Old Town School of Folk Music in 1998 from its original home in Old Town to a long-vacant Art Deco building on North Lincoln Avenue.
Despite all the changes, those longing for a taste of Lincoln Square's ethnic roots shouldn't despair. There are still a handful of German restaurants and bars lining Lincoln Avenue—most notably, the Chicago Brauhaus, with its perennial Oktoberfest vibe and schnitzel dishes on the menu, and the divey German-owned Huettenbar, at 4721 N. Lincoln Avenue. The Old World Merz Apothecary first opened in 1875 to cater to the area's German immigrants. On the third Friday of each month, visit the DANK Haus German Cultural Center (4740 N. Western Ave.); the sixth-floor Skyline Lounge has German beer on tap and a patio with a fabulous view of downtown.
Another can't-miss site is the recently rehabbed Krause Music Store building (4611 N. Lincoln Ave.). Formerly the Museum of Decorative Arts and now a private office space, the 1922 landmark was the last work commissioned by architect Louis Sullivan. Passersby often stop to admire the building's ornate green terra-cotta facade.
After shopping and dining your way through the square, pause for a rest in Giddings Plaza (4731 N. Lincoln Ave.) with a view of the bronze, tiered Giddings Square Fountain. From May to October the plaza comes alive with frequent outdoor concerts. It's also adjacent to the tempting bakery-restaurant Café Selmarie, where the tarts and chocolate croissants are impossible to resist.
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