The Bongo Room

Restaurant
The Bongo Room Originally opened in 1993 as a quaint deli, The Bongo Room has since evolved into one of the city's most recognized brunch spots. Chicago United States 41.9086170637392 -87.6747393608093
4.04 9
The Bongo Room - Restaurant in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Originally opened in 1993 as a quaint deli, The Bongo Room has since evolved into one of the city’s most recognized brunch spots. Nestled among the record stores and vintage clothing shops of Wicker Park, the venue’s walloping... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–F 8am–2:30pm, Sa–Su 9am–2pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth The Bongo Room Review

The Scene

Originally opened in 1993 as a quaint deli, The Bongo Room has since evolved into one of the city's most recognized brunch spots.

Originally opened in 1993 as a quaint deli, The Bongo Room has since evolved into one of the city’s most recognized brunch spots.

Nestled among the record stores and vintage clothing shops of Wicker Park, the venue’s walloping pancakes alone are enough to draw in patrons willing to wait upwards of two hours on the weekends, while a seasonally changing menu keeps regulars flooding back for a taste of something new.

Girlfriends and artsy types quickly fill the barely twenty tables inside, where they enjoy towers of chocolate bread French toast or one of four eggs Benedict dishes before diving into the myriad mimosa and Bloody Mary options available.

The clamor of conversation fills the air from the moment Bongo opens, forming an uproarious backdrop for the solo visitors and hipster couples sipping coffee and sharing stacks of fruity hot cakes at the small counter bar.

A minimal décor of pastel wallpaper, candelabras, exposed brick, and Romanesque pillars creates a soothing environment beneath the noise, though most patrons are too busy to notice, given their focus on the graham cracker-crusted white chocolate and four-berry cheesecake flapjacks.

Considering the eager hordes that continue to gather every weekday morning, The Bongo Room clearly beats a drum that countless people like to follow.

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Tip from Emma:

Usually ‘Get there early’ is a stupid tip. But seriously, unless you can handle a long wait on the weekends, get there early!

  • Crowd

    Young crowd of creative types, stylish girlfriends, young professionals, and hipster couples, early 20s to mid-30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient jazz, electronic, and acoustic indie hits.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Contemporary fare with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. Breakfast and lunch served weekdays, brunch served weekends. No reservations accepted. The Bongo Room has a second location in the South Loop at 1152 South Wabash Avenue.

  • Prices

    Brunch $12–$15, breakfast $6–$11, lunch $11–$14. Coffee and juices $3–$5, brunch cocktails $7–$9.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to business attire: t-shirts, jeans, sundresses, khakis, loose-fitting collared shirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Weekend brunch for the big crowds, though there is a long wait, or earlier in the week for a still busy but more relaxed breakfast and lunch scene.

  • Close By

    Tons of eclectic shops and clothing stores along Milwaukee Avenue. The Wormhole (1462 North Milwaukee Avenue) provides steamy cups of fair trade coffee and refreshing iced yerba mate perfect to take along on a window-shopping walk.

The Bongo Room User Reviews

Average rating:
A good spot for locals and visitors alike
Maria S. Apr 28, 2013
This place is amazing. There are a good range of options from pumpkin glazed pancakes and BLT Benedicts to Intelligentsia coffee and Strawberry Lemonade. The service is strong too. While there is a long wait list, there are plenty of shops to browse while you wait. Trust me and all the previous reviewers, it is worth the wait.
You won't regret it
Cree H. Mar 24, 2013
Because of a visiting aunt who has never visited Chicago, we decided to check the Bongo Room out. We went really early in the morning and we were their first customers, so no wait. We got omelets and red velvet pancakes. The omelets had fresh vegetables and the red velvet pancakes met up to the hype. Come here if you need a great breakfast or brunch. The atmosphere is also just very comfortable, clean, and minimal.
Well worth the wait
Craig B. Dec 11, 2012
The tip from Emma and from other reviewers about the wait are 100 percent correct. But the wait isn't so bad. Just hop a few doors down to The Wormhole, a coffee house with original Nintendos, great coffee and tea, and a full size replica of the Delorean from Back to the Future (as a side not, I'm kind of surprised that with Party Earth doesn't address Chicago's coffee culture...oh well). Now that you're hyped up on 8-bit and caffeine, go back to The Bongo Room and get a delicious bloody mary and some of the best brunch in the city. The decor may not look so hot in the pictures, but I promise you'll feel right at home here. This is a great spot.
Great food, but long waits
Christina W. Dec 10, 2012
There are not a lot of occasions where I am willing to wait very long for food, but it's worth it here. The breakfast is really delicious, and with a constantly-changing menu updated to include the freshest seasonal ingredients, there is always something new to try even after multiple visits. They even have an entire breakfast cocktail menu, featuring a fun collection of mimosa and bloody mary variants. The worst thing about the Bongo Room is the wait. Try and get a table at noon on a Saturday and you're lucky if you get seated by 1:30pm. Unless you're planning to get there before 10:30am, prepare for a wait, and don't go with a large group. As far as I can tell they won't push tables together, so you'll have to wait for one of the few larger tables if you have a party of more than four people.
Breakfast you've never had before
Dana G. Dec 9, 2012
I went here the morning after my birthday (a sunday) and the place was PACKED! It had a really exciting energy about it and I wanted to see what everyone was waiting for. They're breakfasts are like desserts and so different from anything I have ever had. If you are looking to impress some guests from out of town then take them here for breakfast. Everything was worth the wait and the french toast was amazing. Definitely something you cannot pass up.
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