Carmy from 'The Bear' TV show.

A Guide To ‘The Bear’ Filming Locations

BY Sara Luzuriaga | November 4, 2023

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, watching “The Bear” is an adrenaline-spiking, possibly  psychologically exhausting experience. The Hulu series, with two seasons under its belt and a 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, is not actually about the terrifying predatory mountain animal, but rather about a family-run beef shop in Chicago. Try taking a shot every time you hear “Yes, chef!”––you’ll be out of commission in minutes. 

Season one kicks off when Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (played, like every handsome, working-class, alcoholic Chicagoan on television, by Jeremy Allen White), an acclaimed New York chef, returns home to take over his brother Michael’s beef sandwich shop in River North after Michael dies by suicide. “The Bear” is subtle and hilarious, but heavy with the weight of undiscussed grief that yields masterful performances by White, Ayo Edebiri as his spunky and ambitious sous chef Syd and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as his charming but unfulfilled “cousin” Richie.

In season two, Carmy and Syd join forces to re-open the ramshackle beef shop as a brand-new fine-dining establishment, The Bear, named after Michael’s nickname. Seriously, this show is like one long montage scene of a ragtag crew of emotionally stunted Chicagoans pulling themselves and each other together and discovering their higher purpose: the thrill and beauty of creating a high-end culinary experience. To develop the menu, Syd takes herself exploring through all of Chicago’s neighborhoods, sampling different cuisines –– a sort of “research” I wish I could’ve gotten away with doing in college. We’ve got her syllabus for you right here, plus a few other Chicago restaurants that influence the characters in the show. Luckily for your wallet, they don’t all have Michelin stars.

A Guide To 'The Bear' Filming Locations: Alice's Lounge
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A Guide To 'The Bear' Filming Locations: Alice's Lounge

Alice’s Lounge

3556 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

Wind down at the end of the evening with some karaoke and a cheap drink at Alice’s Lounge, the dive bar where Chef Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) wows her culinary school classmates after a long day in the kitchen. Unpretentious, with wood-paneled walls and disco lights, Alice’s has a half-off drinks promo every evening from 7 to 9 p.m. to loosen you up for karaoke that starts at 11. You can dress casual, let your hair down and have your own Tina moment with a full belly and a ballad of your own.

Do you recommend this?

+4
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Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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A Guide To 'The Bear' Filming Locations: Ever
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A Guide To 'The Bear' Filming Locations: Ever

Ever

1340 W Fulton St, Chicago, Ill, USA

Scruffy, restless Richie learns a powerful lesson in hospitality during his week interning at Ever, a real-life West Loop restaurant with two Michelin stars and a $325 per-person tasting menu. Richie spends hours resentfully (and poorly) polishing forks; by the end of a week observing the magic of wowing guests, Richie personally runs to pick up deep-dish pizza for a table who offhandedly mentioned not having tried it. The dining experience at Ever lasts over two hours, and if you haven’t been luxuriated enough, you can head over to After, the swanky in-house lounge, for a drink and some pricey but beautiful bar snacks.

Do you recommend this?

+5
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Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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A pie from Kasama
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A pie from Kasama

Kasama

1001 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

When Carmy bails on Syd when they planned to scout out local restaurants (to be fair, he’d got a hot new doctor girlfriend, Claire, played by Molly Gordon), she rocks up to Kasama and orders a breakfast sandwich with longganisa –– a popular Filipino sausage –– hash browns, mushroom adobo, a mango tart and a matcha latte. The first Filipino restaurant to get a Michelin star, Kasama serves first-come, first-serve brunch (the place is uncharacteristically empty for Syd’s visit) and a $255 per-person tasting menu for dinner with 13 courses and reservations booked out weeks in advance. Plan ahead for dinner, or pick up coffee and a pastry elsewhere and get ready to wait a bit for brunch.

Do you recommend this?

+6
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Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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A dish from Lao Peng You
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Lao Peng You

Lao Peng You

2020 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

The dumplings at this counter-service Chinese food restaurant in West Town inspire Syd’s noodle shapes at The Bear. No reservations needed. Show up hungry and with friends to split dan dan noodles with chili oil and soy, flaky made-to-order bing with scallions, dumplings swimming in flavorful broth and meat rou jia mo sandwiches. Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options are available, making Lao Peng You a flavorful respite from all the Chicago meats.

Do you recommend this?

+4
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Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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A guide to 'The Bear' filming locations: Loaf Lounge
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A guide to 'The Bear' filming locations: Loaf Lounge

Loaf Lounge

2934 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

While not directly featured on “The Bear,” Avondale café Loaf Lounge is co-run by “The Bear” consulting pastry chef Sarah Mispagel-Lustbader and her husband, Ben Lustbader. Mispagel baked the moist, creamy chocolate cake that Chef Marcus toils over in season one. She serves her cake, called “The Bear Chocolate Cake,” at the café. Just use your imaginative power to pretend sweet, dedicated Marcus is back in the corner of the kitchen, smiling down at his desserts.

Do you recommend this?

+5
0
Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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Margie’s Candies
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Margie’s Candies

Margie’s Candies

1960 N Western Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

Syd ends her culinary tour smiling into a sundae at the Bucktown location of Margie’s Candies, a sweet shop and ice cream parlor first opened in 1921. Though Margie’s serves diner-style sandwiches and platters, they’re famous for offering more than 50 ice cream sundae combinations, including cherries jubilee loaded with fruits, whipped cream, nuts and a cookie and a piña colada sundae with the beachy fruits. You can even try the World’s Largest Sundae, with half a gallon of ice cream –– not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Most charming of all is the diner’s interiors: original Tiffany lamps, yellow booths, stuffed animals lining the walls and old photographs. Margie’s feels like classic Chicago: historic, sweet and worn with love.

Do you recommend this?

+5
0
Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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Mr. Beef
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Mr. Beef

Mr. Beef

666 N Orleans St, Chicago, Ill, USA

This beef sandwich counter on River North is the inspiration for Michael’s shop The Original Beef, and actually where the show’s pilot was shot. (Subsequent episodes were filmed at a replica on a soundstage –– production couldn’t keep Chicagoans from these cheap, classic sandwiches.) Unlike in “The Bear,” this reasonably priced neighborhood joint hasn’t been vying for a Michelin star. The sandwiches are cheap, the owners are Italian, and Jay Leno loved it before “The Bear” made the place famous. Stop by for deli meats, a fountain Pepsi and a photo op.

Do you recommend this?

+7
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Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
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Pequod’s Pizza
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Pequod’s Pizza

Pequod’s Pizza

2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, Ill, USA

When in Chicago, it’s sort of a requirement to try deep-dish pizza, even if that lake of cheese and sauce freaks you out. On his work shift at Ever, Richie seemingly travels over 3 miles to Lincoln Park’s Pequod’s Pizza to get the best deep-dish for Ever’s guests. With its unassuming exterior and reasonable prices, you’d never guess it was one of the top-ranked pizzas in the U.S. You can make a reservation to eat in, or take it out and drive over to the lake for a real Chicago experience. (If you’re not local, Pequod’s ships frozen pizzas that you can bake in the comfort of your own home.)

Do you recommend this?

+8
-2
Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
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