The unassuming corner patio of The Dawson at Grand & Halsted is massive when you peek over it’s wooden fence. On Sundays it becomes Camp Dawson, a playground where gimlets are served in a giant Hendricks Gin thermos. The concept of Chicago’s identity as a city in a garden is best exemplified in a space like this. An eclectic gathering space with Midwestern charm that gently nods to celebrate the simpler times of going away to summer camp.
Camp Dawson encourages you to come booze in the backwoods campfire style. Flag goes up at 1030a and live music begins at 4p. The drinks, brunch and dinner menus are all inspired by activities from your childhood.
The bottled bug juices are house made and cocktails have names like Tetherball Champ and Cool Kids Cabin. We got to experience the 85$ Disco Dance Off first hand in all its glory during a recent preview. It’s a massive disco ball punch bowl, serves 6-8 people and loaded with Appleton estate v/x rum,, prosecco, giffard baname du brésil, (banana cognac liqueur) orange olea-saccharun (orange + lemon peel syrup).
The Dawson is a River West contemporary American neighborhood restaurant that just feels better than most places we frequent. Last year they were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. The indoor space is two stories, features a grand staircase and room for 400 guests.
Our last visit here was for the Diplomàtico Rum World Tournament. A one of a kind cocktail tournament held their quarterfinal event here upstairs. This venue is equal parts rustic, modern and perfect.
Summer Activity Schedule
June 24: Aaron Williams Band
July 1: The Limbos
July 8: Katie & Les Bates
July 15: Radio Free Honduras & BYOBJ – Build Your Own Bug Juice Cocktail Class, $20
July 22: Dina Bach
July 29: The Jukebox Heroes
August 5: Sunnyside Up
August 12: Heazza & Rosé & Friends Cocktail/Wine Class, $20
August 19: Logical Fleadh August 26: Chatsworth And Dupree
(available alongside regular brunch + dinner menus)
Oversized Hot Dog ($14) house-made with a brioche bun and spicy mustard, pickle relish and onion
Plate O’ Chips ($6) with secret spices
Big Kid Grilled Cheese ($12) with three cheeses and crinkle cut fries
Adult S’mores ($12) with boozy marshmallows and chocolate