I recently took an impromptu road trip to Chicago. I'm sure readers don't really care about my vacation habits, but this time - my first to Chicago in a while- left me thinking about the similarities and differences between Chicago and Columbus nightlife, eating and drinking. Since, it's a lot to cover, blurbs away.

I recently took an impromptu road trip to Chicago. I'm sure readers don't really care about my vacation habits, but this time - my first to Chicago in a while- left me thinking about the similarities and differences between Chicago and Columbus nightlife, eating and drinking. Since, it's a lot to cover, blurbs away.

"Going out" is easy.

Yes, the train makes it easy to get almost anywhere, but I was particularly impressed by how so many popular joints could accommodate folks when busy. Most places will text you when your table is ready, letting you go check out other stuff.

The insanely popular Revolution Taproom is a great example of this practice, and their excellent food (Scotch Egg, Cheese Fritters) was worth it.

I actually waited in a line … and it was worth it.

Legendary downtown Tiki restaurant Three Dots and a Dash, tucked away in an alley, had a 20-minute wait. The Polynesian small plates and wild Tiki cocktails were utterly amazing, but not as much as the décor/atmosphere (see the accompanying photo).

The Slippery Slope is a fantastic dive bar.

One of Chicago's newer haunts in Logan Square was the perfect amount of dive - black paint everywhere, thrift-store décor - and quality drinks and service. Plus, Skee-Ball!

Longman & Eagle is amazing - and always busy.

Both trips made to the top-notch gastropub were met with big crowds. I would've employed the wait-list text approach, but I was starving both times and headed for quicker grub. I did have a couple of their brilliant cocktails, at a highly reasonable $8.

You can get a Chicago-lite experience in Columbus.

Obviously Chicago is a bigger city with frankly, more cool s--- than Columbus. No offense, Columbus. I love you, but I don't think even the staunchest supporter would argue with me.

But German Village's Curio's vibe and drinks are similar to Longman & Eagle, only without the ridiculously extensive whiskey list. 101Beer Kitchen in Dublin may not match the best gastropub fare in Chi-Town, but it's really close. If you want to get a feel for the Tiki experience - and the cocktails and food to match - downtown's Grass Skirt Tiki Room is a suitable local replacement for Three Dots and a Dash.