Chicago restaurateurs have been trying - in vain - to jump-start the izakaya trend here, but it hasn't worked, at least not yet. These Japanese pubs are more lively than the typical sushi joint, with boisterous crowds, excellent sake and beer lists, and food options that go far beyond spicy tuna rolls. Masu Izakaya lasted in Lincoln Park for barely four months. Chizakaya was supposed to open in July, but after repeated efforts to contact them to find out when they're opening, I still haven't heard when or if that's going to happen in Lake View. There is an Izakaya Hapa in one of the downtown hotels in Chicago, but it was so lame, it's not even worth mentioning. These entrepreneurs would do well to come to Vancouver for a bit of research. Nothing I've seen in Chicago compares to the vibrant culture of izakayas here. Hapa Izakaya is one of the oldest in town, and I had dinner there last week to see why they're still among the best in Vancouver.