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Nightspotting - Rock On

Rock the Warehouse; Minnies; Celebrity Beat

 

Photography: Chris Guillen
In the Domain lobby, partygoers sampled the fare at food and drink stations.

Rock On

The thirqad installment of the gathering called Rock the Warehouse, organized by the Lincoln Park Young Professionals, was billed as a progressive party rather than a singles mixer. Held again in the atrium lobby of the Domain building (600 W. Chicago Ave.), the afterwork cocktailer featured groups of partygoers circulating and sampling offerings at various food and liquor stations set up by local and national sponsors, such as The Melting Pot. For an entrance fee of $25 ($30 at the door), it was a welcome alternative to the bar scene, even if the crowd looked vaguely familiar. “Everyone here, I’ve either met through J-Date, gone to high school or camp with, or dated his roommate or best friend,” said a 31-year-old woman from Northbrook. “And they should be paying me to drink their alcohol,” she added, commenting on the less-than-tasty cocktails we were trying to down (we sent ours back twice). Others found the scene to be a refreshing change. “At least it’s something different. How many new club openings can you go to with all the same people?” asked Bill, a 37-year-old who lives in one of the new townhouses nearby. “This is a good way to start the night.” It will be an even better way once the party moves outdoors this summer (for information, go to www.lp-yp.com). The Lincoln Park Young Professionals group, which has been around for 11 years and boasts 9,800 members, holds two or three events each month. Judging from this one, the parties attract an eclectic crowd, with ages ranging from mid-20s to 40s, and business suits and trendy types peacefully playing the mingle game. Aside from a few uncomfortable stares from some of the men on the make, we enjoyed the diverse crowd and loud eighties dance party taking place. But let’s call this warehouse party what it really is: an old-fashioned meet market.

 

Minnies and Me

My relationship with nightlife in Chicago, as with many of the men in my life, is often love-hate. Let’s take Minnies (1969 N. Halsted St.), for example, that new purveyor of bite-size sandwiches: it’s the brainchild of Jonathan Segal, the 36-year-old restaurateur whose family has had a hand in such hot spots as Le Passage, Le Colonial, P. J. Clarke’s, and Japonais. I love the 24-hour takeout window at Minnies-although I hate it when I let myself give in to the late-night munchies. I love those cute seven-ounce bottles of Heineken-but hate that I had to go through an entire bucket of six ($13) to satisfy my craving. I love the Minnie Fizz ($9), made with Stoli O vodka, original-formula Fresca, and sliced sugar cane-but I hate that it’s called a Minnie Fizz when in fact it’s actually quite large. I love the forties diner décor-but the swirly black-and-white polka-dot wallpaper made me dizzy. I love that John Cusack showed up on his bike on a recent Sunday and had the Minnie turkey cheeseburgers and chocolate chip mint cookies. And did I mention that I loved the teeny-tiny turkey sandwich with cranberries, the Minnie burgers, and especially the name of the Skinny Minnie burger for calorie counters (three for $7; six for $13; 12 for $24)? But why must they make their delicious chicken salad with onions, which I hate? I guess we can’t win ’em all.

Celebrity Beat

I sipped Champagne with a chain-smoking Chloe Sevigny-skinny and very blond with blunt bangs, in case you’re curious-in a roped-off booth at Reserve while her older brother Paul spun. We chatted about her current hit HBO show Big Love and loving the NYC life. . . . Two members of the Black Eyed Peas-Taboo and Apl-hit Enclave the night before their sold-out show at the Aragon Ballroom. Post-concert, the same two Peas dropped by Le Passage. . . . Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland mingled with partygoers at J Bar for a bash by Vibe Vixen magazine, whose May cover she graced. . . . Former prez Bill Clinton is fast becoming a regular at Chicago’s über-pricey Il Mulino New York. Last month he ordered food to go for his private plane, and he dined at the venue on a recent Monday night, enjoying items such as branzino, spaghettini bolognese, pappardelle with sausage, and, his favorite, the cheesecake.

 

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