The Concierge Is In: Weekend Update; Bowl Bars
I've often fantasized about starting my own concierge business. I know that sort of thing flies in cities like Vegas—maybe not so much in Chicago—so instead it's a service I offer free to friends, friends of friends, and, of course, friends of Last Girl Standing. Want to know what's going on today, tomorrow, and this weekend, dear nightlife enthusiasts? Keep reading and post your comments below. This is your forum, too.
Last week a loyal LGS reader and newly single friend who's been out of the nightlife loop for a while charged me with planning a night out for her and another friend, both in their 30s. She sent me this e-mail:
"My friend is coming downtown on Saturday night, and we're going out. We'd like to go somewhere fun, but nothing too crazy. Some good music and people around our age are a must. And we're not waiting in any lines. I'll take any recommendations you have."
Tough assignment, a lot of criteria—but I was up for the challenge. From the suggestions I offered—J Bar, English, Fulton Lounge, Lumen, WestEnd, and Martini Park (I don't take these requests lightly)—they chose Martini Park. I warned that the live music, which usually runs from about 8 to 11 p.m., would be too loud to carry on any intimate conversations, but the scene was right up their alley and age-appropriate. I like the food, too—just what they were looking for.
Her follow-up e-mail:
"We ended up drinking at my place for a while—I introduced her to Effen Black Cherry—and then we headed over to Martini Park. I'd been wanting to check it out, so MP it was. I sort of like the setup, and I like that there's live music, but the tunes they played were just slightly on the cheesy side. But I did like the place. I think it was perfect and what we were looking for. We ran into a few people I knew, so we all hung out and had a good time. It was kind of weird being out and single again. That being said, Ms. Preston: I give you an A+ on the assignment."
Hey, that's better than I did in most of my college classes, which this particular friend can attest to. If you have a question about what to do, post a note below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Coming up this weekend:
THURSDAY: Late-night party palace for see-and-be-seen types The Underground kicks off its new Treated series, focusing on indie music talent. Local DJ duo Flosstradomus—Josh Young (J2K) and Curt Cameruci (Autobot)—headline, with new UG Thursday resident DJ Million $ Mano as backup. While Flosstradamus has a strong local following and has played big gigs including Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, this is the first time the duo will perform for a crowd that considers That '70s Show's Danny Masterson a DJ. Upcoming Thursday acts include The Cool Kids, Steve Aoki, The MisShapes, Skeet Skeet, DJ Klever, and Kid Sister (keep an eye on the club's Web site for dates). Cover is $20, and there's usually a wait at the door, so dress warm.
SATURDAY: Sheffield's hosts its "grand reveal" from 8 to 10:30 p.m. The Lake View bar Chicagoans have been bellying up to for more than decade has had a front-room facelift (hey, we could all use a little work from time to time). RSVP to email@example.com. And say hi to the Beer Dudes if you stop by.
SUNDAY: The other night I turned the tables on about 20 guy friends with a mass e-mail asking where they usually watch the Super Bowl. The one stipulation I had was that it had to be a Chicago bar and not some buddy's basement with a 500-inch TV. I kid you not: I got about ten responses back saying almost exactly the same thing: "Sarah, I can't help you because I usually watch at my buddy's house on a 400-inch screen with topless waitresses serving us." Yeah, right.
The consensus this year seems to be that most want the comforts of home, rather than braving the cold and the masses. If I were planning a Super Bowl outing, my top choices would look something like this: State, Grand Central, Joe's, Stretch Run, Mahoney's (formerly Player's, at 551 N. Ogden Ave.), Junior's, or WestEnd.Where will you be watching?
Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Eberle