The Chaser

3 years
ago

Cheap Belgian Beer and Free Pretzels: My Freelance Afternoon at the Map Room

The question “Where’s your office?” borders on the existential for a freelance worker bee like me. There’s a white desk and a lumbar-friendly chair in my dining room, and that’s where most of my writing gets done. But some days I’m a WiFi nomad, chasing the signal all over the city between interviews, tours, meetings, and, yes, cocktails…

3 years
ago

A Wild Ride Winds Down: The Awesome Story Behind Wrigleyville’s The Wild Hare

Everyone has a story, as we writers relish pointing out. But when I stopped by Wrigleyville’s longtime reggae club The Wild Hare last night to interview the owner, Zeleke Gessesse, about why he’s closing the place on May 15th after 25 years, I found myself in the presence of someone with a Story—capital S, plus italics…

3 years
ago

Sheffield’s: Still Friendly, Soon with More Beer

I only met Ric Hess, the longtime co-owner of the Lake View bar Sheffield’s, a handful of times, but he was right up there among the most gregarious proprietors I’ve known. Hess died of a heart attack in January, and I still think about him every time I drive past his place…

3 years
ago

 

I’ll Have What He’s Having: Taking Cues from the Hopheads at Hopleaf

If you want to snag a seat in the Andersonville bar Hopleaf, you might want to aim for, say, 3 p.m. As The Creative Director and I stood on Clark Street around quitting time last night, we sweated every agonizing second it took for our parking slip to print, worrying that each passing moment meant one fewer bar stool…

Advertisement

3 years
ago

Where to Drink after ‘Black Watch’—Plus, a Name That Bar Update on Cubs Opening Day

It’s always smart to transition any cultural experience into postculture drinking as seamlessly as possible. Still, I thought The Creative Director was pulling my leg when, after we saw the National Theatre of Scotland’s heart-in-your-throat production of Black Watch at the Broadway Armory on Wednesday night, he said, “Let’s go get a beer at a place called St. Andrew’s…”

3 years
ago

Inside the Vault: An Early Peek at Wicker Park’s Bank-Turned-Bar-and-Kitchen The Bedford

Finally! Instead of saddling another major intersection with a blank-faced bank, someone’s taking a stand and opening a bar. Well, a bar inside an old bank.
The brother/sister development team of Eric and Anne Nordness and their partner, Matthew Mering, all of Salita Development, took me on a tour yesterday of their new Wicker Park venture-in-progress, The Bedford…

3 years
ago

A Wild Goose Chase with Pals Old and New in North Center

Last night I resolved not to let a drop of alcohol pass my lips. The previous night’s cocktail tasting at Bridge Bar was more imbibing than I’d usually do before midweek, so I sautéed up a piece of mango salmon and settled in with the remote, happy to catch up on my Glee stockpile…

3 years
ago

Beef in a Glass: Bridge Bar Narrows the Food/Beverage Gap

I ate beef jerky for the first time in my life last night. I drank beef jerky for the first time, too. The Creative Director and I were at Bridge Bar (315 N. Lasalle St.), the so-called “cocktail kitchen” above Fulton’s on the River, which celebrated its opening night Monday with a tasting of nine craft cocktails and a few plates from its quirky food menu…

3 years
ago

Green Day: Sable Puts a Sophisticated Spin on St. Pat’s Revelry

By St. Patrick’s Day proper—when the dying of the river and its attendant 8:30 a.m. shots seem like ages ago—the green is already off the clover. But if you’re looking for a way to celebrate tonight and you’ve long since graduated from green beer, go for an afterwork nip at River North’s Sable Kitchen & Bar, where the head bartender, Mike Ryan, is pouring flights of Irish whiskeys with a craft cocktail chaser for $20…

3 years
ago

Bringing Home the Bacon: A Visit to 694 Wine & Spirits Lingers the Morning After

Who needs breakfast when, with a simple toss of the head, you can catch a whiff of last night’s bacon?
The Creative Director had a lot of directing to finish up yesterday before heading off to New York this morning to help with a friend’s art show booth. But he still had time to send me an e-mail with the subject line “Future Drinks”…

3 years
ago

Still Glam at 78: The Ever-Popular Coq d’Or Gets a Facelift

There’s only one Gold Coast bar I haven’t tried yet, so after a party last night at the Hermès flagship on Oak Street, I tried to enlist a few friends to help me check out the neighborhood’s only Cancun-themed spot. “Who wants to go to Paradise Cantina?” I proposed brightly as we stood on the sidewalk, debating our options…

3 years
ago

Drinking Among Co-eds: The Chaser Strolls Down Memory Lane at McGee’s

One of my favorite ways to spend a night out is to begin with something glamorous—the kind of party where your eye shadow glimmers in the soft light of the chandeliers and you fill up on endless Champagne top-offs while exclaiming that the flower arrangements are really altogether spectacular—then switch gears, ditching the heels for flats and wrapping up with something at the opposite end of the spectrum…