The Drake hotel? If you ask for an executive Maker’s Mark with a splash of Diet Coke, like I did last night, this is what you’ll get…">

Executive Decision: Chat About Chicago Tavern Culture Tonight with The Chaser

I think my executive cocktail did me in. Have you ever ordered one of those glorious beasts at any of the bars in The Drake hotel? If you ask for an executive Maker’s Mark with a splash of Diet Coke, like I did last night, this is what you’ll get…


Where executives drink executives: The Cape Cod Room at the Drake
Where executives drink executives: The Cape Cod Room at the Drake


I think my executive cocktail did me in. Have you ever ordered one of those glorious beasts at any of the bars in The Drake hotel? If you ask for an executive Maker’s Mark with a splash of Diet Coke, like I did last night, this is what you’ll get: a massive 4-ounce shot, an adorable mini carafe of your chosen mixer, and a fishbowl of ice, in which your bartender unites all of the other elements as you look on ($16). It’s so old-fashioned. It’s so satisfying. I adore it.

The Creative Director and I had just attended a party for the 95th anniversary of the Chicago Community Trust at the Harris Theater (we heard everyone from the mayor to the New York Times columnist David Brooks speak), and afterwards—since TCD was wearing a bow tie and I was wearing Spanx—we decided we needed an appropriately atmospheric nightcap. We strolled down a breezy and almost empty Michigan Avenue to two barstools inside the deserted but always charming Cape Cod Room, where we clinked our fishbowls and made friends with Vasil the bartender. Vasil used a penlight to point out Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s initials carved into the wooden bar and regaled us with tales of the Cape Cod Room’s heyday, but after chatting him up for a while, we learned that his real obsession is beer. Lots of beer. In his spare time, Vasil goes to bars where he orders pitchers all for himself—his favorite haunts include Rockit, Social Twenty-five, Mickey’s, and the lobby bar in the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, across the street from the Drake—but his top pick for biggie-size brews is Lion Head Pub, in Lincoln Park. “You can get, like, a 100-ounce beer there!” Vasil told us. “But I’ve never been able to finish it. Yet.”

I like lots of beer, too, though I would need at least a few hours to tackle a 100-ouncer. You can count on me for at least 12 ounces tonight, when the Chicago contributor Karl Klockars (a beerophile if there ever was one) and I host a 40 Bottles of Beer chat toasting Chicago’s tavern culture and the magazine’s 40th anniversary at The Village Tap in Roscoe Village. I’ll talk about a few of my favorite new and old local bars; Karl will give us the scoop on the most interesting beers available at those bars; and the mag will pick up the tab for your first brew of the night at 6:30 p.m. See you there.

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