The Chaser

3 years
ago

Five Things to Know About Smith, the New Wine Bar Coming Soon to Logan Square

On the heels of the hotelier Ian Schrager’s announcement this week that the Ambassador East Hotel, once a celebrity playground, now will be called Public, we learned that the owners of Webster’s Wine Bar and The Bluebird have chosen a name for their soon-to-open Logan Square spot, further feeding this postrecession Everyman trend: Smith…

3 years
ago

’Stock Increase: Humboldt Park’s Rootstock Prepares to Expand

Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar, the cozy Humboldt Park spot owned by three former Webster’s Wine Bar vets and our 2010 pick for best wine bar, has gotten so popular that I now consider it a major win if I snag a stool there on a weekend—or actually any—night…

3 years
ago

Reality Revamp: The Abbey Pub on Spike TV’s ‘Bar Rescue’

The Abbey Pub’s office manager, Leslie Galambos, spotted the casting call on Craigslist and thought, Why not? The next thing she knew, film crews and producers from the new Spike TV show Bar Rescue (brought to you by the makers of The Biggest Loser and hosted by the bar and restaurant consultant Jon Taffer) had descended on the ripe-for-revamping pub and live-music venue in Old Irving Park…

Television

3 years
ago

Polynesian Party! The Terrace at Trump Opens for the Season Tonight

What would I do right now if I worked downtown? I’d knock off a little early and head over to The Terrace at Trump, where I’d be among the first drinkers of the year—on an almost-gorgeous afternoon, no less—to take in the best views in the city. Today is the Terrace’s soft opening for the spring and summer season, and in a phone call this morning to the bar’s manager, Kamilah Mahon, I got the scoop on its new Polynesian-chic theme…

3 years
ago

Standard Bar/Grill Takes Another Stab at Pleasing the Wicker Park Masses

“What’s with the sign? Looks like Barnum & Bailey presents a bar,” huffed The Creative Director as we pulled up beneath the many-bulbed marquee announcing Standard Bar/Grill the latest incarnation of the Wicker Park watering hold most recently occupied by Loft Six Ten…

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3 years
ago

Win, Place, or Show: Rating Kentucky Derby Parties at Chicago Bars

While I’m delighted to know that people outside my hometown of Louisville find the Kentucky Derby exciting enough to celebrate, even hundreds of miles away, I’m skeptical as to what outsiders think a Derby party looks like—and today’s Cinco de Mayo bashes haven’t exactly eased my anxiety. Premixed Mint Juleps? No thank you…

3 years
ago

Locking Horns: Bar Bar Black Sheep versus The Black Sheep

When I heard that a new spot called Bar Bar Black Sheep was opening last Saturday in Wicker Park, I knew there had to be some behind-the-scenes drama brewing. I’d been following the progress of another concept from one of our 50 Most Beautiful Chicagoans, Michael Simon, the former sommelier and general manager at Graham Elliot…

4 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…

4 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…

4 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…

4 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…