Thursday night I attended Avenue M‘s one-year anniversary party, and by the time my friend and I arrived around 8 p.m., there was already a line spilling out the door. We decided to forego the free drinks (which ended at 9 p.m., anyway) and stop by nearby De Lux, a clean, comfortable, no-frills corner bar owned by Gen Furla (I love women bar owners), who used to helm the now-shuttered Parkway Tavern on Fullerton.
Chicago feels like such a small city sometimes: When we walked in, we bumped into The Husbands – the male half of The Marrieds – with whom I’ve been friends for years; I’ve known some of them since long before they met their wives. They were having a guys’ night out at their usual Thursday hang, drinking man drinks, eating spicy chicken wings, and watching whatever game was on the flat-screen TVs. It wasn’t long before two of The Husbands (one of whom is actually a fiancÃ© for another month or so) started digging into my dating life. That’s always fun.
We came to the conclusion that I’m a great catch who must have someserious issues since I’m still single. (I believe firmly that anyone over the age of 32 who’s still single has a hang-up or two.) And that, just maybe, I should consider settling. (Not a chance.)We also discussed my eight-nights-a-week going-out habit – which, lately,has felt more like nine nights, what with the weather getting nicer,and events and openings ramping up – and how it might not be the mostconducive schedule for a girl looking for a real relationship, which iswhat I’m trying to find these days. But, hey, for better or worse, it’smy job.
After a couple of drinks with the guys and a round of dating-gossipdodgeball, we walked over to Avenue M. The place was packed: Over thecourse of the night, the bar welcomed about 1,000 partygoers. When weshowed up, not one more body could have fit in the downstairs bar,which is the area I like best. Even the back patio was filled tocapacity, and when it started to rain, the entire outdoor partyfunneled inside, spreading into the dining area and upstairs lounge – all10,000 square feet of space was in use. Jockeying for prime positioninggot difficult, but it was a great scene and a reunion of sorts for twoof the owners, Dan Schwab and John Merlo, who have been best friendssince attending New Trier together.
It was a reunion for me, too: I ran into an ex I was very seriousabout a lifetime ago who’s now married to another former Trevian; Ispent a chunk of the night catching up with them and sharing somelaughs – the kind that leave you clutching your stomach. And speaking ofunplanned run-ins: The night took an interesting turn when I bumpedinto a tragically hip and hot guy I’d met a couple of weekends back at Lumen.I spent the rest of the evening chatting with him, a cutewriter-turned-lawyer who likes to have about as much fun as I do, ifthat’s possible.
No matter how often I go out, the city just keeps getting smaller.