Last Girl Standing no more.
In what turned out to be a truly memorable evening, I finally tied the knot a couple of weeks ago at the Drake Hotel. Since my marital status has changed, it seemed like the title of my blog should, too; hence "Nightspotting 2.0," a nod to my longtime print column in Chicago magazine. And now that my mini-moon to the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach is over, I’m back pounding the pavement to bring you the latest from the nightlife front every Thursday—and check in Mondays for weekend photos from the scene. But first, for those who sweated out the prewedding jitters with me via the blog, a few highlights from the big event.
A lot of married friends warned me the night would go by in a flash (it did) and that I might not remember all of it (I don’t). But I remember plenty, especially messing up the steps to our first dance (set to John Legend’s "Ordinary People"), which we had learned just that week in private lessons at Arthur Murray. And I remember swapping in our own twisted, improvised version of the rumba (call us mavericks). Friends also warned me that not everything would go exactly as planned and that I shouldn’t get too worked up about it. Honestly, I had been floating on cloud nine for so long, not even the busted air conditioning in the Gold Coast Room phased me; a nearly hour-long Horah would make anyone sweat.
It was the music that really set the tone for the night: Our 22-person bridal party walked down the aisle to the theme song from St. Elmo’s Fire (hey, we came of age in the eighties), and I walked down to my favorite Beatles tune, "In My Life," played by a piano and a violin. As for the recessional, we surprised everyone, even our parents, by having Kanye’s "The Good Life" crank up just as The Husband stepped on the ceremonial glass. If that didn’t signal a kick-ass party, our vintage-style photo booth did. A line formed the minute the reception started, and guests kept the booth occupied all night. And what’s a party without DJ White Shadow? He started spinning around 11 p.m., just as the band was winding down. The Husband’s six-year-old nephew, Ben, got behind the turntables to scratch with White Shadow until the wee hours. Ben enjoyed it so much, he now knows what he wants to be when he grows up. You’re welcome, new Brother- and Sister-in-law.
We truly had the time of our lives, but nightlife goes on. Our first weekend back, I caught the Citizen Cope show at the Vic. After the concert, Cope, né Clarence Greenwood, made his way into the crowd to mingle with fans. I snatched some face time with him to find out if he was still dating R&B singer Alice Smith (he is) and if his dreads looked as nappy up close (no comment). I also checked out Sully’s House and The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.), two neighborhood bars with two very different vibes. Sully’s House, owned by Sheriffe Jusufi of the 30-year-old Salvatore’s, is a souped-up corner tavern in the Weed Street District with something for everyone—Plasmas? Check. Wii Wednesdays? Check—but I was most impressed with the beer selection. Among 20 or so brews, Delirium Tremens was on tap for $8.50.
Across town in Logan Square, The Whistler is run by first-time bar owners Billy Helmkamp and Robert Brenner, a.k.a. the guys behind Whistler Records (home to bands including Blue Ribbon Glee Club; think classic punk sung a cappella). The small bar-slash-creative-space will host local bands, as well as film screenings and poetry readings, although not the night we were there. "I’ve always wanted to be my own boss," Helmkamp told me. It’s a rather courageous entrance into the industry at a time when some of my favorite bars, including Avenue M, are up for sale. Here’s hoping church pews as seating and a hot-right-now location keeps The Whistler filled even after its back patio closes for the winter.
Is anyone else as surprised as I am by how many new bars are popping up in this rocky climate? Friday the 10th marks the private opening of the much-anticipated Vertigo, on the 26th floor of the new Dana Hotel and Spa, with the public opening on Saturday the 11th. Although the bar’s rooftop just missed becoming summer’s go-to destination, I can’t wait to see its indoor digs, with purported sweeping views and roving cocktail carts. And guess which DJ is back in town to make headlines again? Samantha Ronson spins at Crimson Lounge on Friday night, and if history repeats itself, girlfriend Lindsay Lohan just might spend the evening in the DJ booth, rooting Ronson on.
And coming up: more on the new spot from Howard Natinsky, Cary Michael, and Jim Dragatsis; the new bar from High Dive owner Georg Simos; and Drinks over Dearborn (650 N. Dearborn St., 2nd floor), which launches with a soft opening Monday the 13th.
UPDATE 10.10.08 4:55 PM: This just in! Avenue M is now closed. As of today, the sale went through, according to one of its owners.