In late summer 2009, I might have had the busiest drinking time I've ever had. I already made plans to go to New York for a weekend, then my friend and fellow BBC drinking partner, Terry told me he was going to be working in Chicago for three weeks. He had a hotel right in the middle downtown, by the North Loop. All we would have to do is get to Chicago and we could stay with Terry for free. Me and my wife, Smoops decided we should visit the Windy City! I kept my New York plans intact, and made additional plans for Chicago. I was in New York on 28-30 August 2009, went home for two days, then went to Chicago for 4 nights. Total damage done: August 28th through 30th, 2009—NYC—12, 11 and 5 bars—28 total. September 2nd through the 6th, 2009—Chicago—7, 15, 14, 17—4 bars—57 total. 85 bars in 8 days. Whew! And I remember most of it fondly.
Of course with all of that action, I can't squeeze all of it into one post, so in today’s Bar Exam, I'm going to show some of the fun we had in Chicago. It was a great time! I wish I took more pictures on my crawls back then, but I mostly carried my camera around to get "scenic" shots. It would still be almost six months before Marty's 365 Bars came into existence for me—which kicked my pub crawl knowledge to the next level!
Okay, let's get to the Baltimore airport ASAP!
Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
2:17pm—I'm on my way home from a trip to Portland, Oregon (I drank a ton of beer out there for eight days). Anyhow, I never even flew over Chicago before, and this picture (and the next one) were some of my favorite plane photos of the Windy City. It got me on a kick to want to visit Chicago.
2:18pm—I wonder how many bars there are down there? I guess I’ll find out next year!
(Over A Year Later) Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
7:50pm—Me and Smoopy are on a non-stop flight to Midway! Hurry up! Can't this thing fly any faster?
9:54pm—We have landed, taken the subway to the State/Lake stop and walked three blocks north to Rossi's Liquors! Here is Terry greeting us to the big city! Rossi's is kind of the center of the universe here, as it is one block from our hotel—and it happens to maybe be the best place in town. Marty has to stop here someday.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
1:38pm—Here I am next to the famous Harry Caray sculpture at Harry Caray's Tavern. As it happens, the Cubs are playing at Wrigley Field today against the team from the other end of town, the White Sox. Both teams were supposed to be off and this was a one game makeup of a rainout. Works for me, otherwise I still never would have had a chance to go to Wrigley. If you're a baseball fan, you have to have hit Wrigely and Fenway Park, at least once in your lifetime. I hadn’t been to either park, but I get to visit one today!
2:42pm—The game has started already, but since this is my first visit here, I'm enjoying walking around the neighborhood. But we should head in now and check out the action in the ball park.
3:43pm—A shot from our seats, it's a nice day out! The White Sox have a 1-0 lead right now, but the game is young.
4:59pm—Game is over. White Sox beat the Cubs 5-0, and Alfonso Soriano struck out to end the game for the Cubbies. The fans are pissed and unhappy with Soriano and I’m hearing them give him an earful from our seats!
5:19pm—Time to walk around and explore more of the Wrigley neighborhood.
5:48pm—Who dat? It's Terry! He's done with work for the day and it's time to hit every happy hour in town!
5:11pm—What the hell is going on here?
5:14pm—Smoops at Yak-Zies, the first bar we hit after the Cubs game.
6:08pm—I like this Cubs painting that was in a pizza place we stopped at for snacks.
7:33pm—Still at O'Hagan's, but my drink is empty! Onto the next place!
8:00pm—Love this Old Style beer sign at L&L Tavern!
8:35pm—We get our drinks at Jake's. Mine is the vodka/tonic/lime in the middle, cheers!
10:32pm—Terry likes to create things while pub crawling—this is today's masterpiece. We have finally left the "Wrigleyville" neighborhood, and are headed back to Rossi's for a nightcap. Terry has to work in the morning, so me and Smoops hit two more after he heads in. We were at 14 places today, which I believe is a BBC record for a Thursday!
Friday, September 4th, 2009
1:08pm—Well, we can't drink for 16 hours a day, so lets go do something touristy on this fine Friday afternoon. Terry is at work, so me and Smoops have a few hours to chew up.
2:18pm—Here we are at the top of the Willis Tower in one of their clear box things that stick out from the building. It takes a little bit getting used to this. It's hard to shake the feeling that you think it's gonna fall off the building and plunge 103 stories onto the street below.
2:19pm—These folks don't seem as freaked out as I am!
2:23pm—A view of the north side.
2:31pm—A photo from the east side.
3:32pm—Okay, we’re safely on the ground now! Terry should be out of work soon, so we are getting a snack before we all meet up and begin tearing it up for the weekend.
8:14pm—The brickness of this place would fit right in Baltimore!
Saturday, September 5th, 2009
11:03pm—This guy could sing! I have to say this was the highlight of the whole weekend. We wander into this place, there's a band playing, and this guy goes up as a guest singer, and belts out a few tunes. He was good, American Idol good. Unfortunately, it was closing time and we couldn't hang out any more and enjoy. I wish I knew this guys name, if he isn't famous, he should be.
We go go 4 more places and end at 17 (a record!). Actually Terry wound up doing 21. My record was 17 in NYC, and I decided to stop at 17 in Chicago.
Sunday, September 6th, 2009
12:32pm—We have a 6:00pm something flight home today. We're at the Navy Pier now wandering around. We’ve decided to go for some Chicago deep dish pizza in a little bit.
Well, after four years, I haven't been back yet. Lots of trips to NYC, Pittsburgh, Charleston, SC—but no Windy City. I have to correct that - but probably next year. We're going to Pittsburgh next weekend, then I have a Two week trip to Marietta, Georiga after that. We’re going to visit Clacky in Australia this November, and various trips in between. Be looking for updates here at Gene’s Bar Exams every month at MBIP!
Everybody have a good Sunday! Cheers!