Okay, as I noted last Sunday, I took a little break here at MBIP to enjoy a four day vacation in Chicago. Below are photos from Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Tuesday and Wednesday will be posted tomorrow.) I’d write more, but there’s a ton of photos to post, so let’s just get ready to take off to the Windy City! And awaaay we go!
Saturday I took the train from Bloomington to Chicago. Things started off bad as the train was over a half an hour early. Combine that with the fact that I’m always crazy early for things and that added up to over an hour wait, but finally it came and I was anxious to get to Chicago! Sadly the train kept stopping for unknown reasons and we were over an hour late arriving in Chicago. I was a little grumpy over this and then things got really bad!
This is my room. I was staying at The Palmer House which is a nice hotel in the Loop in downtown Chicago. I got a decent rate by booking it through Expedia. It wasn’t so easy getting in the room though and it’s too long of a story to write as there’s a bunch of photos to post. Maybe I’ll put it up some day, let’s just say the Palmer House owes me at least a few drinks and leave it at that for now. I’ll write the whole thing up someday, but it wasn’t a good start to the trip. Thankfully things got better the next day!
MBIP commentor and friend, Amber M. lived in Chicago for years and was nice enough to send me a list of bars she thought I’d enjoy, so I thought I’d spend Sunday afternoon visiting two of them. Both of them are on Lincoln Avenue and on my was I saw this bar with a classic Hamm’s sign and thought I’d check it out.
Sadly it was closed. So it’s onwards we go to...
The first bar of the vacation! Amber said it was her favorite bar in this neighborhood, so I had to check it out. It’s called Finley Dunne’s and you can read all about it by clicking here. Let’s go in and check it out!
As you can see, this looks like a popular place and everyone was watching and rooting for...
Dan was bartending and happily posed for the MBIP camera. The first bartender of the trip to get photographed! Quite a memorable moment!
There’s the lit up bottles behind the bar.
Amanda and Carly were working the tables but stopped to give a couple of beautiful smiles for us!
Here’s a shot from the back of the bar and now it’s time to move on, we have a lot of ground to cover in the next few days!
The Grafton Pub is also on Lincoln Avenue and it’s the next stop.
There’s some empty seats at the end of the bar, so let’s go snag one!
Kelly was the pretty bartender on duty and she told me she’s originally from Aurora, Illinois. She recommended a bar called Rendezvu in Batavia, Illinois. Could be a possible road trip, you seeing this Scott?
There’s booths opposite the bar and a hallway leads to a back room. Kelly told me there was a large fireplace back there so I went to check it out and found...
This group enjoying drinks in front of it. It turns out they were in town to see a concert by a band called The Districts and Marley who’s pictured above is the manager of the band. When Marley found out I was visiting from Peoria, she said that the band has played in Peoria and that they love Peoria! She also said that local radio station, WWCT gives them great support and said she knows Dani, who does the afternoon show on WWCT. And now you know what we have to cue up now!
Okay, now the evening is upon us and the silhouette people in the car are none other than my friends Brad and Chloe from The Handcuffs! We last saw Brad and Chloe way back in May of 2013 when they were on a bill with Legs McNeil. Here’s a link to that post, I can’t believe it’s been over two years! Anyway, Brad and Chloe were kind enough to pick me up at the hotel and give me a ride to their house where we were going to hang out before having dinner!
They have the coolest house in the world and we went down to the basement where they treated me to an impromptu drum concert!
I love it!
Check out the cassette hanging on the bulletin board there. That’s a cassette that The Handcuffs have coming out for International Cassette Store Day. I’ll post more about that when the date gets closer. Brad and Chloe gave me an advance cassette and that was so cool! In addition to original material, The Handcuffs recorded a killer version of, “All The Way From Memphis,” by Mott the Hoople.
Chloe was recently chosen as a featured guitarist by Gretsch! You can read about that by clicking right here!
Brad and I engaged in a quick game of now you see him and now you don’t! Fun times!
Our dinner destination is Calo restaurant on Clark Street. Looks very nice!
Lilly was our pretty waitress and after snapping this photo we had to sing a chorus of this song!
Calo’s is famous for their ribs, so that’s what Brad and I got and they were so good! Fall off the bone tender and the sauce was really tasty! Chloe got a chicken dish and I also got a side of linguini that was out of this world good! It was a fabulous dinner with wonderful friends!
It was so great to see Brad and Chloe again, hopefully it won’t be another two years till we hang out again!
Two places I wanted to visit on Monday were a bar that Amber M. recommended called, Sheffield’s and a bowling alley that MBIP Contributing Writer, pal and Wheelman, Scott Turley suggested called Southport Lanes. Amber said that Southpoint was close by Sheffield’s so I decided we hit them both tonight. And I’m meeting my friend Karla tonight who I hadn’t seen since I was in Chicago for the 365 bar crawl! So I’m really anxious to see her and catch up. And as usual, I’m crazy early, so I thought we’d make a pit stop at this place called, Cheesie’s Pub & Grub. It looks like a promising place!
Very nice in here and plenty of seats at the bar, as most people are working at this time of the afternoon. Those poor slobs!
Well, I’m on vacation, so I happily accept this afternoon beer from friendly bartender, Tim! Cheers!
Kim was seated next to me and told me that she’s been to Peoria many times and that she has family and friends there! I told her to look me up the next time she was in town!
This is Ali and Sarah looking very pretty in front of the chalkboard menu. Sarah is the manager of Cheesie’s and Ali just recently moved to Chicago and is enjoying her time in the Windy City. The menu has a large selection of different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches. You can read more about Cheesie’s restaurant and food truck by clicking right here.
As you can see, they have a nice selection of beers on tap and here’s one of their grilled cheese sandwiches. I have to come back here and try one of them out, they look absolutely delicious!
Alright, here we are at Sheffield’s, let’s go in and check it out!
Wow, it’s really cool in here and I love the Chicago sign behind the bar!
Greg the bartender’s a friendly guy and he told me Sheffield’s has been on the block for decades. There’s a really nice beer garden in the back and I didn’t get photos of it, but you can check it out on their website.
These two pretty women were seated next to me at the bar, but like an idiot I forgot to write their names down! Hey, I’m on vacation, cut me some slack over here!
And here’s my friend Karla! As I said earlier, the last time I saw Karla was back when I came to Chicago for the 365 bar crawl, scroll down this link and you can see her with her boyfriend Eric! She’s looking prettier than ever and it was great to see her again! Karla’s a writer and you can check her and her work out online by clicking on these various Karla links: Lonely Planet, My Kind Of Town (& Around), Twitter and Instagram.
After a couple of drinks at Sheffield’s we walked over to Southport Lanes, a legendary bowling alley that Scott suggested. It looks great! The bar and bowling alley were built by the Schlitz Brewery in the early 1900’s and you can read about the history of the place right here.
Here’s Vito, the bartender for the evening serving up a Pabst tallboy. For some reason (maybe because I started drinking in the afternoon) I didn’t take any photos of the front bar, but you can see pictures on their website. I was more interested in the bowling alley anyway.
There’s a pool table in the back room that’s located opposite...
The four lane bowling alley! This is so cool and I love the Schlitz mural about the lanes!
As you can see, Karla’s having a ball! Oof, sorry about that, it just had to be done!
Rachel and Jared were bowling next to us and were a very nice couple!
Here’s Karla and I bowling in the second lane.
Gutterball alert! But it doesn’t really matter as we didn’t bother to keep score! Ha ha ha! If you look down at the end of the score card you see it says, “If you see legs, don’t bowl!” That’s because the pins here are hand set by people behind the lanes. There’s a light at the end of the lanes that turns green when it’s safe to bowl. Very old school and very cool!
This is Jose who set up our pins for the evening! Great to meet him and thanks to Karla for hanging out with me for the evening. Another fun evening in Chicago!
NOTE: I was going to do this as one massive post, but I'm going to have do it in two parts because the hosting site is freaking out and crashing with so many photos. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow! I have to go unpack now!