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Drinking in Chicago

What’s your mood for the night, huh?! Looking to pick up a pal, or would you rather spend a relaxed evening with the lover or whoever it is you fancy at the moment. A sinful ladies’ nite .or maybe a boisterous crowd of teens celebrating end of school. Heck, just a Friday night drink. No sweat. The eyes do get starry about the US of A, and when it comes to drinking out, there’s reasons-a-plenty. Gay bars, Sports bars, Irish Pubs, Wine Bars and Jazz bars.live music, it’s truly the works. Salivate, drool, and do me a favour, don’t dress it up.just drink it all in!

If you’re a first-timer, all wide-eyed and everything, Manhattan is bound to send the adrenalin levels rushing all over like crazy. But when you’re more like settled a bit, the other cities won’t feel like a raw deal at all. The windy city knows a thing or two ’bout its drinkin.. All right, so there’s enough song-and-dance about life downtown, but there’s enough happening in the suburbs for you to be able to cover on a visit. Trust me, I tried..and flunked outta there!

Evanston, a hip suburb, is both a college town and (beat this!) .. the home of Francis Willard’s Christian Women’s Temperance Movement, which leads a national movement to abolish alcohol! No traces of that though. Enough booze flows for me to be able to reassure all lovers of the (vice?!). your cocktails are insured at least as long as you live. Dinner happens early. Don’t be surprised to see restaurants packed around 7 pm. (surprise!).Life begins after 11. Pete Miller’s was the pub most talked about by some students at close-by Northwestern University. So we headed there, a tiny ‘fivesome’. You haven’t seen crowded till you’ve squeezed into this bar. Not that the place lacks space.

The live jazz Thursdays through Sundays attracts huge numbers. Mostly 25-40 somethings. Err..skimpy and not-so-skimpy somethings as well, for the hot-blooded interested ones. Women, if you dig older men, wear that black number and entrez. A separate room for pool keeps the sporty ones occupied. There’s a long waiting period though, despite five tables. Our turn came at a grand 2 am, by which time enough damage had been done for any of us to really bother keeping tabs on stuff like score and who’s in who’s team! I tried my hand at what I’ve always considered a snooty hobby. But when you’ve downed a huge pitcher of beer, stray sips of margaritas, bloody mary, wine AND quite a bit of tequila AND topped it with Death by Chocolate, believe you me, it’s like you’ve been playing this shit all your life.

The hungry ones can lounge over a glass of wine at the Steakhouse, one of the liveliest restaurants around here. What with Evanston’s screwy liquor laws (you have to serve food to be able to sell alcohol there) there’s really no such thing as a plain club or lounge. (Do we relate to such odd laws back home, or what?!). Probably explains the appeal of Pete Miller’s Steakhouse. You don’t necessarily have to eat something to dig acts such as acclaimed pianist / vocalist Judy Roberts, tenor saxophonist Frank D’Rone, or, in an inspired bit of category-hopping, the rollicking R&B of guitarist Dave Specter and the Bluebirds. (My deep conscience makes me admit I hadn’t heard of any of these guys, but the brother-in-law made it sound cool enough to add ).

Sit at the bar in the centre or on one of the small tables surrounding it, drink your drink, tap your feet, maybe yell a little in appreciation. The noisier it gets, the more everyone seems to love it. I even tried the mambo with some chick from Brazil. Uhhh, with two left feet, it takes guts. That’s what I liked most about Pete’s. Hell, I’m usually not comfy with 50 people cheering me on.And there’s no dance floor. Do what you wanna exactly where you


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