I spent most of my time in Chicago chasing after my nephew, eating pizza, Harold’s fried chicken and Fannie May buttercreams (thanks, Mom!), and, perhaps not surprisingly, packing on the old lbs. When you find yourself pining for a vodka martini as a caloric respite from food, you know you need to get to a bar ASAP. This is the bar we chose:
Oh, how I love this picture. It looks cold and stark and urban and the trees are little sticks and the sky is gray and it’s still daylight, which means it’s probably 4:00pm. Perfect time to duck into a pub, warm up and get your drink on.
Of course, it’s May, so it was a warm-ish night. Awesome pals Ali, Heather, Christina and MJ sat out on the patio with me, chatting about everything and nothing at all. (As you do.) Jack’s Bar & Grill is connected to 404 Wine Bar, and I’m not quite sure why it’s not just one big bar that grills and serves wine — I sense that Jack is having a minor identity crisis.
That said, it’s a great place to meet and (so I’m told) eat. There are grown-ups there. You can hear yourself talk. It’s got big circular booths within shouting distance of the bar, and I think there’s even a fireplace inside somewhere, making it a cozy winter option. Plus, the neighborhood is easy cab-distance to both Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville — and stumbling distance from one of my favorite Chicago dining options, the famous/infamous Golden Apple:
Two words: PIE CASE. Two more words: PATTY MELT. (See why I can’t fit into my jeans?!) The Golden Apple is open 24 hours, and the some of the staff have clearly been working there since they opened over 40 years ago. NPR even did a special, 24 Hours at the Golden Apple. So you know it’s good. But tempting as it was, I did not eat the Apple this time. After we closed down Jacks at 2am, we honored another great Chicago tradition, the late-night burrito:
Ah, Janitzio’s. When I have no one to go home to (or with), you are always there for me, with a cheap ‘n cheerful quesadilla or burrito and plenty of drunk dudes for me to flirt with, drunkenly. So that’s one Friday night in Chicago. Still my kind of town.