Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Worldview Brew

Not feelin so hot today...glad I got some writing done over the weekend...

Evenings past at The Map Room (#47 below) with Mols & Co.

So you would think that my being without any kind of ATM card would have slowed me down over the weekend but au contraire. I had a dinner date at Mambo Grill with Lisa and EpiChem/Dave where we continued our tour of restaurants we've been meaning to try (more on that later-1/2 price mojitos).

Over dinner, the recently released 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die came up and became the point of this post. Chicago has FIVE spots on this list. I'm very impressed with us:

24) The Hopleaf- Andersonville's perennial favorite and my usual halfway point for meeting my Evanston loves.

43) The Clark Street Ale House- My most recent as I was escorted here after Mambo that very night for the first time. I had a Lagunitas Brown Shugga and patted the bar's Golden Retriever. I'll obviously be going back. Plus being down there is a good reminder that I do live in a massive city. Chicago's an easy place to think you live in a bunch of connected neighborhoods and that the skyscrapers are just scenery. It's kind've unreal when you're standing in the middle of it looking up.

47) The Map Room- Que Queens of the Stone Age and a drumroll....TKTC's favorite bar. I've talked about it before (just there with EpiChem & Lisa a few weeks ago). This bar had me at hello. Jaimeson picked me up back when I lived in Lincoln Park on our first technical date back in the day (Dec. 06... slow boat) and as we continued west he just kept smiling, knowing I was going to love it. I probably would have been enamored upon arriving at a shoebox on Lower Wacker considering the company. Luckily I found a longterm love affair instead (see opening photo sequence).

The place is billed as a "Traveler's Tavern" and the walls are covered in maps and shelves containg back issues of National Geographic. There are pool tables and hundreds of beers and it's off the beaten path in Bucktown. An older man came in selling homemade tamales around 1am and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. That and the Three Floyds Rabid Rabbit, Fat Tire, Lindemann's Framoise et. all.

Give me anything with a little history, some educated grit, an epicure's taste and a bit rough around the edges...never stood a chance.

84) Goose Island Brewing Co.- I'm a little ashamed that this is the one spot I've not visited. Local brewers and I've tasted and enjoyed their wares on more than one occasion. Call me what you will but Wrigleyville is too much for me most of the time. This is the push I needed though. I'm gonna snag a ticket and go get a beer. Who's in for the Cubbies?

115) John Barleycorn- I was a little surprised by this one until I thought it through. I've had a beer at both locations and, per the above statement, much prefer the Lincoln Park scene. Never on a Saturday night but Saturday afternoon on a sunny summer day in the beer garden? I totally get it.

There were some other spots on the list that I think I could be trying soon:
21) The Publick House, Brooklin, MA
34) Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY
102. McSorley’s Ale House, New York, NY
107. Sunset Grille & Tap, Boston, MA

Other checkmarks on the list:
39) The Flying Saucer, Memphis, Nashville and San Antonio (good in all three places)
44) Tailgating at an SEC football game (Go Vols? War Eagle?)

Hopefully SOMEDAY (in my own order):
83) Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
20) Beer Club Popeye, Tokyo, Japan
85) Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
69) Bariloche Ski Resort, Rio Negro, Argentina
61) Kr?ma, Ceske Krumlov, Czech Republic

Oh and in other drinking news, the day before I got mugged, I took Alex and Tina to Lalo's for a little Cinco de Mayo celebrating with Cam & Tay. I don't know if anyone was too terribly impressed by the food but the margaritas were a different ballgame entirely.

After an afternoon sipping Coronas, I was not reading too closely and thought I was going with the pitcher of margaritas that was one step below the premium (thrift inserts itself at strange times). So I ordered for the group. And they came out blue. I will likely never live this down but don't worry, we all finished them. Not without some pretty animated facial expressions though. Blue. Yikes. Sorry guys.

A better time at Mambo Grill. I'm reminded that it's pretty awesome to have other food friends downtown particularly because when it was their turn to pick (I picked Le Bouchon pre-England), they went with 1/2 Price PITCHERS of mojitos on Fridays. Should've gotten a shot of those but alas, you'll have to be contented with the chiles rellano, roast pork and chipotle shrimp below. The guacamole was pretty great as well and TKTC knows guac.


Sara said...

sunset is awesome! susie and i go there all the time for their nachos (good beer too!)

Alexa said...


you favorite bar is the map room?!?!

ok now this is just weird. i live across the street from cleveland's map room. no joke. it is my regular bar and the place where everybody knows my name.

so random. for serious.

ToKissTheCook said...

Sara- I can't wait to try it out! And what's so great about the nachos?? I'm googling them right this minute.

Alexa- 1) I LOVE that expression and am finally adopting it. 2) It is clearly an awesome bar then and I wonder if they're related?! Does yours have billions of beers and National Geographics?

Nilsa S. said...

1) I LOVE THE MAP ROOM! Especially before/after going to my favorite little Cuban joint, Cafe Laguardia, just a few doors down!

2) When are you going to New York? Sweets and I are headed there in a few weeks. Wouldn't that be so funny and kinda sad if a rendez-vous took place there instead of here?

3) Are you going to Ron's party Saturday night?

Katrin said...

So, I've been to a couple of the spots on this list - mainly those in the Czech republic and in Germany. How strange - I've never been to Gösser's Bierklinik here in Vienna. Never even heard of it...! (And I know my beer places.)

About your proposal- sounds great! However, I can't get off in August (I work in tourism, so no chance to leave mid-season), but the flight prices will drop in Sept/Oct. And plus, Chicago is so on our must-see list if we ever make it over the big pond. Martin is an architecture student, so Chicago is his El Dorado.

Molly McGuffin said...

not that this comment is remotely necessary ... but you know you always have free reign to post any picutres of me and my fave guadalajaran soccer stud :) just for the record.

and i most definitely share a similar love affair for the Map Room based on a couple of memorable soirees la-bas! rabid rabbit is right, rarrrr :)

L Sass said...

OK, so Spuyten Duyvil = cool, but can get uber hipsterish.

McSorley’s Ale House = you should not go there if you are 25+. I believe you still qualify!

Off to check out the other NYC spots on the list. And I guess I will be meeting you at The Hopleaf soon since I am about to be an Evanstonian?

Colleen Snell said...

Oh dear. We have some work to do.

44) Tailgating at an SEC football game (Go Vols? War Eagle?)

NO....GO DAWGS! A University of Georgia graduate can show you the best time ever. Trust me. Read this if you can't trust a stranger:


ToKissTheCook said...

Nilsa- 1) I think people's bars are directly correlative to their personalities. Hence why we get along famously. Dare I say I will probably love you even more after I try Cafe Laguardia. 2) I am going to NYC June 18-20 and yes that would be fun but we will once again just miss each other in fun places! 3) Undecided but likely!

Katrin: I'm dying to get to the Czech Republic and can't wait to hear your review of the beer spot in your own backyard! And per my indecent proposal, Fall in Vienna works for me and Fall in Chicago/the Midwest is incredible. I'm in. How do you feel about having a cat for a week?

Mols: Artistic license:) You two are solid eye candy and that night produced all sorts of amazing photos to choose from:) And we will Map as soon as you're back!

Sass: See you at Hopleaf. Per NYC, looks like I will be there June 18-20 for work so one of those nights, let's plan to cross something off the list!

Colleen: My dad went to Florida. I think you know what that means for this conversation. Although I'm ever more enamored that an SEC girl is in Chi:)

Shelley said...

I really liked the Publick House when I went there this spring. There are so many different types of beers it's insane... I had to ask my beer expert of a friend to find ones that she thought I would like. Both types I had were excellent.