I am Not Going: Free Champagne and Fancy Doughnuts at Barney’s


I am on some pretty weird email lists as a by-product for essentially spending too much time on the internet. I get recipes for meatless black bean burgers, Pakistani chain mail, and 5% off coupons on suede jackets ALL the time. But certain email lists really are fruitful; one such details where all the city’s free and cheap booze is at. You can imagine my shock to read the free booze was at Barney’s tomorrow from 10 am – 7pm.

A little background on my relationship with the high-end goods dealer: the only thing I actually own from Barney’s is a $600 dress I got at a thrift store; The White Elephant in Lincoln Park. And I know it was $600 because the tag was still on it. The dress fits like a $600 red satin blend dress should–it hugs every curve– and my friend once told me I looked “like sin in that dress.” That’s how good this dress is. It is immaculate. More on looking sinful next time…

Despite loving my red dress, I have only been in Barney’s once. I have this bizarre fear that the staff has a sixth sense that enables them to know there is only $17 in my purse. Armed with this information, they will radio the other staff and security, who will then rally the richest patrons around me as they form a circle and throw spiked Manolo Blahniks at me for daring to enter their den of luxury.

I know I really can’t shop there. I want to–badly, but the old budget won’t budge on this one. Designer goods in my world are hand-me downs from rich friends and scores at thrift stores (see above) but never ‘paid full price in fancy store place’ items. And I just feel like more of a piece of shit broke ass when I can’t buy the cotton socks, yep, cotton, because they are $40 and I’m half short of funds.

So here is the quandary: Can one reasonably get loaded on champagne and desserts without ever having the intention of buying the goods?

James Beard award nominated pastry chef Mindy Segal will serving up the brioche doughnuts and no word on how many glasses of bubbly one can tip back before aforementioned mob encircles.

If  Barney’s wants to us to help celebrate the reopening of the Chicago store, then maybe we should. I was ‘technically’ invited…

Barney’s New York, 15 E Oak St.

It’s Not Actually an Inn: Phyllis’ Musical Inn

Filed under Drink and Eat


A “Musical Inn” paints a very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ portrait: singing chairs, dancing spoons, acid flashbacks…but Phyllis’ intention was hardly a psychedelic boutique hotel (interesting thought though) Phyllis’ Musical Inn is Wicker Park’s oldest live music joint and happens to be one of my favorite bars. Find it at the corner of Division and Wood, between Ashland and Damen. It’s even got a good story…if you were wondering.

During the 1940’s, Wicker Park was mostly a Polish neighborhood and Division Street in that era was nicknamed the “Polish Broadway” for all the nightlife on the strip. Phyllis Jaskot, an accordion player, opened her namesake Inn in 1954 as a live polka club (Phyllis is Polish…if you were wondering). A true neighborhood staple, Phyllis’ has stayed put through Wicker Park’s better and worse times. Famed Chicago writer Nelson Algren even hung out there; immortalizing Wicker Park during the era.

PMI is still going strong–and is still in the family; Phyllis’ son Clem now runs the show– as a live music venue, though not all the acts impress. To be honest, some of the music can be pretty miserable. And as just a friendly caution: the open mic on Tuesday’s is a comedy open mic for amateurs, and last time I witnessed that mess there was plenty of uncomfortable silence.

Despite its average local music acts, PMI is still a Chicago original. It’s got the best secret beer garden in the city, a fish tank, and a framed picture of Pope John Paul II on the wall (what good Polish family doesn’t?). Phyllis picked out the faded blue wallpaper with the pianos on it and the murals on the walls tell a bit of the local history.

But don’t go calling Phyllis’ a dive bar. It’s been loved and well worn…if you were wondering, but it’s not an Inn or a dive.

Don’t Wine: Try it First

Filed under Drink and Eat


Always a big fan of a sample, we were excited to find out one of our favorite wine shops had a “Try before you buy” option available to customers. Printer’s Row Wine Shop promises you can taste your selection out before you make the commitment. They have over 200 bottles of vino from all over the world plus regular booze in case you aren’t a wino-yet.

Printer’s Row Wine Shop also features plenty of affordable specials and frequent wine and spirit tasting. 719 S Dearborn St. (312) 663-9314.

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