Jazz It Up

January 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )


Over the long weekend, Scott and I finally experienced a Chicago legend. We went to The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge after a delicious dinner of Ethiopian food on Saturday night and we were not disappointed. The Green Mill has been around for over 100 years and Al Capone used to hang out there with his henchman back in the day (there’s a tunnel behind the bar leads outside and that Capone used to use that wisely but no, they will not give a tour). The interior is fairly small and not really conducive to large crowds but it doesn’t really matter because it’s pretty much always crowded anyway. Scott and I arrived as the band for the night was finishing their first set, which worked out perfectly because we were able to snag a booth as another couple made their way outside. From there we had a great view of the stage, the bar and the crowd, all of which were very entertaining. It was pretty cool because they take their music seriously at this place, which was evidenced by the bouncer telling us to keep quiet during the sets and the loud “Shh’s!” that people whispered to anyone who dared to talk once the music began. I don’t remember the name of the quartet who was playing while we were there but they were pretty good and had everyone dancing in their seats or in the aisle. We stayed for a while but didn’t really want to close the place down (mostly because the Green Mill is open until 5am on weekends and we’re too old for that shit) so we had our fill of music and booze and caught the bus for a short ride back to our place. It was a whole lot of fun and definitely someplace I want to go again! And when I do, I’ll work on making friends with the bartender so I can get that tour of the tunnels I’ve heard so much about.

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Rock Out

July 15, 2011 at 10:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

So I saw a concert last night (yes, on a school work night).  I haven’t been to a show in a while and I’d never been to Northerly Island, the little peninsula in downtown Chicago where this action was taking place.  We saw Sublime with Rose (who may not be Brad Nowell but sounds an awful lot like he did) and 311 (who’s lead singer is much more attractive than I was expecting, causing a bit of a distraction).  The group I was with had tickets in the bleachers and while this hindered our dance moves, it did not stop them entirely.  One $11 beer and a beautiful sunset over the city later and we were ready to rock.

Sweet Home Chicago

The show was pretty damn awesome.  Sublime pulled out many old favorites that I sang along to as well as some of their newer stuff that I’m not so familiar with.  They played for about an hour before calling it quits, which gave us enough time to grab snacks and beverages while trying to find some old friends.  People watching was optimal as there were many super wasted dudes and dudettes stumbling around, so that provided nice halftime entertainment.  Then the headliner, 311, came on stage.  They seriously rocked.  In fact, the lead singer changed his shirt probably 4 times because he was jumping around and sweating so much.  I’d never seen 311 live and they put on a really great set – the lights were especially cool and they absolutely knew how to work their crowd.  That show as apparently also being filmed for TV so the cameras caused the crowds to be especially rowdy, which was also quite entertaining.

We also couldn’t have asked for better weather.  I was more than comfortable in just jeans and a tank top and there was not a drop of rain in the sky.  The breeze from the lake was nice and the full moon that came out when the sun went down just added to the general awesomeness of the evening.

In conclusion, go see live music.  Especially in Chicago!

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Let Them Eat Cake

September 27, 2010 at 9:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

So Friday night I went to a coffee-house that I’d never been to before.  As I really just started drinking coffee in the last couple of years, I am by no means a connoisseur.  When I do go out for a warm beverage, I prefer places with a little more personality than say…Starbucks.  Enter Julius Meinl.

I'm ashamed that I passed by this place so often without ever going in

Julius Meinl is a coffee-house that originated in Vienna, Austria and has only three branches in all of the US – and they’re all in Chicago.  I’ve seen them around before and for some reason thought it was a much bigger chain, but apparently they’re pretty rare.  I’ve walked by this branch in particular many times and it’s usually pretty crowded, especially during brunch time.

Told you so

As I said, I finally ventured inside on Friday night.  I was with a friend who mentioned they had some live music and since I’m always a fan of that, I figured we’d get some dessert and check it out.  I was blown away.  First of all, the pastries and cakes served in this place are completely European and completely decadent.  As for drinks, there were more coffees, lattes and teas than I could’ve ever hoped to choose from.  My friend and I split a piece of chocolate pie that had some sort of pistachio crust and it was amazing.

The music turned out to be pretty great as well.  The place wasn’t too packed, which allowed us to sit as close as we wanted to the two older gentleman who were performing.  One had a violin and he made some of the most beautiful music I’d ever heard.  Seriously, I was in awe of this guy all night long.  His musical partner played on something that I can only describe as harpsichord-esque…I honestly don’t know what the instrument was.  It was a little like a piano but much smaller and made of wood.  And he didn’t hit keys; he used a tool similar to what one would use on a xylophone to hit the strings.  I was going to try to find a photo but since I don’t know what it was, my image search was cut short.

These two are apparently well-known in the world of classical music, though I never did catch their names.  Since my friend and I were among the only patrons who were simply listening and watching, they asked us for requests a few times.  And by requests, I mean they asked us to name a country and then they played something from that particular place.  How cool is that?  I gave a nice tip as I walked out and if I had had more cash on me I would’ve bought their CD.  We watched for about an hour and a half before heading out, and the entire experience made me oh so happy.  Since Julius Meinl has live music at all of their shops every Friday and Saturday evening, you can bet I’ll be heading back sooner rather than later.  And if you’re in the Chicago or Vienna area, you should check it out for yourself!

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