The Chaser

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Not Home, Yet Alone: The Chaser kicks it solo for a hot minute

Amalie Drury

It's my job to write about Chicago and all of its people, places and things. If it's new and it's cool, I'm checking it out.

Brownstone Tavern on Lincoln Avenue.
There's an art to sitting at a bar alone, and I'm still mastering it. (Mom: "Sweetie, if I were you, I wouldn't spend too much time in bars alone. So unhealthy.") I don't know if women can pull it off as easily as men, who always have the option of hunching over some huge beer while staring with laser focus at a hockey game on the nearest flat-screen. But, I don't really know the rules of sports, and hunching is not my most flattering pose. 

Earlier this week, I accidentally went to a Maker's Mark tasting dinner on the wrong night. So, somewhat dejected, I adjourned to the nearby Brownstone Tavern to await The Creative Director, whom I'd summoned via text. Facing a half-hour interval sans companionship, I nervously scooted a stool up to the bar and pretended to seriously consider the beer list for a long stretch. Finally, the bartender (Sean, I later learned) requested to know my preference:

Bartender Sean: "What can I get ya?"
The Chaser (who suffers from severe beer-ordering anxiety): "I, um,, do you have any specials?"
Bartender Sean: "We have the Haywire Hefeweizen from Pyramid for $3.50." 
The Chaser: "Oh. What's that? I mean, what's it like?"
Bartender Sean: "It's kind of Blue Moon-y but a little less fruity." 
The Chaser (relieved): "Great, I'll take it." 

Meanwhile, I set about entertaining myself by creating a multimedia playstation in a semi-circle on the bar in front of me. To my far left was my massive handbag, which served to shield me from who knows what. Then I laid out an old issue of Time Out, my notebook and pen, my BlackBerry, the Hefeweizen, and the Brownstone food menu. For the next 30 minutes I repeated the following routine: 

1. Read a short magazine article
2. Engage the bartender in a snippet of conversation; write down everything he says
3. Check for e-mails, texts or missed calls; scroll frantically through Facebook feed
4. Take a sip of beer
5. Peruse the menu in anticipation of eventual dinner order
6. Glance up at Cubs game

I'm pretty sure I appeared totally at ease. 

Anyway, if you ever go to Brownstone for dinner, I recommend their new salmon club with a side of tater tots. It's a crispy/buttery delight. 

So, today is Earth Day. Too bad it's too chilly to sit outside and take in the natural wonders of the Earth over cocktails (though it could be my lucky day on the Big Star patio--just me, my puffy down coat and a few pork belly tacos). As you know, bars tend to love any calendar-based excuse to advertise a special. But, in lieu of running down every Dirtini in town, my Earth Day shoutout this year goes to Lumen, the Fulton Market spot that recently alerted me to the planet-friendliness of its interior revamp. Recycled bamboo and vinyl, a low-ambient HVAC system, efficient LED lighting throughout--it's all about as earthy as a nightclub gets, right? Sorry, I know this is a fairly random paragraph, but I had to mention something semi-related to our planet on her big day. 

P.S. I really, really need to stay in tonight, since last night's exhausting schedule included my friend Amy's book party at the W City Center; a sushi contest at RA on State Street; another friend's tape art video installation exhibit; and a late dinner/drinks situation at The Gage. But if there's one thing I'd leave the house for this evening, it would be the Passion Pit concert at the Congress Theater. I freaking love that band. They keep playing shows in Chicago, and I keep missing them. I guess I'll dance around my apartment to "The Reeling" right now, just to ease the pain. 



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