Sunday, February 26, 2006

Weekend Wrapup

What a weekend. Not one, not two, but THREE cuban cigars.
And PLENTY of single malt scotch to wash them down. Now, tomorrow
morning, a brisk workout and then a nice hot schvitz (that's a steam bath for all
you gentiles like me).
Ahhh...feel the Macallan 25 coming right out of the pores...

Tried to catch Archer Prewitt opening for The M's on Friday@ The Empty Bottle but
the show was sold out and the doorman would NOT have any part of a bribe. Remember
the old days when you could slip a guy a twenty or a fifty and pretty much get into anything
anywhere? Those were the days...

Somehow wound up at the old Division Street standby Butch McGuire's. For those of you who haven't been through Chicago, you may have heard of RUSH STREET. It's the area of the city with the grownup frat guy bars. The area featured in movies ABOUT LAST NIGHT and NOTHING IN COMMON. Beer bars, most of them offering free shots with every drink to entice you. There are a couple of cheesy dance clubs, and lots of guys that high five each other, whether they are twenty, forty, or pushing sixty. McGuire's is actually the most tolerable of the bars. My pal Alain the French Canadien swears they have the best bar food in America. I say that is nothing to aspire to. But if you like mini burgers, chicken wings, and fried stuff, check it out sometime.

Also popped in at one of my frequent hangs, THE SALOON. It's a great little steakhouse on Chestnut. Recently they were featured on the WTTW-TV restaurant review show "Check, Please", so now they are hopelessly crowded all the time. Which is good for them but lousy for us. The bad part about hidden gems is, once you put them on TV or in the newspaper, they are NO LONGER HIDDEN. But, c'est la vie. If you like a good bone-in filet, it's the spot that started it. Tell 'em Steffers sent you.
Then when they ask, "Who ?", just politely ask for a table anyway.

Dress nice though. It's classy.

There were a few other stops on the pub crawl this weekend but let's not get into a full blow by blow. It's February and here in the Midwest, that means frigid. A great place to warm up at the end of a long night is the bar at THE PUMP ROOM, off the lobby of the Ambassador East Hotel on State Parkway. A column I wrote for the RedEye about the old place follows. Let me give a little shout out to my new pal, Andrew Distel, the jazz vocalist who holds the fort most weekend nights at the Pump Room, with his quartet....that counts him, so is it a trio plus him or a quartet? At any rate, Andrew is a great singer from Cincinatti (he tells me there is a Cicny "scene" going on here in the Windy City), with a wonderful catalog full of gems and surprises. Lots of Frank, Jobim, a few Tin Pan Alley cuts, some Johnny Mercer thrown in for good measure. You can check him out at
And if you'd like a nice port or glass of bubbly with a side of steaming jazz vocals, hit the Pump Room. Just stay out of my seat at the bar. I'll be there, eventually.
Sleep warm, baby.


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