Friday 9 Aug 2013

Confessions of a Bar Patron

Recently I read an article called "Confessions of a Bartender." After reading the article not only did I find myself in mostly full agreement with the author, but I felt thoroughly entertained. Here is a link to the article:

At the end of the article is a section where readers can post comments via Facebook. Naturally the article offended some people, mostly the cheap and low class who felt the need to post what they hated about bartenders.

Below is my take as a bar patron regarding what I hate about customers around me in a bar. I'd like to preface that I've never been a bartender or have never held any type of service position in a bar or restaurant. Please excuse any inappropriate language as this is meant to be humorous and partly least to an extent.

10. No flirting with the bartender

It annoys the hell out of me when someone sits down next to me and starts flirting with the bartender. Why? Because it slows down their productivity and slows down my drink order. Chances are the bartender hates it and is only smiling to please you because that is their job. Whether you are gay or straight, lay off and stop the fucking flirting. Chances are the bartender doesn't give two shits about what you do for a living, where you live or how much you make. If you want to flirt with them do so by leaving a big tip.

9. Don't ask how much a drink costs

If you have to ask then you can't afford it. Do not ask "How much are your Martinis?" Then, for the love of God do not follow up that question with "Oh OK, well then how much is...?" as you look for a cheaper alternative. I will judge you, the bartender will judge you and we will all know you just wandered into the wrong bar. If this is you, drink at home or drink at your corner bar that has $2 drafts.

8. Don't act like a big shot but tip like a poor man

Don't act like a big shot and buy all your friends shots but when the $80 bill comes, only tip a few bucks. I may not know you, but I notice the cheap tip you're leaving. Why do I care? Because shit like this just fucking irritates me. For practical purposes it upsets the bartender which may affect my service, which upsets me. If you can't tip 20% on your tab then you shouldn't be placing an order.

7. Don't use my space for your drink

Just because you're waiting for a table does not give you the right to set your drink down next to me if you're standing behind me. If you ask politely, I'll be fine with it. But don't expect prime real estate at the bar just because you have reservations for a table. If you can't hold onto your drink for 15 minutes then you shouldn't have ordered it.

6. Do NOT close out and then sit at the bar for an hour chatting

Do NOT, under any circumstance close out your bill, finish your drink and then sit and talk for an hour sipping on water (unless the bar is empty). If you're going to sit and chat at least have the decency to sip your drink slowly or order another drink.

5. Know where you are

Do not walk into a bar that has 100 beers on tap and order a miller lite. It's insulting to the establishment, insulting to anyone who understands liquor and takes up the bartenders precious time to get you a bottle of piss water. There is nothing wrong with Miller Lite, but please do not order it at a bar with 100 different beers.

4. Do NOT walk into a bar hammered drunk

Please do not walk stumbling into a bar. While it may be entertaining for me sitting at the bar, I do not want to listen to you argue with the bartender or management about why they won't serve you. This takes up their time guessed it...affects my service!

3. Understand this is someone's local bar

With the exception of some of the touristy places on Michigan avenue, the bar you wandered into is someone's local bar or local restaurant. We come here many times a month or even many times a week. Please respect that by you just walking into this establishment the entire focus of the universe has not shifted onto you. You may have driven in all the way from suburbia for a friends birthday party and congrats on that. As wonderful as this may be, I don't give a damn. Keep your party at your table or your section of the bar.

2. TIP

I've never worked in the restaurant industry but I know if I did I would be jailed in a heart beat because I would end up stabbing someone on my first day. Your bartender is just that your bartender and not your servant. While they may "serve" you drinks this does mean you stop basic manners. Please and thank you go a long way! But you know what else is important? Fucking TIPPING! God damnit, TIP. Tip 20% or more. If you can't afford to tip properly, stay home.

Yes, tip on those expensive items too. If you order a $500 bottle of champagne you BETTER tip $100. If you can't afford to tip $100 on a $500 bottle then you shouldn't be ordering a fucking $500 bottle!!

And here is number #1 - the most important item of all....


It is not, never has been, nor ever will be, a fucking wine! Zinfandel is red. OK?

Some of you who are reading this may be offended. It is important to know and understand that I did, 100%, mean to offend you in the writing of this article. Please, for the love of all that is good, stay the hell out of any decent bar.

Thursday 27 Jun 2013

The Repeal of DOMA

DOMA was signed into law in 1996 by Bill Clinton. For roughly 17 years DOMA remained on the books not only as a highly controversial law but also one that violated the constitution to its very core.

While DOMA is most certainly discriminatory, it was the federal governments ability to violate states' rights that upset me most. Law makers allowed discrimination to cloud their judgement so badly that they were willing to trample on some of the primary founding principles of this nation.

While the 5 to 4 vote in favor of repealing DOMA has given us something to celebrate I cannot help but be sickened by the other 4. I am not sickened because they want to withhold our right to marry. Instead I am sickened that their personal bias has clouded their legal judgement so poorly that not only have they forgotten what they learned in law school but they have forgotten, or chosen to ignore the principles they learned in 7th grade history class. I expect this from a politician. I do not expect this from those who sit on the highest bench in the land.

However, I digress. As we close out Pride month with an amazing parade to come we do have much to celebrate. Many same-sex married couples across this great country can now start enjoying the benefits that other couples have enjoyed for ages. The repeal of DOMA has also appeared to receive phenomenal support from the majority of the mainstream media. I'm hopeful that this will be enough to push the Illinois house over the edge in legalizing same-sex marriage here in Illinois.

The greatest victory by the repeal of DOMA is at both ends of the spectrum, the very young and the very old. It is a great victory for those oldest in our community as they are able to see the legacy they leave behind continue to grow. For those youngest in our community, those who may not even know they are gay; it can be a tremendous sigh of relief. It means that the federal government is finally recognizing you. It will allow those youngest to grow up that much easier, albeit not without challenges.

While we sit back and sip a glass of champagne and celebrate this long awaited victory we must not get complacent. There is still much more work that needs to be accomplished here in Illinois and 36 other states in the US.

For those in my generation we must not take for granted the rights afforded to us for these rights came from the blood, sweat and tears of those who walked before us and continue to walk and fight with us.

Happy Pride Everyone!
Tuesday 4 Jun 2013

Banning Politicians from the Parade - Really?

Illinois Senate Bill 10, the Equality Bill, did not get called to vote last week, prior to the house leaving for their "summer break." My aggravation stems from many items that were not resolved before their break from the equality bill to pension reform. The amount of debt this state has is beyond laughable....but let me get back on track to the Equality Bill!

When the bill was not called to vote I was upset. I was angry that something we have been waiting a long time for was not even put up for vote. However, I have trust in Rep. Greg Harris and our other true supporters in the house to do the right thing. When an upsetting event like this occurs we need to voice our anger. We should write our politicians, we should speak to the press and maybe we should even hold a small protest or two. However, we need to act like adults. We do not need to act like children. Unfortunately many in the LGBT community are doing just that; acting like a kid who didn't get their way.

It is understandable that many are angry and may not want to see politicians at the Pride Parade this year but is this really the right move? Representatives Deb Mel, Greg Harris, Kelly Cassidy and others have fought hard for our rights. Should we simply turn our back on them during this momentary setback? Is this really going to help progress? After all you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.

What is most upsetting to me are the comments I'm seeing on Facebook from the LGBT community, most from the younger crowd. One quote I read in a news publication regarding the petition to ban politicians from the parade said "We have nothing to celebrate at the parade this year." Really? We have nothing to celebrate? I bet those in the LGBT community who are in their 60's and 70's who lived through hell would disagree. We have a lot to celebrate, but we still have work to do.

For some, it is inconceivable that we can allow politicians in the parade when this bill did not pass or even get called for a vote. For me, it is inconceivable how quickly our community can turn their backs on those who have been fighting for us. It is inconceivable for me how some in our community can be so ungrateful for the rights and inclusion that we currently enjoy. Inclusion and rights that many who are complaining DID NOT fight or suffer for.

It wasn't very long ago that gay bars were raided by the police. It wasn't very long ago that gay bashing was not considered a hate crime. It wasn't very long ago that in the state of Illinois you could be fired for being gay or even denied housing options. It wasn't very long ago that many states were amending their constitutions to ban gay marriage. Now we are fighting for the right to marry. While it is aggravating and frustrating it should be a fight that we are proud to fight. We should look back at where we were 40 years ago and be honored that we are currently fighting for the right to marry. We have come a long way, but we still have further to go.

So I ask all of you to think before you speak. Truly think before you say we have nothing to celebrate and think before you try to ban those who have fought for us from the parade. It is in times of struggle and adversity that we show our true colors. Lets show the State of Illinois that we are angry, that we are disappointed, that we will keep fighting...but lets do it with dignity.

Friday 12 Apr 2013

The Out Chicago Hotel - MY THOUGHTS

The OUT Chicago hotel is quickly becoming a strong possibility for the Boystown neighborhood. While I was not at the community meeting last night (Thursday 4/11) everything I read about it seemed fairly positive.

However there are the usual complaints so I will address them with my opinion below.

Is the Hotel a benefit to the community?

Yes! Just like Paul Cannella (owner of Taverna 750 and Scarlet) said, anytime someone wants to invest $30 million dollars into Boystown we should be happy! Such a hotel will bring a new type of visitor to boystown. This will be a visitor that spends their DAY in the community versus just a night. This means local shops, everything from those who serve coffee and sandwiches to those who sell clothing, will benefit. In addition they will be benefiting from those who do not live in the community meaning we will be pulling in business revenue and tax revenue from new sources.

Oh it is so expensive!

From some posts I have been reading online some are complaining about the nightly rates of $195 to $225. Are you kidding me? You think that is expensive? Have you checked out hotel rates in downtown Chicago recently? For those complaining about the hotel prices just don't stay there!

Would you rather the hotel charge only $60 a night? Not only would it not be economically feasible but who would you rather have spending money in your community? Someone who can only afford a $60 a night hotel room or someone who is spending much more? Who do you think will spend more money supporting local businesses?

The building doesn't fit in with the area!

What else is new. We hear this ever single time a new building is built. Whether it is downtown, in a suburb or in Lakeview. The fact that zoning must be amended will mean that the height will be kept to a minimum so we don't need to freak out about a "monster" building on Halsted.

What needs to be remembered though is that design and architecture are ever changing. They change to meet the needs and wants of a community. They don't sit idle to pacify the one or two people who may lose a view or lose light in their living room.

Traffic! It will bring more traffic!

Of course traffic is always a concern. When I lived in Lakeview I hated dealing with traffic from cubs games and I despised anyone with out of state plates. But I would always try to remind myself they are here to spend money in our neighborhood which is a good thing!

I don't believe traffic is going to increase much with this hotel. It is a hotel and therefore most people will likely not be driving to it. Even if they do drive to the hotel they will park their car and likely not drive it during their visit. If the hotel is at full occupancy, lets say that is 112 rooms, how many will actually drive? Lets say 50%, that is only 56 vehicles and I'm sure the number of drivers will be far less than 50%.

What needs to be addressed here is a curb cut. Taxis I believe will be the most prevalent for the hotel and we want to make sure that Halsted is not bogged down with cabs dropping people off in the middle of the street versus being able to pull up to the front of the hotel. I'm sure this has already factored into their proposed plans as it does with every hotel!

New businesses can be sustained

Lets do some very quick math here. Lets use some conservative numbers and say that The Out Chicago will have 65% occupancy at any given point in time. This is under the Chicago average so I'm sure it will be higher, but lets be conservative. Now lets say that each "hotel room" will contribute $80 a day to the neighborhood on top of what they spent on their room. Again this is a very conservative number. If two people are staying in the room this is only $40 a person. Think about what you spend in a night out in Boystown. This works out to $2,125,760 of revenue to the community. Some may argue "well those people were going to visit anyway." OK, so lets cut that figure in half. Either way both numbers can easily support a new restaurant, a new coffee shop, a new boutique. Again, these are ultra conservative numbers.

More Jobs

The hotel will bring 100+ jobs, but in addition the increase hotel generated revenue could easily mean more jobs at existing bars, restaurants, and shops as well as at new businesses that may open.

The OUT Chicago can be an "Anchor"

In Real Estate we call certain stores "Anchor" stores. For instance Oak Brook mall has Macy's, Neiman Marcus, etc. as "Anchor Stores." These anchors draw people to the location. Other stores open up and are able to feed off of the traffic from the anchors. The Out Chicago will act as an anchor that will increase traffic for current businesses but also allow new ones to sustain themselves.

I'm very excited for the new hotel and excited for what it can bring to Halsted street in 2015 and beyond. It will help turn Boystown into more of a "destination" than it already is and everyone whether a resident of Boystown or a visitor will benefit.
Wednesday 12 Dec 2012


There may be many of you who have seen "The Book of Mormon" plastered across buses and billboards across Chicago over the past several months. This evening (or given the time I should say last evening) I had the ability to experience this production on opening night.

I would like to preface that after The Book of Mormon I further enjoyed the experience of an open bar (sponsored by Absolute) at the JW Marriot so my grammar may not be the most accurate and I apologize if this piece is a long winded. Lastly I apologize for not writing in such a long time!

So here is my review on The Book of Mormon.

If you have a very religious mother in-law I would not recommend bringing her to see this play. However, chances are you would not want to see a play she would want to see either so you are in luck! The Book of Mormon had me craving more after every scene not just for the cute actors but for the amazing performances they provided. The humor was non stop throughout the production but the quality of acting and singing was also on par with what you would expect with a Broadway performance. 

Growing up in a Catholic environment and going to Catholic school until college; I took great enjoyment out of the script and the comedy which kept me laughing even at this late hour. I received messages from several people saying "Let me know how it is...should I go to see it?" The answer is YES! 

Critics will compare it to many different performances and I'm sure you will all read them in the papers and on-line. However, my opinion, as a casual visitor of such performances is that The Book of Mormon will become the new "Wicked" that once controlled the "Chicago broadway" scene.

I had the pleasure of meeting with several of the Book of Mormon cast after the show at an after party. It was amazing to see how each and every single actor/actress was THRILLED to embrace the new fame bestowed upon them. They could not wait to take pictures with all the fans and they did not even hesitate to answer questions or speak with you for extended periods of time. 

It is not only productions like this that make Chicago great but it is the incredible attitude of their performers and the fans alike that make Chicago the next best thing in Live Theater. 

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