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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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Andrew / August 4, 2006 12:11 PM

As you're hopefully aware, Gapers Block has a monthly Get-Together on the last Friday of the month. Basically a bunch of staffers just head to a bar and hang out from 9pm to around midnight, hopefully meeting a few readers. Very informal, very low-key.

Unfortunately, it seems we're so low-key that when the bar is crowded, some readers haven't been able to find us. That sucks, and it makes us bad hosts. Plus, because we try to hold Get-Togethers in different neighborhoods each month -- bringing the party to you, in theory -- we haven't gotten very consistent attendance. That also sucks.

So, we want to change that. We'd like to find a place where we can hold Get-Togethers every month, and we'd love some suggestions. However, there are some guidelines:
• It needs to be close to public transportation, preferably the train.
• It needs to be a place that doesn't get so packed that we're on top of one another.
• It shouldn't be so loud that we can't talk.
• It needs to be affordable -- $6 Bud Lights are a no-go. (That doesn't mean it has to be a dive, though.)

If you're uncomfortable posting suggestions in Fuel, you can email them to us at

Also: if you're a bar owner or manager and would like to help sponsor our monthly event with drink specials, etc., we'd love to hear from you, too.

Mike / August 4, 2006 12:23 PM

Moody's Pub on Broadway, it's right off the red line. The burgers are awesome and cheap, and so are drinks. And they have a parking lot as well.

Mike / August 4, 2006 12:25 PM

Oh yes, they have a pretty nice outdoor patio (which is actually larger than the pub itself).

Eamon / August 4, 2006 1:09 PM


Eamon / August 4, 2006 1:17 PM

For really reals, though, give Bar1Events a call. Their bars can be a bit hevay on the college-kid vibe and you're limited to the Lincoln Park area, but they're really good at providing the hook-up for drink specials and reserved seating and such.

Y A J / August 4, 2006 1:24 PM

Cody's at the corner of Paulina and Barry

Y A J / August 4, 2006 1:27 PM

Or ride the Orange line almost to the end and we can hang out at 55th St - A Chicago Bar.

Andrew / August 4, 2006 1:44 PM

I should add one more stipulation: The location should be suitable for year-round events.

Nobody wants to sit inside at Moody's (unless you really like smelling like burnt meat and cigarettes...)

Mike / August 4, 2006 1:45 PM

As far as N/E Edgewater goes, I love Moody's as much as the next guy but it will be packed when GB has get-togethers. Plus, I'm not sure when they close down the outside. Last Friday at 8:00 p.m., my friend and I very luckily walked in and snagged a just-emptied table for two. The rest of the beer garden was full when we sat down and a line started almost immediately.

The nearby Old St. Andrews Inn has never been crowded when I've gone. They're not "hip" or anything but the crowd is usually pretty diverse, they have a ton of bottled beer, food specials and consistently friendly service. And they have little beer towels. Just don't expect to find any of last week's Pitchfork bands represented on their jukebox!

NSH / August 4, 2006 3:24 PM

the berwyn/cicero elks club on 26th & ridgeland. Everyone will have to join the elks but wouldn't that be so uncool that it would indeed be cool?

Megan / August 4, 2006 3:43 PM

Skylark on Cermak and Halsted. Close to the orange line, and right off the Halsted bus. They have great food.

Spook / August 4, 2006 3:56 PM

Beirut, we can all get bombed!

Cliff / August 4, 2006 3:57 PM

I think the Heuttenbar in Lincoln Square would be cool. Never too crowded, but pretty well known and relative cheap. And it's only a stone's throw from the Western stop on the Brown Line. Or if you wanted to go diving there's the Bitberger only a few doors down...

Cliff / August 4, 2006 3:58 PM

Although the Elks does sound cool too...

missmolly / August 4, 2006 5:00 PM

does it have to have food? how about the California Clipper? but they open at 8...or the Whirlaway? on Kedzie and Fullerton?

Andrew / August 4, 2006 5:07 PM

It doesn't have to have food, but that's always a plus.

Some places we've held Get-Togethers in the past:
- Hopleaf
- The Gingerman Tavern
- Konak's
- Happy Village
- InnerTown Pub
- Rodan
- Sonotheque
- Danny's
- Billy Goat Tavern (the one on Hubbard)

Of those, Hopleaf and Gingerman were probably the most successful, although Hopleaf has become less of an option since their appearance on "Check Please."

fluffy / August 4, 2006 5:22 PM

Some good places I would recommend:

Hungry Brain (busses near, I don't know about the train, though),

Monk's (downtown-close to Clark/Lake stop...not your typical downtown uptight place- you get free baskets of peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. The jukebox is acceptable.)

Underground Bar- Western & Belmont. it's ok.

The Skylark's tater tots come with 3 different types of dipping sauces, but as a connoseur, I can tell you they're not as good as they used to be. I was there last week.

fluffy / August 4, 2006 5:23 PM

The black Beatle is good too

Andrew / August 4, 2006 5:25 PM

Oh yeah, we've done it at the Black Beetle, too. The little side room was great, although a little warm -- we couldn't figure out how to turn down/off the gas fireplace.

fluffy / August 4, 2006 6:01 PM

The Fireside, I think that's its name up on Ravenswood. Not sure if it's still open. That may be too far north for some.

The Daily @ Lincoln Square has a room upstairs

Phyllis' Musical Inn has a nice beer garden- with a basketball hoop, even, so someone can get hurt and spill their friends' drinks. At least that's what happened to me. heh.

Mark / August 4, 2006 8:48 PM

What about the Handlebar on North Ave. They welcome group events and are close to the Damen Blue line stop.

mike-ts / August 4, 2006 9:05 PM

Handlebar is great! For good weather, they have the back patio, and when it's not nice outside, they have a basement you can ask for if someone hasn't already had dibs on it for their meeting. The food is varied (vegan, non-vegan too) and they have Three Floyds beer on tap - yum (hic). Plllenty of bike parking, but of course.

Cathy / August 4, 2006 9:54 PM

ooh - I vote for Handlebar as well!

Brian / August 4, 2006 10:20 PM

The Duke of Perth on Clark just south of Oakdale. Good beer, everything is priced right, and an added bonus: Scotch eggs.

printdude / August 4, 2006 10:40 PM

Let's see:
You wish to halt the roving party and bring it into a sort-of-permanant home, is this correct?
I would like to suggest three locations, of which I have no connections other than my own opinion:
1) Map Room
2) Jak's Tap
3) The Hideout.

Jake / August 5, 2006 2:10 PM

Just Butch on Kimball, just south of Lawrence. Right across from the Kimball stop on the Brown line. I'm telling you: Just Butch is the next big thing!

Amy / August 5, 2006 3:44 PM

Clark St Ale House. I know the owner and have thrown a bunch of get togethers there. Great domestic brews and scotches as well.

Frankel / August 5, 2006 4:07 PM

California Clipper on Augusta and California would be right on the mark. Great music and good cheap cocktails. Retro without the cheese, lots of room and quality locals.

paul / August 6, 2006 12:52 AM

This is a tough one. A permanent home will probably never fill all the requirements or everyone's preferences.

Many good bars mentioned here are too crowded late friday nights. Do many of us not show because of the day of the week, not the location?

That said, I second Clark St. Ale house, never too crowded, great beer selection, great scotch and bourbon list, beer garden for nice weather.

Another suggestion is either Pepper Cannister or Butcher's Dog. They each (same Irish owners) have a really long table, seating 10 comfortably, more intimately. Both have good food. I'm not sure how crowded 'the dog' gets late on a friday though.

lara / August 6, 2006 11:37 AM

handlebar, for sure. that is, if gb needs to reinforce the notion that all good things happen on the north side.

if, however, gb folks wish to tip their hats to the beauty that is the south side, then i say--

rah, rah skylark!

dave / August 6, 2006 12:12 PM

I'm with Lara here:
I'll throw in a fourth for the Skylark and neighborhood diversity, as well as a fifth for the Handlebar.

jonk / August 6, 2006 4:16 PM

though the handlebar is swell, it isn't so close to the train. while the skylark isn't so close either, it is only about 4 blocks, and south - er, not north - and good taps (though average prices), and the forementioned tasty tater tots (which, contra fluffy, i think have improved of late - crispier!)

skylark has plenty of space and they are possibly not crazy busy by 9 on a friday.

Carlotta / August 6, 2006 9:35 PM

I don't know the names of these bars, but they're on Lincoln, south of Cornelia. They don't look fancy, but from the outside they look like your bread & butter working class bars.

I noticed them as I was walking from the Zen Buddhist Temple after the "Ox Herdsman" performance. (Thanks for the heads-up on that GB!)

Andrew / August 6, 2006 10:11 PM

Yeah, the downside to the California Clipper is its isolation -- it's quite aways to the closest El stop, and the bus isn't too reliable late at night. Cool bar, though.

Marc / August 6, 2006 10:24 PM

Here are some ideas:

ABF / August 7, 2006 9:46 AM

Tavern 33
3328 N Lincoln
It's a half block down from the Pauline Stop/Brown Line. Low key, usually has a decent drink special and they let you bring food in.

Butcher's Dog
649 S Clark
It's close to Harrison Stop/Red Line and LaSalle Stop/Blue Line. I've only seen it crowded for Sunday Brunch.

jen / August 7, 2006 10:23 AM

unfortunately, California Clipper does not meet the "close to the train" requirement.
and after having brunch there on Saturday, I can say I heartily second the Handlebar.
another fine consideration: Small Bar in Logan Square (Avondale) at Albany and Wellington. good food and good beers (Point, Allagash, Oberon, Stella, Guiness, fancy beers on tap, plenty more in the cooler); however Small Bar is, as the name implies, small. though not usually too busy on the weeknights.

robin.. / August 7, 2006 11:05 AM

maybe you could roll the gets-together back and forth between two places, or among three? can't please everyone, but could please a greater percentage per cycle, mayhaps... it would allow you to do almost what a fixed location does but still keep it accessible and fresh from month to month.

Anthony / August 7, 2006 11:11 AM

SmartBar! Get a sweet DJ.

Blagg the Axman / August 7, 2006 11:41 AM

In the time of my fathers, village business was conducted at the local tavern, the Wagon Wheel. Over flagons of mead, matters of commerce and civic well-being were debated and put to rest, and before council was adjourned, more than one town elder had to be helped into his saddle for the ride home. Around the broad, oaken table in the back room they wielded justice goodly and true by torchlight; despite occasional squabbles, they believed in the morningís dawn and fields of plenty for their children.

Though my village was ravaged and roving packs of the Dark Lord Kayneís minions sometimes pass near, the Wagon Wheel still stands, its ale frothy and the barmanís lip stiff. I recommend the Wagon Wheel.

Mrs / August 8, 2006 11:30 AM

Lennox Lounge @ 3032 N Lincoln. Tasty vittles, lovely drinks, and cute and friendly bar staff.

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