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Let’s all pretend we’re gangsters…

Posted Mar 29 2009 12:00am

Rathskeller (German: “council cellar”, modern spelling: Ratskeller) is a name in German-speaking countries for a bar below street level. (Thanks Wikipedia)

I’m not going to lie- I looked forward to Saturday night at Lottie’s all week.  Why you ask?  Here are a few reasons:

1. Going out in the city is always an adventure for me.  Mainly because I get to go somewhere new.  Not to dis downtown P-town (I heart Lamplighters like none other), but it’s always fun to branch out in my selection of drinking establishments.

2. It was the first time my roommate and I were actually going out together since before Christmas.  Yes, it’s almost April.  We kind of have opposite schedules… Lottie's in Bucktown

3. I’m the nerd that looked up Lottie’s after Justin told me about it.  Lottie was kind of a badass.  She took the grocery store that she ran and turned it into a full tavern in the 1930’s.  The downstairs was sort of a safe haven for some of Chicago’s most corrupt public officials and members of the mob scene.  It served as a gambling hall, strip joint and prostitution den back in the day.  Apparently Lottie was a rumored hermaphrodite with a “demanding presence” at six feet who could escort troublemakers out of the bar herself.  Dang, girl!

4. This was my first outting in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area.  I know!  I’m not going out in Wrigleyville this week- I guess I really am starting to branch out… ha ha

Only problem with hitting this area is that we didn’t have a place to stay (and didn’t feel like getting a hotel) and all of the guys we know were planning on staying in the general area.  And the last train to leave the Clybourn stop is as 12:38.  It blows my mind that, in a city that is up all night, that there is not a later Metra out of the city.  We may live in the suburbs, but believe it or not, we do not finish our night at 12:38.  Lame.  But we decided to make the best of it.

Do we look like we could have been gangsters? Lottie’s is the epitome of a neighborhood bar.  On the corner, surrounded by streets of cutesy old homes, it demands your attention with white Christmas lights on the pub and anything around it.  They also lined the entire ceiling of the upstairs bar area.  Somehow I doubt they participated in Earth Hour last night…  And I ignore the fact that they’re a highly advertised KU bar.  Nobody’s perfect…  Remember that downstairs that served as a prostitution den and gambling hall?  It now serves as their special private party room.  Awesome!  We had to stand around for a little while upstairs- they refused to open the downstairs not even a minute early.  And I wasn’t about to spend $6 on a drink when I would be paying $30 for bottomless cup less than 10 minutes later.  The bottomless cup special isn’t bad- it just sucked a little that Jessica and I had to make an early exit and not take as much advantage of it as we could have.  I still miss the days of $10 bottomless cup at Fieldhouse… sigh.

The downstairs was very cool.  Dimly lit with retro lights hanging down everywhere, old stone/brick walls, and just an overall home-y feel to it.  Top shelf liquor was definitely lacking.  And the bartender wasn’t a big fan of special drinks (he showed dislike for my roommate early on).  I stuck with vodka and sprite.  Just because it’s easier.  And you really can’t screw it up too much when you’re in a rush.  And I heart vodka.  Alot.  I drink like I’m a Russian.

Neither one of us wanted to leave when it was time to catch a cab to the Metra station.  We drank and hung out up to the very last second we possibly could.  We kept a phone out to watch the clock and make sure we were not going to short ourselves from any fun.  Getting a cab was easier than we thought it would be, considering we were in the middle of a neighborhood.  The guy drove us to the stop and hurried us out of the cab into the rain and sleet.  It was cold.  And I had my strappy shoes on.  Bad weekend to have half of my heels in shoe repair…

cimg2482 We were pretty frazzled on the ride back.  Drunk, wet and loud.  But we were always sure not to be cursing or overly loud when the ticket guy came through.  Our friends got kicked off the train last weekend for that very reason.  Long story short, apparently a drunken verse of kumbaya can be considered offensive. 

We got back around 1:15ish and walked across the street to Durty Nellie’s to meet up with Annie- who had a friend in town and said that they were having a pretty good time.  And in all reality, it was still pretty early.  But the train ride had sobered us up a little and I saw my roommate transform from smiley drunk to tired.  The night would end a little earlier than originally planned.  Which was fine.  Durty’s is a fun bar.  Especially when it’s summer and the rooftop is open.  But the rain/sleet had turned to snow.  A lot of snow.  And I had a hard time paying $7 for a long island that was so awful I could barely drink it.  I am no expert of how to make one, but I think it would have tasted the same if she had only put tequila in it.  Waaayyyy too much cheap tequila.  I paid for torture.  And I’m not really into that. 

One thing about the suburbs I am having a hard time with.  No late night food options.  There is a subway right next to Durty’s that stays open late.  But I am not the kind of girl who wants subway after a night out.  I eat healthy all week, so when I’m drinking, I want to only consume crap.  I want a burger.  Or pizza.  Pizza would have been glorious.  Lets work on this, Palatine!  Just think of the kind of damage a Taco Burrito House would do.  Hell yeah! 

I woke up and looked outside this morning.  Snow everywhere.  I almost forget how it was 65 degrees last weekend when we were touring the city last weekend.  I’m so over the snow…

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