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2005-02-03 - 7:30 a.m.

Bridgeport vs. Lincoln Park (drinking establishments edition)

-Lincoln Park:

Yes. Iím fairly thin with blond hair. I donít, however, see any need to dress like a hooker when I go to a bar. I donít shop at Wet Seal , and I shudder when I walk by it. If I canít look attractive without showing strangers my goodies, then I (and they) are just going to have to deal with it.

I hate loud places. This may sound odd coming from someone whose husband is pretty sure she has hearing loss (ďDid you just say Ďickle wallí?Ē ďNo, I said Ďlittle ball.Ē), but I go out to be with friends. Not to further lose my ability to hear. I carry around earplugs in my purse, but because I have itty-bitty ear canals, they end up making my ears hurt and then popping out anyway.

To be honest, I could do without going to bars at all if my friends would come over to my house and drink with me. But the official back-up plan of hanging out with friends is going to a bar. Okay, so I deal with this pretty well,* but I canít help feeling like Iím getting ripped off.

There are NO parking spots! I can only drive around aimlessly for so long before I have a fit. And yes, Iím Mrs. Pro-public-transit, but the Orange Line shuts down after midnight or so and even I draw the line at riding the Red Line in the wee hours of the morning.

*Iím a hard core beer snob. I can recognize the different types of hops and if theyíre not European I often wonít buy the beer again, so I make my own beer instead (best hobby ever, by the way Ė cheap drinking and an outlet for creativity). That being said though, Iím perfectly willing to drink Old Style or other watery American beers as long as its cheap ($2 or under) and on draft.
In order of preference:
1. Old Style Ė an aura of Cub-ness. They advertise and sponsor so much surrounding the Cubs I end up feeling like Iím supporting the team by drinking it. Also, itís too watery to taste bad.
2. MGD/Miller High Life/Miller Lite Ė I seriously canít taste the differences here. It tries a little harder to taste like beer than the Old Style, but it also doesnít succeed particularly well. Itís fine though. No major complaints other than my associating them with the Milwaukee Brewers.
3. Budweiser/Bud Light Ė Too involved with the Cardinals organization. I canít drink it based on principle. (I refuse to drink Pepsi products based on their affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche also.) There are a few in my refrigerator left from a party a few months ago, so they get used in cooking. Or when other, less-principled people come over.

-Bridgeport:

No one dresses like a hooker unless itís directly before or after a Sox game. Bridgeport makes a lot of sense to me most of the time (working class, gruff-but-friendly, fairly quiet). However, around Sox games itís inundated with drunk men between 20 and 50 years old who leer at women (this is very amusing when Iím in my usual bar and the regulars start keeping an eye out for me), yell half-garbled statements about how they hate the other team or the Cubs**, and stumble across large streets nearly getting hit by cars. Anyway. Sidetracked much? Yes. Normally, there are no prostitute outfits.
**Iíve come to the conclusion that yelling about the Cubs is a stand-in for when they forget (or never knew in the first place?) what team the Sox are actually playing that day.

It does get loud sometimes, but usually when itís loud a kick-ass blues band is playing and I actually want to hear them. I donít feel quite as much of a need to ignore the music around me when I like it Ė and it also justifies not talking to others there with me because theyíre also listening. The rest of the time, itís a jukebox that is at an acceptable volume and perfectly good selection. Itís nothing compared to the selection at Schubaís , of course, but I can only be so picky.

One of the bars in Bridgeport has a bust of Richard J. Daley behind the bar. This is vastly cooler than any disco ball or strobe light. Donít know why? Read Boss, by Mike Royko Ė he doesnít sugarcoat anything and some parts can be upsetting to read (for instance, the part when to tells police to shoot to kill during the 1968 riots), but Chicago makes a lot more sense after reading it.

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