One might think that every night is guy’s night out for a bachelor. Not really. Once a week, maybe. But once every month or so, when all the stars are aligned, all the guys can make it. None of the other nights really count, in our book. As you’ve probably noticed, we use a different kind of math than women.
Last night was one of those nights. We met at 8:30 at one of Jerry’s restaurants for dinner. Red Light, is down in the Randolph St. Market. Very good Pan-Asian/french food cooked up by Chef Jackie Shen. They focus on seafood and vegetarian dishes, mainly, but they have the spiced ribs, duck and other great items on the menu as well.
We started off with three or four rounds of Mango Martinis, a house specialty. Really good. Jerome(another restaurantuer and real estate developer in CA/IL) was giving some of the guys shit about talking airplanes NONSTOP at out last night out.
See, earlier this year, Andrew (one of my best buddies & another developer), his partner/architect Tim and one of their clients all pitched in on a really nice airplane. Like, $800,000. So they’re all amped up about flying and pilot’s licenses, etc.. Meanwhile, those who don’t fly are slipping into a coma on the other side of the table. Not good. Two things we really try not to do… talk about business and talk about airplanes. I don’t ever mention motorcycles at all unless asked: none of them ride. Women, of course, are always a good topic of conversation, although we could analyze them ’til the second coming of christ and we probably wouldn’t figure much out. God’s greatest mystery, woman. Also his most wonderful creation.
Back to dinner. Jerry went nuts on our dinner menu. One of everything. I suppose, if it was my place, I’d want everyone to try everything as well, but DAMN, that was a lot of food. The waiters were bringing out dishes so fast, one after another, we were all busier than two-peckered billy goats in mating season just trying to keep up. At one point Jerry leaned over to me, laughed and said “stop eating when you see white” (meaning the plate, of course). Under other circumstances(with a woman), I would have sent food back to the kitchen if they’d dumped so much on the table at once, but never in front of my friend; plus it was guy’s night, which makes it wholly acceptable, so we just plowed through it.
After dinner, we lost a few guys(married w/ kids), left the Red Light and headed a few blocks away to The Victor Hotel, Jerry’s new lounge. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. Jerry’s not really a restauranter/club owner, he says. He’s a creator/designer, who happens to keep equity in the things he creates. To him, every building/project is a blank canvas. He creates one and can’t wait for the next(in fact, he doesn’t. He’s normally running 5-6 startups at any time). He’d never be happy sitting around managing one. Some of you will remember him from Shelter, Marche’, Opera or Red Light. If I’m not mistaken, his next opening will be at The Drink, which he’s turning into a HUGE latin fusion restaurant/club. Should be wonderful.
The Victor Hotel (not a real hotel-just a lounge) is in an old freezer warehouse on Sangamon. Just take Lake to Sangamon and go north a couple blocks. You can’t miss it. It’s aimed at the mid-late 20’s and up crowd, a la Japonais. Very classy place with tons of great photos on the walls. Looks much like a modern art gallery – including very cool modern furniture – that happens to have 3 bars in it.
When we got there, things were just starting to warm up. David and John, who run the day-to-day show, are not only two great guys, but two of the best damn dressers I know. The Vic is a fabulous place to be from 10:00-12:00. Plenty of real estate, places to sit, lots of art to browse, nice music and enough people(2-3 dozen) to keep you from having to socialize with the bus boys. Things change over the course of the night, though. At 1:00-2:00 you can barely walk across the room. Ok, you can, but not without meeting 10 or 12 new(friendly and attractive) people on your way.
Marisa was there. She’s Jerry’s girlfriend and quite possibly the most strikingly beautiful woman in Chicago: half italian, half mexican. Hilarious, charming, down-to-earth girl from the south side hood. She left it all behind to become a classic violinist(yes, even Carnegie) AND now, an amateur boxer, too. Not too many people in this world would have the guts to do either, much less both. The least thing a violinist would want to do is mess up here hands. But then, she’s from the South Side. She may look like a runway model in Milan, but she’s tough.
We stayed til 1:30 and, for reasons unknown to me (read: it seemed like a good idea at the time) we took off and went to Le Passage. Not as cool a crowd. After an hour or so there, we headed home. I dropped everyone off and came home to find Balto laying on the kitchen floor with one raised eyebrow that said, “kinda late for a weeknight, isn’t it?”