One Friday night two summers ago, my girlfriend went with me to a political fundraiser thrown by my Godmother. We were by far the youngest people there, but the drinks and food were free and it was at a cool downtown spot after work. When my godmother came over to check on us, the exchange went like this:
GM: Where are you ladies going after this? You look too pretty to stay here all night or go home.
Us: xyz bar (I can’t remember where)
GM: And then where?
Us: Uhhh, probably home.
GM: When I was your age, my girlfriend and I had to go to at least five spots when we went out. Sometimes I’d only take one sip of my drink and my girlfriend would say it was time to go. That’s how you go out.
Us: Five spots?
GM: At least five. You girls are too pretty not to show it off.
And with that, my godmother set the Red Cup Spot Hop standard at five. Now I don’t always hit five spots in one night. Three or four spots is my usual norm which brings me to the point of this Red Cup Adventure: Refreshing Summer Drinks and Cool Chicago Watering Holes.
My girlfriend, the same one who went to the political party with me, needed to find a chic spot to organize a birthday gathering. She wanted to try out at least three places on a Wednesday night so of course she called me.
First up, the W City Center on Adams Street. The lobby is beautiful and comfortable. I ordered the W Primm’s Cup which was truly summer refreshing and she ordered the Goose on the Loose which was simply delicious. The only downside was the music was a little too mellow. For décor and drink, the W City Center gets 4.5 red cups (on a 5 red cup scale)
Second spot, Epic on Hubbard Street. Epic is definitely a hot, new spot in Chicago and it was packed on a Wednesday night. The music was funky and energetic with a diverse mix of genres. The service was fantastic, but unfortunately the food and drinks were just okay. We ordered the Summer Breeze and Pear Temptation. They were both bad and we sent them back which our waitress was so good about. She said her job was to make sure we got drinks we like. Then we ordered the two other drinks, which I can’t remember what they were. They were less bad than the first round so we pretended to love them because we weren’t going to send back another round of drinks. Our mini burgers and steak tacos were just okay. We had both been to Epic before and had delicious drinks and food. We agreed it was probably an off night for the kitchen and bar—anybody can have a one-off. Epic gets 3.5 red cups for great people watching, music and décor.
Third spot was Zed 451. Unfortunately the rooftop was closed, but the doorman let us go up anyway and have a look around. The bar was packed and everyone was having a great time, but it was a little too crowded so we moved onto the next.
The fourth and last spot was around the corner at Café Iberico. The night ended with coffee and dessert. You ain’t seen nothing until you’ve been served a phallic caramel banana.
Though we didn’t make it a fifth spot, it was still a great night. I got my invitation for the birthday gathering today and Epic won the great venue battle, in case you were wondering.