Oct 10, 2012

Scenes from a Wrigleyville rooftop

Well, I finally covered all the pit stops my friend Kent and I made on the way to Chicago for our Wrigleyville rooftop party.  You’d think we would have been ready to call it a day and get some rest before the next day’s festivities.  Well, we weren’t that smart. 

We stayed the night before at the Holiday Inn Chicago-Mart Plaza, which is located right on the Chicago River where the Loop ends and the River North neighborhood begins. Here’s a morning view of downtown Chicago from our room; the Loop is on the left. 

We checked in, got our second wind and ventured out to see what further damage we could do.   Our first stop was Mother Hubbard’s, a pretty down-to-earth sports pub, given its location so close to the Magnificent Mile.  The food is good, inexpensive (for the area) bar grub, and the drink prices won’t kill your wallet, either.  It’s always on my short list of places to stop when I’m in that part of Chicago.

After Mother Hubbard’s, we decided to satisfy Kent’s craving to see some good live music at Blue Chicago, a pretty well known clues club on Clark Street in River North.  It was about a six block walk from our hotel.  Playing that night was the J.W. Williams Blues Band with Laretha Weathersby, “the Princess of the Blues.”  She deserves the moniker; her version of “Wang Dang Doodle” was as rocking as any I’ve ever heard live.  In all, we saw two outstanding sets for our $10 cover. 

Kent was impressed enough to purchase a couple of CDs, and Laretha Weathersby was nice enough to let us take her picture.

Surprisingly, two drunk guys did not scare her off.
With a full day and night finally complete, we walked back to the hotel to catch a few hours’ rest before checking out and meeting Kent’s pharmacy school group at the Doubletree Chicago-Magnificent Mile, located just a few blocks on the other side of Michigan Avenue.  This was also where we’d be staying game night, and we were fortunate to be able to park, check in and actually get a room before the bus showed up to pick up our group by 10 a.m.  I was very impressed not only with the hotel and its amenities, but also their service.  We even had time to step across the street for breakfast at the West Egg Café. 

Worth the wait!
After a short ride on a busload of rowdy pharmacists (now that’s a party waiting to happen), we were dropped off on Waveland Avenue, behind the Wrigley Field bleachers and ground zero for the ball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  With the pharmacy group consisting mainly of graduates from the St. Louis School of Pharmacy, it was a decidedly partisan crowd.  Even so, I managed as a Cub fan to take it all in stride.  After all, our bragging rights come few and far between. 

While we waited for our brownstone rooftop to open up, I managed to take a few obligatory pictures from outside the ballpark.  For instance, the Harry Caray statue …

I soon learned our party was booked at the cleverly named Brixen Ivy, which was just on the foul side of left field.

The great part about being at one of these is the ability to roam around, check out the action from the club level (the outside patio on the top floor) the bar rooms inside, the rooftop bleachers, basically wherever you want.  To be honest, I couldn’t find a bad view anywhere.  Check out the views  …

There's the left field foul pole and the 460' sign.
Views of the outfield and scoreboard from our rooftop

And, all you can eat and drink (beer and wine only) is included with your admission.  The drink selection was small, but that’s really a minor quibble. Here’s their menu.  I stayed hungry all afternoon from the smell of the grill they had going on the back side of the rooftop.  They also had a variety of salads (e.g, pasta, potato, fruit) to choose from for your sides. 

At the end of the day, my beloved Cubbies somehow managed to pick up a tightly contested win against the Redbirds (and they soon after rewarded Reed Johnson for his heroics in squeeze bunting in the winning run by trading him to Atlanta … at least he got to see one game of playoff action).  That makes me smile.

And Kent was still smiling when the game was over, too.  I’m sure all the free beer helped. 

If you ever get the opportunity to see a Cubs game from one of the rooftops on Waveland or Sheffield Avenue, I highly recommend it the experience, especially if you can find an all-inclusive deal like this one.  It’s nice to have all the conveniences you want right there.  The club style seating with chairs and tables, as well as the bleachers, provide plenty of options and opportunity to mingle, and the perspective you have on the game is actually pretty unforgettable. 

I figure I have enough material for two more blog entries from this trip.  One will be the road trip back from Chicago and the pit stops we made along the way.  The other, as you may be anticipating, is the after-game carousing around Wrigley Field and Clark Street.  Like I said, those pharmacists can be a wild bunch. 

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