I won the award for Best Lunch at work this week. It's a bit dubious, as the prize was a brownie of square cardboard origin. But it's fun to work with folks who appreciate food and food culture.
So what was on the menu, you ask? Well, today was a hummus and alfalfa sprout sandwich with arugula and tomato on crusty bread, with celery sticks on the side. A banana and clementine for dessert. Thursday was creole tuna with whole wheat crackers, celery and snap peas on the side, and again, a banana for dessert. (I don't like bananas that much; they were on sale.) Monday was stir fry. Chicken, mushrooms, snap peas, carrots, and celery with a curry sauce, topped with chow mein noodles and scallions. I can not recall dessert.
*raises brownie bit* Here's to all the brown-baggers of the workplace!
Rarely, and luckily, does one enter into a relationship that is as uniquely fulfilling as the one in which I have been forced to exit. I never thought I’d feel this way about a bar, but it happened. And it’s not just a bar, it’s a Good Bar, in front of a Great Restaurant.
When asked what makes a bar a Good Bar, most folks say that things like atmosphere, community, passion, and overall execution. And I don’t disagree, especially when it comes to atmosphere.
I loved that Chicago-based music from the rat-pack era that wasn’t heard anywhere else. It was a difference that can be linked to the owner's passion for something very specific. It's this kind of difference that distinguishes really good places from those that are drab and ordinary. It's not an easy feat to to tie the success of your bar to the public's interest in whatever your passion happens to be, but when you do it well, it makes an Experience of going to these places, for both regulars and strangers.
The room had some great graphics on the wall, a nod to the city’s winning sports history without turning the place into a sports bar. A few nicely framed, well placed autographed pictures – a raise of the glass in a toast to the city instead of smashing a beer can on the head in celebration.
However, it’s not just one thing or the other, it’s all of it together, consistently executed. It takes great music, a good vibe, delicious cocktails, friendly and expedient service, and a great room to be able to be many things to many people that a Good Bar is able to be.
So what was it to me?