25 Feb Drunk On A Wednesday
Occasionally when we’re in between posts on historical figures or simply doing research for other projects, we neglect this blog. It is usually at that point that Porter sends me off to pick a bar, order some drinks, and then write about them. I know; this job sucks. Especially since he picks up the tab. So, this week I was sent off to do just that. What we figured is that the best option would be one of the stops on the tour, and Club Lucky was the winner. Now, unfortunately for both you the reader and also Club Lucky, I can’t really get into too much detail. What do you mean, “why? ” Because I want you to take the fuckin tour! What I will tell you is that if you haven’t gone to Club Lucky in Bucktown yet, you’re missing out. It’s a special spot with great drinks and fantastic food. It also has some legitimate history. TAKE THE DAMN TOUR!!
I popped into Club Lucky as I said on Wednesday for a little bit of the sacrament. On Tom Kleiner’s recommendation (one of the managing partners) I went with three cocktails from their signature list. Three different beauties that I thoroughly enjoyed. I always prefer to have the bartenders or owners pick the drinks. I tend to stay in my comfort zone and this, more often than not, pushes me out of it.
The first cocktail I tried – oh I should also say that there was a bit of a miscommunication and all the drinks came out at once. I have zero issue with this. I simply knew that I better get a menu if I was going to walk out of there as Club Lucky’s drinks are pretty boozy. Back to the cocktails. “The Bogart” was the first one that I tried. The Bogart is a wonderfully light and refreshing gin based cocktail. Normally, I can’t drink gin anymore. One night a few years ago I got into a fistfight with a bottle of gin. The gin won. However, with a bit of dry vermouth, St. Germaine, plum bitters and an orange twist, this cocktail is wonderfully balanced as any good cocktail should be. Tom refers to it as “bubblegum floral” and to be honest that’s a pretty damn good assessment. It does start off with a bit of a bubble gum taste and finishes with some floral notes. This is a great cocktail for the casual drinker. It’s boozy but also light and won’t knock you out. I mean unless you’re a total lightweight, in which case I recommend practice so that you can drink like a grown up.
Moving on from there we went to a real drinkers drink, the “Always Lucky” martini. A Martini is about as classic as it gets. We all know the line “shaken, not stirred” made famous by Mr. Bond. If I’m going to be honest, I don’t like them. First, I am not a huge vodka fan. Second, I fucking despise olives. Seriously, I have gone ape shit because I asked for salads without olives and the olives show up anyway. Yes, I occasionally eat salads. Jerks. All that being said, I really did enjoy the “Always Lucky”. I even ate all three of the hand stuffed blue cheese olives. I ATE OLIVES! That’s what really sets apart the “Always Lucky” from what is really a very simple and straightforward drink. Their hand stuffed blue cheese, pimento, or white anchovy olives are fantastic and give a nice flavor to the cocktail. I know, I always say “you can lead someone to mixology but you can’t make them stop drinking dirty martinis”. In this case though I think you can give them a pass. It’s pretty damn great and you might even enjoy one yourself. Maybe it’ll make you feel like Bond, James Bond. You’re definitely not, but ya know, whatever.
For the last cocktail we went with the “Sleigh Ride.” This is a seasonal favorite over at Club Lucky and it fits right in with the season. This looks like Christmas in a glass and the taste isn’t far off either. It’s a very creamy desert kind of drink. This would probably be best enjoyed in lieu of coffee after a meal or even just on its own. ‘Horchata, amarula and spiced rum combine to create what can best be described as a liquid cookie in a glass. The glass comes rimmed with cinnamon-sugar giving the drink just enough cinnamon flavor to finish it off and make it complete. Really this is a perfect winter concoction to warm the blood on a cold night.
All in all, I love “Club Lucky”. The atmosphere, the décor, the food, the drinks and the people make this a place I love coming back to and introducing to new people. Speaking of the people, my bartender was Kit. Kit is a lovely and exceedingly sweet young woman from Iowa City with aspirations to be a comedy writer which is kind of Chicago perfect. Kit also does stand up. Do yourselves a favor, stop into Club Lucky some night soon and have some good drinks and food. You’ll meet some solid people in the process. As I was leaving one of the servers whom I’ve come to know quite well said “Okay bud give us a good review.” I believe my exact words were “Oh, no need to worry. This isn’t a review. I could give a shit if anyone else likes Club Lucky. I like Club Lucky. I’m biased and I make no apologies for it.” But then you guys already know that, don’t you? Get your asses into Club Lucky.