Friday night. Dinner at Feed with Elisa. Have you been to Feed? It’s adorable. It’s cheap. They have a free jukebox. The fried okra is delicious. There are chickens (not real ones) everywhere. I may be spending more Fridays there. It’s the perfect place to get food before heading to the California Clipper to listen to Susie Gomez & Her Multiple Cats (a rockabilly band, not a cat lady with her cats on a stage).
I’ve lived in Chicago for quite some time now and have never been to either Feed or the Clipper. Both were lots of fun. Feed because of the aforementioned reasons, the Clipper because of the cheap drinks, cozy booths, and cute dudes. Seriously. Elisa asked me to point out who in the bar I thought was cute and I said I couldn’t really tell who was adorable because it was dark and a lot of guys had beards but come on ladies. You can always tell a cute boy even if you’re blindfolded in a cave. You just have to be motivated.
Anyway, Elisa just started dating this sweet guy named Tom, who plays the drums in the band. We stayed for two sets so we could hang out with him during his breaks. He’s smitten. I can tell. Maurel, who joined us at the bar, thought so too.
We managed to chat a bit but it was a bit difficult for me to do as the bar filled with more people. The crowd was a mix of garden variety hipsters, a few preppie types, and some gorgeous rockabilly ladies with perfect 40s hair and curvy high-heeled shoes. A few people danced but not too many. A circle of young women, who all wore dark scoop-necked t-shirts and bootcut jeans, stood around awkwardly in a circle, arms crossed over the chests (well, there was a bit of a draft) and talking to the one man in their party. Groups of men in hoodies and tight jeans and sneakers scanned the crowd while nursing their pints. I think this is what is called having a time. I realized that I missed being out, talking and drinking (I had one drink, a whiskey and soda) and laughing and just hanging. During the band’s second set, one of the men who go from bar to bar, selling delicious homemade tamales, came through, and Elisa bought a bag for Tom. They were pretty tasty though they were not from Tom’s favorite tamale vendor. That gentleman appeared during the second break, while we were eating the first batch of tamales. Tom bought cheese tamales from him. Tom was right — they were just a little bit better than those from the first. But then I’ve never met a tamale I didn’t like.
Maybe it was the drink or the thrill of being out on a not-entirely-cold Friday night in winter in Chicago, but I was feeling quite pleased when we left the bar. The sign for the Knockbox Café, located across the street from the bar, cracked me up. I have no idea what a knockbox is, but it sounded dirty. I doubt I’m the first person to think as much, nor do I think I’ll be the last. It is fun to say. Knockbox. Knockbox. Knockbox!