Archive for the tag “speakeasy”

The Paper Machete

WHAT: The Paper Machete (Variety Show)
WHEN: Every Saturday from 3pm
WHERE: The Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway Ave.)

OUR RATING:
Do It!–Our experience
Chance It!–Possible future performances

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

The Paper Machete is a town crier for the modern age, providing audiences with amusing, serious and diverse entertainment covering pop culture, current events and a good dose of musical interlude. Originally launched in 2010, and created and hosted by writer Christopher Piatt, The Paper Machete tickles nearly every fancy, and allows one to experience the iconic cocktail lounge The Green Mill (of Prohibition fame) in the same manner as generations past: with a complete variety show.

Creator and Host Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Every Saturday afternoon at 3pm, this “live magazine” offers patrons a chance to connect with stars from the likes of iO, The Second City, the Neo-Futurists and beyond. Named best comedy variety show of 2011 by the Chicago Reader, the show encompasses an array of performances that are sure not to disappoint regulars and newcomers alike.

(greenmilljazz.com)

(greenmilljazz.com)

This past Saturday, Storefront City had a chance to visit this historic location and listen along to this rapid-fire magazine of popular thought. Our afternoon began with a rather serious interlude into environmental protection by Rachael Mason of iO. What appeared at first to be a paean for environmental action, soon showed its true colours as an amusing reflection on her childhood poetry for Earth Day, that brought up important and pertinent issues related to the recent Hurricane Sandy and its effects on her family. Masterfully blending humor and reality, Mason kept our attention and made us appreciate the awesome destructive power of nature, and man’s influence on it.

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

In keeping with this serious nature, Lisa Buscani of the Neo-Futurists’ investigation into the sordid world of Sandusky, from the perspective of another inmate at the same prison, provided a reflective moment to appreciate the situation of those who are behind bars and the circumstances that lead society to imprison.

Ike Holter

Ike Holter

But, let’s be honest, a magazine is never all about it’s newsworthy material, and we were treated to an inventive series of laughs as well. Ike Holter, popular playwright of Hit the Wall (first performed by The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf last year, and now moving to Off-Broadway), gave us an op-ed monologue musing on this year’s selection for the Academy Awards. Featuring quotes from “that owner of 7 Eleven who shouts at hipsters” to acceptances speeches themselves, Holter was full of ingenuity and verve.

(reformedwhores.com)

NYC’s Reformed Whores (reformedwhores.com)

And what variety show would be complete without music? We giggled with NYC musical comedy duo Reformed Whores, and swung along to the dulcet tones of Bethany Thomas (of Porgy and Bess fame), who created an atmosphere entirely appropriate to such a venerated establishment as The Green Mill.

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

A well-rounded current events publication needs a sports section, this one provided by resident puppet Chad the Bird (a Josh Zagoren creation). Staging in the venue was divided between the main stage towards the back, and the bar area, where Chad gave us his weekly sports roundup.

Matt Braunger (thepapermachete.com)

Matt Braunger (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Finally, Matt Braunger (love your website!) provided the capstone to the afternoon, also performing from the bar area. With topics covering Chicago staples such as certain kinds of people on the #22 bus, to tripped out nights dressed as clowns downtown, Braunger tapped into the audience and hit all the right notes. We highly recommend you see him if you can in the future.

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Busy on Saturday afternoons? Not to worry! Every week The Paper Machete and host WBEZ create a podcast, also known as “The Paper Machete Radio Magazine,” with selections from the latest show.

The Paper Machete comes highly recommended from Storefront City. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends (the space is crowded) and a relaxed attitude, performances may vary week to week, but if the quality remains the same as last time, you will not be disappointed.

Barrelhouse Flat and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale®

WHAT: Barrelhouse Flat (Lounge) and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale®
WHERE: 2624 N. Lincoln Ave.

OUR RATING: Do it!

(barrelhouseflat.com)

(barrelhouseflat.com)

A few weeks ago, Storefront City had the unique opportunity to attend a Kentucky Bourbon Ale® Tasting Party hosted by Time Out Chicago at Lincoln Park’s Barrelhouse Flat.

Downstairs (barrelhouseflat.com)

Downstairs (barrelhouseflat.com)

As soon as you walk into Barrelhouse Flat, you may be slightly overwhelmed. The downstairs is quite crowded and when you’re seated you are forced to become quite friendly with your neighbors. The space wants to greet you with a feeling of intimacy, but the hurried waiters and the crowded tables divert the atmosphere from its intended impression. However, this was only our initial reaction, as we were never actually seated downstairs. Instead, we were ushered upstairs into an entirely strange, new world from a time we can’t call our own.

Upstairs (bizbash.com)

Upstairs (bizbash.com)

Once you get upstairs (and we suggest you try your darndest), you transition from a hectic world into a crazy-cool speakeasy lounge, with low lighting, 1920’s/30’s wallpaper, velvet chairs and hardwood floors. There’s a small bar, lots of seating and billiards in the back room, complete with a roaring fire. Sets of high-backed chairs subsume their occupants, so that once you are seated, you and your compatriots can have a completely private experience.

Upstairs (barrelhouseflat.com)

Upstairs (barrelhouseflat.com)

As we were much too involved in our ale tasting, we didn’t get the opportunity to order anything from Barrelhouse’s menu, but we’ve heard wonders about their 70+ cocktail menu that ranges anywhere from the traditional to the not-quite-so usual. We also seriously eyed the Poutine (headcheese, house gravy, cheese curds, intoxicated fruit, crispy potatoes) and Seared Quail (rutabaga puree, celery barigoule, cassis), and would definitely get either the Spice Bread (apple butter, golden raisin chutney, sarsparilla fluff) or the Trifle (sweet potato, pumpkin seed granola, whiskey cherries, whipped cream) for dessert.

Upstairs (bizbash.com)

Upstairs (bizbash.com)

Unfortunately, we were instead ‘treated’ to what was supposed to be nibbles from their menu…which turned out to be some plain popcorn and an underwhelming crostini canape. Rather surprising, considering such a new establishment should be taking every opportunity to exhibit its food to would-be customers, but perhaps they have some secret logic of their own. With these disappointments, we focused our attention on the ale flowing freely from the bar.

Served in a classic snifter, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® is one of the most unique drinks to touch our lips. Simply put, the ale is a sipping beer with a nose of bourbon. The Kentucky Ale is aged for up to 6 weeks in bourbon barrels at Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company in Kentucky.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® (talkingship.com)

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® (talkingship.com)

The ale is smooth and robust, with flavors of vanilla and oak. A word to the wise – this baby is strong, but we think it’s pretty darn versatile. We would drink it before, during, or after dinner, but the food pairing would have to be well thought out. This is no down in one affair, and must be afforded a certain amount of respect to be fully appreciated.

We would definitely recommend this ale to be served along with more hearty dishes, and perhaps it would be best enjoyed along with a fire and some good friends. As for Barrelhouse Flat, we would really love to try the restaurant downstairs, but make a point of visiting the lounge for a more authentic, antique experience.

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