The Washburne Trade School is recommended by vets of this UE adventureland. Rightly so. It is amazing. (Shots are going live at flickr tonight, which only do some justice to the place.) Very few abandoned complexes in the Midwest compare to this one, an immense structure, full of interesting little areas of wonder. From the scale to the history to the unique additions in virtually every oversized room… damn. The fact that we, a traveling party out of St. Louis, run into some Austrian anarchists in the space only makes it that much cooler. (Some good basic info and a slideshow, here. Thanks, DL.)
Scene Two: Football
Arsenal vs. Manchester United. The Globe Pub. About 350 people of varying allegiances and nationalities crammed into two rooms intended for half that number. An all-star bartender named Meredith. A miserable match. A complete lack of lebensraum. Such is life when the world’s game is broadcast in a world-class city. It all makes for an impressive event, even if the match is rubbish. The Globe claims a title as America’s best soccer bar and I have no other names handy to suggest that’s a lie.
Scene Three: Korean Bar-B-Que
San Soo Gab San. Kinda ridiculously smoky. Kinda bad service. Kinda a lot of octopus in a vegetarian soup. And yet… when three bottles of Korean vodka and 11 bottles of “Oriental Beer” are knocked back, with yours truly on a Lenten bit of abstention, the evening gets loosened up. Someone’s gotta designate drive and with a bellyful of seaweed, there’s no reason not to have a smile. Not an everyday thing, but, yeah, sure. Once in a while.
Scene Four: The California Clipper
You can tell that the 6’3 blonde with the shocking mop of curly hair runs this joint. You can just tell. Hipsters out the wazoo, with quirky drinks to suit. Onstage, a classic country band in matching black suits grind out a workingman’s set for a small pocket of dancers. Do the Dock Ellis boys know about this place, about this band? If so, these big city cousins might be their best friends. Or worst enemies. One or the other. Thumbs up for the booths and The Onion, stacked by the door. Thumbs down for the eight-dozen jackasses in varying beard styles.
Scene Five: Oak Park
Coolest. Suburb. Ever. A bit too full of the Whitey Whitersons, but the lack of diversity is about the only complaint. A nice, scenic, walkable place, with astounding civic assets. Right on.
Scene Six: Starbucks
Have gone nearly 40 years with only three trips to Starbucks. For all the reasons expected: the chain mentality, the pending American uni-culture, the money that they get that doesn’t go to mom-and-pop operations… well, those are all kind of the same reason, aren’t they? I just haven’t gone to Starbucks, so there. But with two associates in the throes of a coffee jones, I wander in and innocently order a venti green tea latte. My life changes. My assumptions and prejudices will be tested, from this moment forward. The venti green tea latte? No one told me! I could have one of these, every day, for the rest of my personal forever.