A Squared: City Walks #29 & #30: Wrigleyville & Boystown

Thursday, August 23, 2012

City Walks #29 & #30: Wrigleyville & Boystown

For this weekend's City Walks we picked two that are only a few blocks from each other, but that couldn't be more different from one another-- Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs and Boystown, home to the best gay bars in the city.  Sounds like an interesting combo, right? 

City Walk #30: Boystown

The Boystown City Walk covers a small stretch of North Halsted in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.  Obviously, as its name implies Boystown is the center of gay culture in Chicago.  For about a year I worked just a few blocks away from this area so I am a bit familiar to the area, but Alex (a 10-year veteran of the Chicago area) is not very familiar with this little pocket of the city.  He was in for quite a treat.  :)

Based on our first stop, I was a little nervous that we were in for another walk where half the recommended stops are no longer in business.  Our first stop was supposed to be a men's apparel store called Bad Boys Chicago [1].  It is no longer in business and in its place is D.S. Tequila Co.  They had a really cut patio next door and a sign that reads "The Party Is Inside," so I'd frankly rather be hanging out here now than when it was Bad Boys.

The next stop was Roscoe's Cafe [2], one of the most well known bars/cubs in the neighborhood.  They also have some fabulous outdoor space and host tons of neighborhood events here.  They also had (in my opinion) one of the most impressive floats in the Pride Parade earlier this summer.

The next 3 sites on our walk were certainly the most amusing parts of it and definitely made it unlike any other City Walk we have been on yet.  First was Batteries Not Included [3] which carries "playfully kinky party games" and then Gaymart Chicago [4] across the street.  Probably the most scandalous of the 3 was next at Cupid's Treasures [5].  They have also since opened up their own leather goods store next door.  Enough said.

The next stop on the Walk made me laugh.  The card said that if we aren't "in the market for anything sexy, stop in at the inviting Caribou Coffee" [6].  For those of you not familiar with Caribou, it's a chain coffee shop and certainly not authentic to the neighborhood (like Nookie's Tree, an awesome breakfast place on this strip) so they could have also just told us to stop at Starbuck's or 7 Eleven too.

We ended this City Walk at The Gourmet Grape [7], a really cute little boutique wine shop just south of the Halsted/Addison intersection.  We decided to poke around inside, but I had to exercise some self control since we have just returned from a side trip to Traverse City with a trunk full of Michigan wine.

Because of the ways that the maps lined up (this one ends at Addison where the other begins) we actually walked Boystown first and then continued on to Wrigleyville...

#29: Wrigleyville

Next up for us was Wrigleyville, home to our very own Chicago Cubs and quite the opposite of neighboring Boystown.  Like Boystown, it's a bit of a micro-neighborhood within the Lakeview neighborhood and it is named after Wrigley Field.  We made sure to pick this City Walk for a day when the Cubs weren't in town as the neighborhood gets crazy when the fans take over Clark Street.  Wrigleyville is full of divey bars, fast food joints, and sports gear and souvenir shops.

Our first stop was none other than the famous Wrigley Field [1].  Some fun facts about Wrigley Field: It was built in 1914 and it is the second older ball park in the United States after Fenway Park (go Sox!).  They also sell out basically every game and it is much cheaper and easier to get tickets for a White Sox game.  However, the culture of the park and the devoted fans at Wrigley just can't be matched.  Just FYI if you're ever in the Windy City and looking to head to a ball game.

 Next up was Wrigleyville Sports [2] across the street.  They carry tons of Cubs gear (and lots of adorable miniature sized ones that I wanted to scoop up for my niece even though neither she nor I am a Cubs fan...) and Alex decided to see if he could find a Tyler Colvin jersey here even though he is no longer with the Cubs.  I'm pretty sure he offended the kids working behind the corner when he asked about it.  I'm telling you, these people take their baseball seriously.

The walk continued down Clark Street all the way to Belmont, but these were the only two "official" stops on the trip.  We've already been to a lot of the bars on this street so we stopped into a few more team stores in hopes of finding Alex his Colvin jersey (a no go), but we had one more unofficial stop to make.  Alex and I love the show Man Vs. Food and a few weeks ago we saw an old rerun of an episode where they visited Chicago and went to Lucky's in Wrigleyville.  Naturally, we had to stop in.  Lucky's is known for stuffing every element of the meal into each sandwich-- including your fries and coleslaw.  Needless to say, we were tired and full by the end of these Walks.

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