MrNickler

38M. To Enjoy Life Happiness to me is picking out a smart but casual looking outfit with a pair of sun-glasses; then, going to a beach or a park where people are milling about. Reading a book that is so clever and personally that you can't help but react in public, knowing that people are watching you, but just to moved to stop yourself; while, having a perfect cocktail that you have poured into a globally franchised coffee-to-go cup. That to me is happy. Matthew

Chicago, Illinois
Joined Apr 2009
14 Followers 3 Following

4 Loved Places

Listings

  • Roscoe's Boystown, Chicago
  • Sidetrack Boystown, Chicago
  • Second Story Bar River North, Chicago

Cities

  • MrNickler
    MrNickler reviewed Second Story Bar Over a year ago
    Loves it

    The tiniest of all Chicago Gay Bars
    It was my plan to attend a Cocoa programing user group at the Michigan Ave Apple store one evening after work. The group started at 7:00pm, but I got off work at 4:20pm. I decided to stay downtown until the group started which left a few hours to kill. Before I left work I Googled "gay bars in the 60601." I was presented with two choices, the Baton (which I had previously visited) and the Second Story Bar. I read a review by August Evans at centerstage.com for the Second Story Bar: "This dingy walk-up is called Second Story for a reason. Its placement above Armenian restaurant Sayat Nova, just a stone's throw from glitzy Michigan Avenue (and next door to an ultra-sleek Gap), gives the dive some charm-not to mention the element of surprise. Not many would expect a tiny gay bar with cheap, stiff drinks to be in this upscale area, and fewer probably enjoy its presence. But if you like getting dirty looks from the suburban mothers strolling by, by all means, head up the rickety carpeted stairs and through a thick door to Second Story Bar." The review seemed intriguing, it was located close to the Apple Store, and I had the free time I decided to go. Upon arriving I became unexpectedly nervous; Evan's description hit the scene to a T. To enter the bar you ascend a flight of rickety carpeted steps to the second floor (hence the name) and you are presented with a huge metal door. This isn't your average looking door, think of a door used for a large walk in meat locker and then you have the idea. When I entered the door, I was surprised by how tiny this bar was. I can't stress the minuscule size enough. The bartenders ice maker is not even behind the bar or in a back room. There is simply no space for a back room so the ice machine is in the commons area and the bar tender takes one full step from his bar and then is able to fill his ice chest. I wouldn't imagine the space was able to hold more than 30 or 40 people at its maximum capacity. I decided to order a vodka gimlet; one of my staple drinks. I find a gimlet a good test of a bartender's skill. It seems like a simple drink to make with only two ingredients, but can be easily spoiled by a novice bartender. Next drink up was the Skinny Girl Margarita ®. In my experience, this drink is rarely made by others to my satisfaction. Interestingly enough, both the gimlet and the margarita came out great. The drinks were both stiff and cheap, my favorite combination. For the most part the crowd was older and was juxtaposed against a young fit bartender. Again, I was still very nervous, and the thought had occurred to me that this might not really be a bar but a cover for some other elicit activity. I wasn't there long before people started introducing themselves to me. I noticed this wasn't the normal sleazy gay bar introduction. After the normal name exchanges the patrons were all quick to mention how the group was like a family and after spending a few hours there I agreed. This bar is not your normal high-end uber trendy downtown Chicago bar. In fact, this bar seems to be from a previous generation when being gay wasn't the safest lot in life, and gay bars had to be low profile in order to survive. For me, Second Story Bar is about a great crowd and cheap drinks. I plan to make this one of my afterwork haunts. Mr. Nickler