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Monthly Archives: September 2011

This weekend I celebrated a milestone, and so did my favorite place in Chicago.  The Hideout, “a regular guy bar for irregular folks who just don’t fit in, or just don’t want to fit in,” marked its 15th anniversary–or, more accurately, this most recent 15-year phase of an illustrious career begun post-Prohibition–and their annual block party happened to coincide with my birthday.  (I keep envisioning a 30Rock-style flashback to a bespectacled eleven-year old me, wearing a shirt that said “Book Woman”, which I unfortunately liked a lot, pausing to look up from Vanity Fair and saying “I have a feeling that someone in Chicago just bought a bar I’m going to really enjoy in my twenties.”  Sidenote: I’m pretty sure a variation of that shirt is now available at Urban Outfitters.  I wish I had realized how powerful the ironic t-shirt trend was going to become when I was eleven.)

Snuggled in between the warehouses of the near-West side and the Chicago Department of Fleet Management, where the city docks its snowplows, the Hideout always draws an off-beat all-ages crowd, despite the dizzying number of fixed-gear bikes piled out front and the amount of people who seem to know each other from working at Groupon.  When the owners discussed their experience earlier this month at Mark Bazer’s Interview Show, they said they envisioned a place where musicians could come perform when they were just starting out and again over the years as they formed different bands, a place where people could come hang out and hear great shows any night of the week, a bar that could host rock performances and the luncheon following the baptism of the frontman’s first baby.

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In the weeks following September 11, 2001, ceramic tiles emblazoned with messages from across the country were attached to the chain-link fence surrounding a triangular vacant lot on a corner near my cousin’s apartment in the West Village.

Ten years later most of them are broken, but still there.