Archives For Wrigley Field

Have you ever walked in to a place, surveyed the area and concluded that someone may have literally picked it up, turned it upside down and then placed it back on its right side?

#TBT from my first trip to Wrigley Field last year.

#TBT from my first trip to Wrigley Field last year.

This is how I felt at 3 am on Thursday morning as I walked in to Kelly’s, one of my favorite East Village haunts. I’m inherently a fan of Kelly’s because it serves as a home for fans of both my Buffalo Bills and Sabres. The wings (and for that matter, anything in the deep fryer) are delicious and the Blue Light is usually a plentiful.

Kelly’s is an interesting spot for a couple of reasons, one being that in addition to housing Bills and Sabres faithful, it also backs the Chicago Cubs and Bulls. So when the Cubs made the World Series, I knew exactly where to go and watch the game. Matter-of-fact, that is what I did for Sunday’s Game 5, a Cubs win in Wrigley.

Of course I was working during Game 7 but after the game finished, around 3 am, I jetted down to the Lower East Side to see if there were any revelers still celebrating. What I walked in to was a semi-madhouse. Keep in mind; it’s the middle of the week.

Forget stools, people were actually still just sitting right on the bar drinking. Or standing on a bench. You couldn’t find a part of the floor your shoes didn’t stick to. And the Blue Light is usually a plentiful, but the watering hole was actually sold out of bottled beer.

I love Kelly’s. Seriously the only thing that made me upset about any of this was that I wasn’t there when the final out was recorded. In lieu of that, here’s some video via Instagram of the celebration that ensued.

A video posted by yasmina (@yazzyfresh3) on

And what you didn’t see was the crowd OUTSIDE the bar, the width of the building and packed back in to the street.

It must have been memorable, because even at 3 am on a weeknight the place was still buzzing. I stayed for a couple of draft brews and then headed up Avenue A to another establishment that I feel a certain kinship towards: the venerable dive bar Niagara. I mean, I am from Niagara Falls after all.

The night finally ended at Sophie’s, which apparently has been an East Village staple for quite some time, although this was my first visit. There are $4 bottled beers, a pool table and a lot of regulars that like to hang out there, even at 4 am last call on a Thursday morning.

An Uber ride and Seamless bodega order later, my night came to an end. It definitely wasn’t how I had planned to spend my Wednesday night. I guess you could say it got turned upside down.

After spending a weekend without traveling, I headed back on the road on Saturday to visit my best friend from high school in Chicago. This was my second time in Chicago; my first trip was a little over three years ago. However one of the reasons for this trip is that it would be my first time visiting The Friendly Confines – Wrigley Field!

I landed early Saturday morning after pulling yet another all-nighter. I hopped on the train and headed for Rafael’s spot, which has quite the view from its rooftop.

We grabbed brunch near downtown, where I had the best bacon I’ve ever eaten. It was like a brick, covered in maple syrup. My body is probably still digesting it but whatever, I have zero regrets. Following my all-nighter, bacon-coma, and a few Bloody Mary’s, I decided we needed to hit up The Tie Bar. If you’ve ever seen me in a picture or on camera wearing a pocket square, tie clip or flower pin – there is a solid chance it was purchased from the Chicago-based company. The Tie Bar had a pop-up shop in Soho over the summer which proved quite convenient, however I was in need of some new accessories. I left the retailer’s Lincoln Park location with a handful of flower pins and it was back to the apartment for a quick nap.

After all, we had to grill these for dinner later.

The final product, paired with a whiskey, was the real MVP.

Speaking of said whiskey, I left Chicago with a new favorite drink.

And from there it was off to a few cocktail lounges downtown with Rafael and some of his buddies. The night, despite its length and bar tab, proved quite memorable. A more random highlight was running in to Manny Ramirez (yes, the baseball player) at the second lounge we went to. But the entire evening was a lot of fun.

The Saturday night outing definitely pushed Sunday’s start time back a bit. I hit up the apartment complex’s gym for a four-mile run and then we headed to Lincoln Station, the Buffalo Bills Backers Bar in Chicago. My Bills made quick work of the Dolphins and so we left early to walk to Wrigleyville. Once we arrived, there was time to hit three different bars in close proximity to Wrigley Field. The second bar was called Sluggers and on the second level they have batting cages. Naturally, we partook.

And then, Wrigley!

It’s a beautiful park. Some modern elements but a lot of nostalgia, and the fans truly give it the “Friendly Confines” feel.

Some of the fare I ate at Wrigley included an Italian Sub inspired by Joe Maddon’s aunt’s deli in Hazleton, Pa. and of course, a Chicago Dog with onions.

I flew out Monday morning feeling the love from Chi-Town and only looking forward to my next visit. And as far as next on the #RalphieOTRA schedule: Nashville is booked for October 11, but there’s a good chance I’m out of town this weekend too.