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#1
Posted March 17th 2012, 10:14am
Went to Scofflaw for the 3rd time last night. Danny Shapiro of the Whistler has done a great job turning the resolutely mediocre Streetsides Bar into a gin-focused cocktail lounge that gives his previous home a run for its money.

The look: Dimly-lit (thus no photos, I only have a camera phone), front room casual speak-easy vibe, backroom pseudo-Violet Hour flourish.

Vibes: Chill. MoTown Music.

Service Style: Bar and/or wait-staff.

Drinks: Highlights are the Rocket Frost (gin) a frothy drink, the Lonesome Hero (tequila) with banana ice, Newer Newark (Bourbon) 'spirit-forward.' Nice selection of top-shelf liquor available by the ounce. PBR, wine, yadda, yadda.

Food: Surprisingly good. Particularly the Chicory salad (chicory, grapefruit, avocado), fries, cauliflower, and their sandwiches. Chef is doing excellent work.

Scofflaw
3201 W Armitage
Chicago, IL 60647
773 252-9700
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#2
Posted March 17th 2012, 11:42am
I want to preface my comments by disclosing that Danny Shapiro and I are friends but I do agree that Scofflaw is definitely a place to watch. I've been in a couple of times and think they're doing very good work. The timing is perfect for spirit-focused cocktail bars (frankly, Chicago could use -- and would support -- a bunch more of them) and Scofflaw's gin-centricity is a very welcome addition to the bar scene.

The large, attractive space, on the southwest corner of Armitage and Kedzie, features huge wrap-around windows that really let the light pour in at the 5 pm nightly opening. Decor is comfortable, especially the vintage bar stools, which are contoured in a way that really limits fatigue. Groupings throughout the rest of the 2-room space are cozy and functional.

I've tasted several cocktails and while there's still a bunch of tweaking going on, the drinks are distinctive, thoughtfully conceived and skillfully made. A Basil Bramble delivered pleasant sweetness balanced by tart and savory notes. In addition to the gin cocktails, a full line of spirits is featured. The other night, before it got too busy, Danny mixed me up a savory and satisfying Dealer's Choice cocktail using whiskey and mezcal.

The kitchen, headed up by Longman and Eagle alum Mickey Neely, is also putting out some good stuff. Frites with pimenton aioli were damned near perfect and the other night we enjoyed a delicious sandwich, a 'Guapachoza,' which featured lard-cooked pork cheek and belly, brisket, avocado and a few other ingredients.

Image
Guapichosa (crappy cellphone pic)

This was a special and from what I understand, each night there will be a featured food special of some sort but only 5 servings of the given special per night will be offered. And I have to tip my cap to ever-dapper Mickey, the only chef I know of who wears a tie (under his apron) while cooking. Talk about savoir faire!

I think and hope that Scofflaw is going to be a hit. The team behind it (Shapiro, Andy Gould, Mandy Tandy and Kris Nagy) is solid and, in spite of their youth, very seasoned. It won't surprise me a bit if, a few years from now, we are enjoying a bevy of spirit-focused cocktail bars in Chicago and looking back to Scofflaw as the place where it all began.

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#3
Posted March 17th 2012, 1:07pm
Ronnie, between your LOVE
for Yusho's- The Whistler, and now Scofflaw....
my question is-


when are you renting a Pied-à-Terre in Logan Square?
:)
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#4
Posted March 17th 2012, 3:07pm
Hombre de Acero wrote:Ronnie, between your LOVE
for Yusho's- The Whistler, and now Scofflaw....
my question is-


when are you renting a Pied-à-Terre in Logan Square?
:)

As soon as my son goes off to college -- maybe sooner but certainly not a day later. :D

While Scofflaw is actually in Humboldt Park and Yusho is actually in Avondale, I do love spending time in and around Logan Square.

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#5
Posted March 21st 2012, 9:46am
ronnie_suburban wrote:While Scofflaw is actually in Humboldt Park and Yusho is actually in Avondale, I do love spending time in and around Logan Square.

=R=


Scofflaw is actually in Logan Square. The southern cutoff is Bloomingdale at 1800N.

Jamie
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#6
Posted March 21st 2012, 10:52am
Jamieson22 wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote:While Scofflaw is actually in Humboldt Park and Yusho is actually in Avondale, I do love spending time in and around Logan Square.

=R=


Scofflaw is actually in Logan Square. The southern cutoff is Bloomingdale at 1800N.

Jamie

Thanks. Since the owners told me it was in Humboldt Park, I just assumed they were correct.

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#7
Posted March 21st 2012, 11:36am
ronnie_suburban wrote:
Jamieson22 wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote:While Scofflaw is actually in Humboldt Park and Yusho is actually in Avondale, I do love spending time in and around Logan Square.

=R=


Scofflaw is actually in Logan Square. The southern cutoff is Bloomingdale at 1800N.

Jamie

Thanks. Since the owners told me it was in Humboldt Park, I just assumed they were correct.

=R=


Realtors and homeowners trying to boost their resale like to call it Logan Square. When I moved here five years ago, Logan Square was much smaller, and there was no such thing as "West Bucktown".

I've been to Scofflaw a couple times, and I'm glad to see the owners embracing their neighborhood. Hope to see some of you in Humboldt Park for a cocktail soon! :twisted:
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"We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
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#8
Posted March 22nd 2012, 5:17pm
Lauren Viera has an absolutely laughable "review" of Scofflaw in this week's Reader. She spends the first 9 of her 14 paragraphs on everything but Scofflaw and then dismisses the place entirely -- on the grounds that they don't exclusively serve gin-based cocktails -- without ever mentioning a single cocktail that they do serve. Instead of reviewing it for what it is, she rails on it for what it isn't, and because it isn't what she -- in her predictably loathesome, NYC-wannabe mindset -- wants it to be. In her myopic, style-over-substance world, exclusivity (her term, not mine) matters more than the drinks that are actually in the glass. Sad, very sad.

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#9
Posted March 22nd 2012, 5:50pm
ronnie_suburban wrote:She spends the first 9 of her 14 paragraphs on everything but Scofflaw and then dismisses the place entirely -- on the grounds that they don't exclusively serve gin-based cocktails -- without ever mentioning a single cocktail that they do serve.

I really don't understand why spirit-centric bars are such a big deal. Is it so that people who are tied up in the conceits like, "Oh, I don't drink whiskey..." don't accidentally end up imbibing some corn likker once they've had a few too many martinis?

I've heard the argument that LA has so many spirit-centric bars because of its car culture...that narrowing the customer's options is some sort of altruistic attempt on the part of ownership to prevent DUIs. I don't buy it. For one thing, it doesn't explain the exact same phenomenon in driver-less NYC. Ms. Viera hits the nail on the head with 'exclusivity' (both coasts have it in spades), but fails to explain why exclusivity is a virtue or to realize that copying the coasts is still copying the coasts. There's no chance that the people drinking at Madam Geneva are learning any more about gin or the appreciation thereof than those who belly up to the bar at Scofflaw. But, if exclusivity keeps them warm at night, let them keep it.

"Our bartenders must be everything to everyone."

No, I would argue they just don't care to be arbitrarily limited. The thinking that underlies this article brings to mind Tom Hanks in one of his least appreciated roles, "We academics are inordinately fond of wedging ourselves into confined spaces." There's a difference between the Violet Hour's 'No Cosmos' rule and bars that are designed so as to restrict customer choice and therefore project exclusivity/refinement. The former is pragmatism (they don't have fresh cranberry), the latter is a crutch and a slippery slope toward dilettantism.
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#10
Posted March 22nd 2012, 7:09pm
ronnie_suburban wrote:Lauren Viera has an absolutely laughable "review" of Scofflaw in this week's Reader. She spends the first 9 of her 14 paragraphs on everything but Scofflaw and then dismisses the place entirely -- on the grounds that they don't exclusively serve gin-based cocktails -- without ever mentioning a single cocktail that they do serve. Instead of reviewing it for what it is, she rails on it for what it isn't, and because it isn't what she -- in her predictably loathesome, NYC-wannabe mindset -- wants it to be. In her myopic, style-over-substance world, exclusivity (her term, not mine) matters more than the drinks that are actually in the glass. Sad, very sad.

=R=

I made it five whole paragraphs into that piece of crap, but had to stop - I felt like I was stuck at a bar listening to some smarmy d-bag in skinny jeans, a keffiyeh repurposed as a scarf, and pink-framed Ray Bans pontificate about how "New York's 'scene' is so much better than Chicago's". This Lauren Viera person is an idiot. Even if she does eventually eye-roll and condescend her way to a point by paragraph 10, I don't care to read it - based on the first five paragraphs, even a ringing endorsement from her would automatically turn me off to a place.
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#11
Posted March 22nd 2012, 10:52pm
Khaopaat wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote:Lauren Viera has an absolutely laughable "review" of Scofflaw in this week's Reader. She spends the first 9 of her 14 paragraphs on everything but Scofflaw and then dismisses the place entirely -- on the grounds that they don't exclusively serve gin-based cocktails -- without ever mentioning a single cocktail that they do serve. Instead of reviewing it for what it is, she rails on it for what it isn't, and because it isn't what she -- in her predictably loathesome, NYC-wannabe mindset -- wants it to be. In her myopic, style-over-substance world, exclusivity (her term, not mine) matters more than the drinks that are actually in the glass. Sad, very sad.

=R=

I made it five whole paragraphs into that piece of crap, but had to stop - I felt like I was stuck at a bar listening to some smarmy d-bag in skinny jeans, a keffiyeh repurposed as a scarf, and pink-framed Ray Bans pontificate about how "New York's 'scene' is so much better than Chicago's". This Lauren Viera person is an idiot. Even if she does eventually eye-roll and condescend her way to a point by paragraph 10, I don't care to read it - based on the first five paragraphs, even a ringing endorsement from her would automatically turn me off to a place.

Yes, the silver lining is that if you go to Scofflaw, chances seem quite slim that you'll run into her there. She'll, no doubt, be off on one of the coasts drinking a $16 cocktail that someone else told her was great. :wink:

Personally, I look forward to returning to Scofflaw asap. To this flatlander, not only is it exciting to patronize a place where the proprietors put their asses and their money on the line doing something about which they feel passionately, the drinks and food happen to be enjoyable, too.

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#12
Posted March 23rd 2012, 9:03am
ronnie_suburban wrote:Yes, the silver lining is that if you go to Scofflaw, chances seem quite slim that you'll run into her there. She'll, no doubt, be off on one of the coasts drinking a $16 cocktail that someone else told her was great. :wink:
=R=


Oh, I wouldn't count on that. From the comments below the article:
This isn't obvious in the essay, and I don't want rumors to the contrary circulating, so I'll come out and say it: Scofflaw is a fine new bar with fine drinks. I was there last night, and will continue to support it and other quality bars (and bartenders) wherever they may be, no matter the concept.
Posted by Lauren Viera

I don't recall seeing her byline on other articles. I suspect she accomplished what she set out to do - generate page views. It's possible, too, that this article may just be a commentary on the cocktail scene, in general, and not really a review of Scofflaw. Here's hoping, anyway - I always look forward to pieces by Sula and Thiel (and now I can look forward to ignoring anything else Viera writes!).

And for a counterpoint, TOC put together a response here with comments from several of the city's top bartenders: http://timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-b ... rs-respond
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best,
dan
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#13
Posted March 23rd 2012, 11:45am
danimalarkey wrote:I don't recall seeing her byline on other articles. I suspect she accomplished what she set out to do - generate page views. It's possible, too, that this article may just be a commentary on the cocktail scene, in general, and not really a review of Scofflaw. Here's hoping, anyway - I always look forward to pieces by Sula and Thiel (and now I can look forward to ignoring anything else Viera writes!).

She's a freelancer, who pops up in the Tribune fairly often as a spirits "expert."

=R=
_______________________________________

"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#14
Posted March 23rd 2012, 11:50am
danimalarkey wrote:And for a counterpoint, TOC put together a response here with comments from several of the city's top bartenders: http://timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-b ... rs-respond

That's a great collection of responses (the first comment was a good one too) - thanks for posting it!
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#15
Posted March 23rd 2012, 12:51pm
She apparently isn't even an expert on local gin culture (though I hate myself for using that phrase!). Vincent is an excellent Dutch restaurant in Andersonville that is has gin and genevers-focused cocktail menu. Ah, but they also have other stuff. Nevermind.

I recall one night at Vincent where the bartender brought at least bottles of booze and put them on a guest's table. I couldn't help myself and had to ask what was going on. He told me the guy asked whether they really have interesting gins there, so he just brought him a bunch of bottles and let him see (and presumably taste) for himself.
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#16
Posted March 23rd 2012, 5:05pm
Viera's rip on Chicago being 5 years behind the bicoasts is especially puzzling in light of the Beards giving 2 of 4 noms to Chicago in their Outstanding Bar Program category, which means that Chicago tied New York. The purportedly illustrious left coast was represented by one nominee. :? I just don't understand why, even if we are so far behind (a claim I dispute), it's a bad thing. Anyway, onto my next cocktail...
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#17
Posted March 23rd 2012, 7:26pm
I don't want to spew too much vitriol at Lauren Viera for her comically myopic perspective on the Chicago cocktail scene. So, I'll try another tack.

For me, the cocktail culture encompasses many variables—the most important being the social rapport a professional bartender establishes with the patrons at the bar. Personally, I'll take a classic cocktail made with standard shit at a place where you can interact with a bartender that is sincerely interested in talking cocktail shop with you any day over a hot new joint carrying 69 different old tom gins you’ve never heard of. The interplay between bartender and customer, in my mind, cannot be minimized. If there’s one thing this novice cocktail-er has learned is that any craft cocktail bartender who is truly invested in their art loves more than anything to share their knowledge and passion with an enthusiastic customer across the bar. Trix and I have learned so much from our great barmen across the city and have been lucky enough to be the recipients of their knowledge, creativity, and first-class hospitality on more bleary-eyed evenings than I care to admit. And on this front, Chicago takes a back seat to no one.

That said, I’ve tried several "cutting edge" cocktail bars in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, and if you were to ask me my favorite three cocktail bars anywhere, they would be the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland, Sun Liquor Lounge in Seattle, and Bryant's Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee. Not one of them falls in those coastal markets.

Viera’s obsession with details that ultimately don’t matter--a cocktail bar’s hardware or its gin to whiskey ratio (the G2W factor) completely misses the point.

BTW, Scofflaw, for a new operation, totally kicks ass. Attention to detail is evident at almost every turn. It could be the most comfortable setting I know for cocktails anywhere- certainly in Chicago. A cool and very accessible staff, wonderful natural lighting, comfortable seats, good vittles, and not least of all, high quality and thoughtful drinks. I also love the fact that Scofflaw commonly draws in an eclectic and fun-lovin’ crowd. The times I've been there, I've have always left having gladly met the patrons seated around me.

Danny Shapiro is a great friend of mine which makes me even more proud to be able to say that he is also one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to anything involving the craft cocktail (that and dick jokes). He is a true student of the spirits world and is forever trying to accumulate knowledge on all things cocktail-related, both from literature and from his many highly-informed peers in Chicago’s bartending circles. Additionally, he is a cool (LA Kewl!) guy and is on my extreme shortlist of people you’d want to share a laugh with over a drink.

Also, if you go to Scofflaw and get the munchies, try Micky’s “Guapachoza” sandwich. It’ll solve all your problems.
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#18
Posted March 23rd 2012, 7:30pm
Hello, all. Just to be clear: This was not a review; this was an essay. It was originally assigned to run in the Reader's Bars Issue (the prior week) and got held as the editor wanted to run it on its own. Carry on.
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#19
Posted March 23rd 2012, 8:28pm
laurenviera wrote:Hello, all. Just to be clear: This was not a review; this was an essay. It was originally assigned to run in the Reader's Bars Issue (the prior week) and got held as the editor wanted to run it on its own. Carry on.

Good of you to clarify. However, this distinction doesn't address the reasons that I (and others in this thread, apparently) took issue with your piece.

I'm not sure if you'll be back to this thread after having posted, but if you do, there are many parts of your piece that puzzled me, or just seemed asinine, or seemed like you took for granted things that don't seem at all obvious to me (for example, you never explained by "exclusivity" is a good thing - it's like you assumed readers would know what you were getting after & agree with you).

Perhaps some background/explanation will show me that my pretentious-hipster characterization was unfair. But based on your essay as a standalone piece, I'm not sure what other conclusion I could come to.
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#20
Posted March 23rd 2012, 10:07pm
laurenviera wrote:This was not a review; this was an essay.

It reads more like a list of cool bars you've been to in NY smattered with bi-coastal shibboleths. But what do I know...huck-yuk.
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#21
Posted March 26th 2012, 11:38am
For anyone who didn't see Sula's comments on this:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar ... -juiceless

Another thing about the original article, too, that I just want to get off my chest is referring to Big Star only as a "taco joint". They have one of the best collections of American whiskies in the city! And the tequila selection is pretty good, too! If only they served one spirit or the other, though, then they could claim the mantle of "exclusivity". Or something. Or whatever.

Would it be worthwhile to shift some of these comments into a new thread on Chicago's cocktail culture rather than take away from comments specific to Scofflaw, by the way?
_______________________________________

best,
dan
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#22
Posted March 26th 2012, 3:35pm
I'm hugely intrigued by this notion of a bar only serving drinks on its menu. No idea what I must have been drinking all this time...

Perhaps that means DeVille is the most exclusive of the most exclusive? Serving, apparently, no drinks at all :shock:
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#23
Posted March 26th 2012, 3:38pm
Stopped by briefly on Saturday. Drinks were being executed at a high level and service was terrific. Loved the vibe/decor. I'll be back.
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#24
Posted March 26th 2012, 3:39pm
kl1191 wrote:Stopped by briefly on Saturday. Drinks were being executed at a high level and service was terrific. Loved the vibe/decor. I'll be back.


Good to hear. I had been staying away because they serve whiskey (though I do love the stuff).
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#25
Posted March 27th 2012, 11:27am
Not to keep acting as the human communications center for the Scofflaw-inspired brouhaha (it's a slow week at work for me), but Lauren did finally answer some of the criticisms brought up in this thread via her own blog: http://centralparkcocktailclub.wordpres ... kerfuffle/

Basically, an exclusive bar would be risky, unique and/or different, and therefore, and implicitly - if I'm reading it correctly - desirable. Which still doesn't make a lick of sense to me, but there you go. I'll gladly agree that it would be great for a bar to open up in the city that had a huge list of gin drinks and nothing but gin drinks (though I suspect that the bartenders at Scofflaw could always, you know, make something up and prepare drink not listed on their menu) -- I'd love to see a bar with a huge list of single-malt whiskies. But to suggest that this city is somehow worse off for not having this sort of bar? And then to explicitly tie it to being "behind" New York City and/or LA? Like I said, it just doesn't make sense to me.
_______________________________________

best,
dan
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#26
Posted March 27th 2012, 2:44pm
The Scofflaw Contretemps has given me nothing if not renewed clarity of purpose. I had planned to open a Fernet Branca-centric bar (in the New York sense of serving only Fernet Branca based cocktails and then only to a clientele desiring to wait on-line for an hour to enter my boîte) in a condemned two-flat in Back of the Yards, but after reading Ms Viera's brave (in the Josh Noel sense) argument for the narrowest possible conception in hospitality, I've reevaluated and am forced to conclude that the ne plus ultra of customer-eccentricity would be a Malört-centric bar. (I intend to name my grand venture "Salon Peripeteia.") I base this conclusion on the crystalline purity of Viera's vision of postmodern posturing, and am counting on her to be the solitary customer during the weeklong run-up to my ineluctable bankruptcy. When I'm gone, you'll all remember that for a single, white phosphorous hot moment, I was the darling of the feuilletons. And that's ultimately what this is all about. What? It isn't?
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#27
Posted March 27th 2012, 4:36pm
Choey wrote:The Scofflaw Contretemps has given me nothing if not renewed clarity of purpose. I had planned to open a Fernet Branca-centric bar (in the New York sense of serving only Fernet Branca based cocktails and then only to a clientele desiring to wait on-line for an hour to enter my boîte) in a condemned two-flat in Back of the Yards, but after reading Ms Viera's brave (in the Josh Noel sense) argument for the narrowest possible conception in hospitality, I've reevaluated and am forced to conclude that the ne plus ultra of customer-eccentricity would be a Malört-centric bar. (I intend to name my grand venture "Salon Peripeteia.") I base this conclusion on the crystalline purity of Viera's vision of postmodern posturing, and am counting on her to be the solitary customer during the weeklong run-up to my ineluctable bankruptcy. When I'm gone, you'll all remember that for a single, white phosphorous hot moment, I was the darling of the feuilletons. And that's ultimately what this is all about. What? It isn't?

There is much brilliance in this post.

Also, holy crap, earlier today I was thinking about making a joke about an exclusively-Malört bar being the only way Chicago could one-up New York (thus rescuing Chicago's cocktail scene from its impending doom). Well played.
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#28
Posted March 28th 2012, 5:19am
Khaopaat wrote:
Choey wrote:The Scofflaw Contretemps has given me nothing if not renewed clarity of purpose. I had planned to open a Fernet Branca-centric bar (in the New York sense of serving only Fernet Branca based cocktails and then only to a clientele desiring to wait on-line for an hour to enter my boîte) in a condemned two-flat in Back of the Yards, but after reading Ms Viera's brave (in the Josh Noel sense) argument for the narrowest possible conception in hospitality, I've reevaluated and am forced to conclude that the ne plus ultra of customer-eccentricity would be a Malört-centric bar. (I intend to name my grand venture "Salon Peripeteia.") I base this conclusion on the crystalline purity of Viera's vision of postmodern posturing, and am counting on her to be the solitary customer during the weeklong run-up to my ineluctable bankruptcy. When I'm gone, you'll all remember that for a single, white phosphorous hot moment, I was the darling of the feuilletons. And that's ultimately what this is all about. What? It isn't?

There is much brilliance in this post.

Also, holy crap, earlier today I was thinking about making a joke about an exclusively-Malört bar being the only way Chicago could one-up New York (thus rescuing Chicago's cocktail scene from its impending doom). Well played.


Hilarious! I was too.

And to bring it back, Scofflaw serves their water in old Malort bottles.
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"We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
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#29
Posted March 28th 2012, 9:32am
Sweetbread wrote:Scofflaw serves their water in old Malort bottles.

Not old gin bottles? We're all doomed, I tell ya. DOOMED!
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#30
Posted March 29th 2012, 12:34am
I'd say I disagree with Viera's article, but it seems like a lot of the comments are more quick scrambles to get a joke in than an attempt to confront her actual argument. Clearly the statement damning Chicago over the Scofflaw's menu's lack of focus was intentionally hyperbolic, and I think it's a fair question to ask why a bartender would feel afraid to specialize, especially when crafting a cocktail menu, where there's an underlying assumption that they could whip up a manhattan or what have you if you wanted it. Any condescending arguments founded on the Midwest's supposed "niceness" come off flat to me (you'd assume they only knew New York from watching Death Wish), but it's a potentially interesting discussion, if you're willing to overlook her tone, which is definitely abrasive at points.

To (partially) contribute, I'd also add that the Scofflaw looks very promising, and I'm looking forward to dragging my friends there this weekend.
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