Where everybody knows your name

Growing up, I learned the ins and out of city living from watching TV sitcoms. My TV taught me that every city dweller had:

1. One token quirky, funny friend

2. An amazing job for which they weren’t qualified

3. A hangout to spend time away from the job for which they weren’t qualified

My TV was half right. I don’t know anyone who landed their dream job automatically (or anyone who has their dream job, for that matter). But quirky and funny are two traits I require in friends, and it is quite common for people to frequent the same coffee joints, restaurants or bars.

The closest we’ve come to our Central Perk, Monk’s Cafe or Cheers was a kitschy bar in Lakeview called Holiday Club. No one knew our names at Holiday Club, but we certainly spent a lot of time there—and a lot of money on beer.

Though not technically a hangout, a shop in my neighborhood called A. Vision has started to feel like one. It’s a unique retail concept that pairs fine wine with flowers. Owners Marta and Maria are lovely people who know everyone in the neighborhood and will pull up a seat for you, pour a splash of wine and listen to you celebrate or lament the events of the day. Moving into the neighborhood, I quickly learned about the free wine tastings on Fridays. And that the worst of days can be turned around by an incredible bottle of wine and some flowers. I know if I was wining and dining a lady for Valentine’s Day, I’d pay them a visit. (Is my husband reading this?)

Recently, I hosted the infamous Wine Club at A. Vision. The gracious owners even had one of their knowledgeable wine reps pour at the tasting. An evening of friends and delicious wine? Yes, please.

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Filed under Chicago, city life, neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village

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