Do not attend Johnnie Walker whiskey tasting events – there’s no whiskey to be had!
One friend flew into town with two other friends and I had three people and one night to showcase the best of what Chicago had to offer. The night started off with some 55-day old steak at David Burke’s and then we made the critical error of attempting to attend a Johnnie Walker whiskey tasting in the middle of the warehouse district straight west on Fulton. The sparse line raised my eyebrow since we RSVP’d in advance, yet they didn’t let us check into the party since they were afraid of the party going over capacity like Foursquare these days.
I’ve been to many whiskey tastings and launch parties to know something that the organizers had no clue what they were doing. Forty-five minutes of waiting later and another twenty for a taxi, we left cold, disappointed, and certainly without any whiskey. My friend shrewdly reminded me, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
Where were we going to go? Luckily, living in Chicago all my life, my encyclopedic knowledge of Chicago led the compass to point towards Rockit and Underground. First, we’d have a sip of the action by drinking some serious cocktails, then we’d get in the club and knock ourselves out!
Rockit – Hubbard
As we cabbed back to civilization, the rain started falling from the sky. We got over to Rockit in River North and grabbed and table and started drinking everything in sight. Feeling especially bad, we dropped some Jager bombs to make up for the lost hour of waiting around for nothing. The night was getting better and I couldn’t complain.
Manny Nevar, the host of Rockit stopped by and showed us what the hospitality and nightlife industry was really about. I knew Rockit would be awesome, but it quickly upgraded itself to awesomely bad ass when me and +3 got ourselves a booth in a crowded bar with our own complimentary pool table. Out came some giant deadly cocktails and the night was going on full throttle.
Me +3 continued having a great time while Manny and me played the name game and found out we grew up with some of the same people. He made sure we were well settled in and then went to take care of business around the rest of the bar. At the other corner of the bar, I could see @BillyDec swarmed by his fans, friends and his own personal army. A short while later, @arturogomezrrp, President of Rockit Ranch Productions took the time to welcome me+3 even with plenty of people demanding his attention. After he left, I took time to teach my guests about Chicago, there were happy the bar wouldn’t close until 2am and Underground would be bumpin’ until 4 in the morning. Soon enough it was 1:30am and Manny showed up like clockwork to walk us on over to Underground.
Who put this line here?
Raining and looking at a line out the door, our host parted the line like the Red Sea and we marched right into the club. By now, everyone’s seen pictures of the Blackhawks going to town at Underground with the Stanley Cup and other friends would end up here after a hard night on the rocks. Having never been to Underground, I really didn’t know to expect, but was glad that I didn’t see the Stanley Cup since that would’ve meant another few hundred people to fight through! Underground lived up to its moniker as we walked down into the club that was stacked shoulder to shoulder with a raging Friday night crowd.
Knowing that I had three friends from California out to see Chicago, Manny and the Underground staff really did roll out the red carpet. We found ourselves in the kitchen having some mega cocktails and I never been to a club where so many people were dressed to impress. The GM of Underground was orchestrating the whole production and there was @arturogomezrrp keeping an eye on everything.
You ever see that scene out of Goodfellas where they go through the kitchen, through a long maze then out back into the club and out to a table? That’s what exactly happened thanks to @AhmedB_UG and @MannyNevar. We sat down and got down to the music while drinking up shots, cocktails, and more drinks. Manny did a stand up job and personally made sure that we were all having the time of our lives.
There were people dancing on every surface you could imagine and it’s clear why Underground is Chicago’s best – the people are good looking, the music is for dancing, and everyone has a euphoric time. It’s funny though, after a long night of drinking most people tend to get a wee bit hungry. Having tried Chef @amanda2581’s magical Kobe burger up @RockitWrigley a few weeks earlier, it was beyond awesome when some sliders arrived with the grilled cheese. The sliders are a mini-version of the Rockit Burger and melt in your mouth with every single bite.
One final note, if you have some people from out of town and want to have a ridiculously awesome time worth remembering, take my advice and roll through to Rockit and follow it up with Underground. There’s a guy down at Rockit named Manny and he’ll set you up and make sure everyone’s in a great mood. The proof is in the pudding and after getting home past 5:00am, I was three hours late to my 7:00am meeting! Trust me – just keep an eye out for this fellow Northwestsider and he’ll take care of you and your crew!