The mega-mugs at T's
When you live in Chicago, the simple task of meeting up with friends can often be a little complex. Someone lives north, someone lives south, someone is coming from an office in the West Loop; you start to feel like you need to charter a helicopter to all gather for a cocktail.
But helicopter rides are pricey, and this column isn't called Ridiculously Expensive Thrills. So it was that I found myself on the Clark bus, taking the long (over an hour and two iPod mixes) journey north to Andersonville from the South Loop last Tuesday.
The plan was to find a local spot with outdoor seating and specials. The solution: T's bar and restaurant, which on Tuesdays offers $7 double pints.
When we arrived, we first opted for some appetizers. And at T's, that's not a bad choice. Although the bar also offers sandwiches, salads and several hearty entrees, its appetizers are a big step above your average bar food.
Yes, there are still plenty of fried options—beer-battered onion rings and the like—but T's also serves up chili nachos and a baked Mediterranean flatbread with tomatoes and blue cheese (both of which we ordered).
And, because there were three of us and no one wanted to feel left out, we also ordered fried zucchini. Which is basically just as healthy as a salad, if salads were served with dipping sauces and cooked in about four inches of oil. Perhaps they should be.
I wasn't sure at first about our waiter; after we ordered, he wrinkled his nose and declared, "that's a lot of food." (I know we'd just met, but since I'm the kind of person who would back putting lettuce into a deep fryer, judgments about my lack of portion control are not going to win you any of my affection.) However, he quickly rebounded by taking our drink orders—we did, after all, need something to wash that greasy goodness down—and promptly delivering them.
And the drink deal is divine. You know, when I first heard the term "double pint," I have to say, I knew it would be two pints' worth, but I couldn't really visualize how much that would be. Now I know; it's a lot.
For just a mere seven dizzos, you get a huge mug of your choice of one of 15 beers on tap. One friend opted for a mug of Woodchuck; I chose Blue Moon, which, true to form, came with a super slice of an orange.
At first, I felt as mighty as a partially drunken Paul Bunyan, sipping my gigantic beer as I watched my other friend, who felt the size was creepily excessive, drink her seemingly thimble-sized "normal" glass.
However, any dreams of splitting my next mug with Babe the Blue Ox soon faded as I realized there's no way to drink the beer fast enough to prevent it from warming. It's just too big; halfway through your mug, you're going to be downing warm brew (especially if you're sitting outside, as we were).
Also—and this may be a testament to my lack of upper-body strength—it's kinda hard to raise the mug up to drink from. I'm not saying I couldn't do. But I am saying the phrase "lift from the legs" really should be used exclusively for putting things on high shelves and moving pianos—not for drinking a draft beer. Even if it's hard to lift and lukewarm, the beer's still tasty, and I couldn't dispute the bargain of it all, so when we got chilly and moved inside, I ordered a second mega mug—this time of Fat Tire.
The solution? I just drank faster (with more rapid arm movements). After all, I had that lengthy bus ride home ahead of me to metabolize. And, as a bonus, I probably won't need to do any push-ups or weightlifting for another week.
Interested in trying T's double pint deal? T's is at 5025 N. Clark St., (773) 784-6000.
Erin Brereton is our resident urban cowgirl on a bi-weekly search for life on the cheap. If you know of the mythic happy hour that she missed, do clue her in.