Long weekends are lovely, but they can do a number on your energy level. After laboring 'til 10 p.m. at work on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, making my parents brunch (they sure do like that bacon) and running from one activity to the next, come Sunday, I was spent.
But the weekend was still going strong, and I didn't want to give up on it just yet. I needed cocktails. I needed laughter. I needed music. I needed gay men.
Lucky for me, on Sunday nights at the Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club, 3700 N. Halsted St., martinis are half price and drag performances are free. And if we're talking drinks with funny names and Whitney Houston musical ditties, just go ahead and try to keep me away with a stick. Just try.
My friends Matt and Jeff and I got a later start than planned (due, as usual, mostly to me), but we were shocked to find Kit Kat packed when we rolled up at about 10:30. Well-dressed men spilled out of the front door onto the sidewalk patio. So many people were perched near the hostess station we couldn't actually ascertain who worked there and who was just thirsty, until a kindly girl asked if we'd like a martini while we waited. Why, yes. "I might have a table for you soon," she purred.
We placed our order then leaned against the wall. And waited. And waited. And then, just to mix things up, we waited some more. Finally, a manager-type spotted us and asked if we were waiting for a table. We told him we were, and also were waiting for some drinks. We explained what we'd ordered and he whiskered off into the night.
And we—well, we were still waiting. For a table, for a beverage, for a diva with a song in her heart, for anything. The man came back and offered us a choice: stand where we were, or take a table on the patio. The catch? It didn't exactly have chairs. But we opted to try it, and found there was actually one—and a border sort of thing around the tree behind it that Matt and Jeff gentlemanly offered to perch on.
Sadly, we had to place our order for a third time once our waiter came by. "I'm sure she has it," he said of our first Kit Kat contact. "But just in case..."
Approaching our one-hour anniversary of waiting, our drinks magically arrived. I'll say this: My Mint Chip martini was indeed tasty and came complete with a peppermint patty submerged on a stick. It was so good I could almost forget that my friends were sitting on wooden spikes.
We briefly debated ordering our next two martinis, as we were certain we'd have more, and we were just as certain there'd be an extensive wait for each. With more than 50 flavored martinis on the menu at just $4.95 each on Sunday nights, I was ready to sample. But things went much more smoothly once we got rolling. The waiter was attentive, bringing us water, and a second round, very quickly.
My second, said to taste like birthday cake, didn't really, but it was sweet. Upon receiving it, our waiter announced they were about to close the patio and wouldn't we like to go inside? We did, and he was even kind enough to carry my glass for me (since left to my own devices with a martini glass, I'm like to end up at the table with about a teaspoon of liquid).
Inside was entertainment galore: Patrons shimmied to Justin Timberlake tunes and a particularly gorgeous impersonator faux-crooned along with the rest of the bar to "Since U Been Gone." And since I had a martini and we all had seats, I, too, could breathe for the first time.
The verdict? Well, we each had three or four delish martinis and it cost us less than $30 for the whole night. And that's counting the dollar bills we gave the singer. Just go early—or bring your own barstool.
Want to check out Kit Kat's martini deals for yourself? The bar is open until 2 a.m. on Sundays. Call (773) 525-1111 for more details.
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.