The Wrigleyville Bar Project

August 07, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. I'm here to profile some of the local watering holes around Wrigley, so that you aren't the poor sap who gets dragged into going to the Cubby Bear before the game, wherein you are soon left wondering how your life spiraled out of control so quickly. Tommy Buzanis has pledged to help out with this column, as he is no stranger to the bottle, but you can rest assured that those promises are as empty as his shot glass. So here it is, another sporadically timed, mildly entertaining column that you can only find here at the TMS. Actually you can probably find lots of info on Wrigley bars in a much more concise and helpful format, but that's neither here nor there. And so it begins.

Today's Bar: Gingerman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark St.

Douchebag Factor (1-10, with 10 being this guy): 1

Who You'll See Here: Punk rockers, barstool alcoholics, guys wearing their girlfriends jeans, former minor league baseball players, men (and women) with concealed hunting knives, guys wearing 'Ratt World Tour 87' t-shirts unironically, and of course, the obligatory 'hot tattooed rocker chick'.

What to order: Schlitz, Old Style, Jack Daniels, cold gin.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Winehouse, Iggy Pop, the ghost of Johnny Cash (as played by Joaquin Phoenix).

Website: Yeah right.

Summary: The Gingerman stands alone as a giant middle finger in a sea of chest bumps and high fives. I think that sentence says it all and I'd like to just leave it at that, but I'll go on. The Gingerman is dark, smoky, and has more 'character' than the furniture you owned in college. In short, it's glorious. Not really a sports bar per se (though you will find a couple of TV's above the bar that they'll flip to the game if you ask nicely), the Gingerman is the cool older brother that you emulate, but who never really made anything of his life.

It's split into two halves. The first half has the bar with some nice chewed up barstools and a few tables. Make a right at the end of the bar and you find a pretty stellar jukebox (Slayer is not really my bag, but I'll give them props just for putting it in there) and a short hallway leading to the otherside, which basically consists of a few pool tables and some places to lean against when you're really, really drunk.

The bartenders are primarily female. They are usually wearing tanktops, exposing their tattoo sleeves and barely hiding their nipple rings. Despite knowing better, you are immediately smitten. If you order a Heineken here you might get punched in the face (at best) or possibly shanked (likely).

So many stories here, most of them involving fellow bartenders Brant Brown and Chip Wesley. Memories are blurry and fragmented and Chip probably tells the story better than I do, but one involves a long conversation with former minor leaguer Keith Johns, who regaled us with stories of steroid abuse and life on the road. Another time we ripped off a couple of guys in the bleachers playing the 'dollar game' (an idiotic game of chance involving predicting what the next batter would do and throwing money into an empty beer cup) and ended up taking refuge at The Gingerman, figuring that would be the last place those frat boys would look.

Overall a great hangout, one of the best in the area. Probably better suited for a night of pool and post-game/concert debauchery (the Metro is located next door) rather than a first date place. Throw on your best black tee, grab a roll of quarters and check your pretensions at the door. Lest the Gingerman check them for you.*

*And you don't want that. You'll wake up the next morning with a black eye and a tattoo of CC Deville's face on your left buttcheek.

Thunder Matt Rating: 11 emtpy Old Style cans out of a 12 pack.