Friday, August 31, 2012

Interactive Parking Map Makes Your Trip in Chicago Easier

Sponsored Post

From PILMC's website

If you’re like us, you easily get frustrated with driving downtown. Whether it’s the massive amount of traffic or the oblivious pedestrians it’s not the most enjoyable activity. When you couple this with trying to park in the city and it’s easy to see why people get upset.

Well we have a solution for you! The Parking Industry Labor Management Council (aka PILMC) has a new nifty website and interactive map to help make things go a little smoother…at least with parking. Whether you’re going to Navy Pier to enjoy Illinois number one tourist attraction or Soldier Field to catch a Bears game, the map has a bunch of pertinent information to help you plan your parking when you’re in Chicago. 

Click on one of the P’s on their interactive map and you will see address, phone, website, hours of operation, payment methods and even the number of stalls at each parking location in Chicago.

Driving in Chicago can be a pain. Hopefully their map will help make your next trip easier!

PILMC represents the operators, owners and workers of Chicago parking garages, including more than 4,000 parking industry employees represented by Teamsters Local 727 in the Chicago area. 

The organization's mission is to promote the parking industry's important contributions to the Chicago metropolitan area, to improve communication between representatives of labor and management, to enhance economic development in the industry, and to involve employees in decisions affecting their jobs, including improving communication with respect to subjects of mutual interest and concern.

A New Park Coming to Indiana and Roosevelt?

A reader writes:
I am a big fan of your blog! Have been hearing rumors that the empty lot in the One Museum Park complex (Indiana & Roosevelt) will be turned into a park-do you know if this is true? Thanks!
We've heard this, but don't have any conformation either.  Does anyone know about this?

(Hat tip: MW!)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CTA Reveals More Info About Roosevelt Stop Rennovations

Image from CTA
The Roosevelt El stop between State and Wabash is a central part of the Sloop.  Sometimes it's a lightning rod for bad press, but in our opinion it's a bustling area where you can feel the pulse of the neighborhood.

As a result, it's a good thing when the city and the CTA makes an effort to improve this critical area of the neighborhood.  In June we posted about the South exit to the Orange/Green line being transformed.  Yesterday, a reader directed us to a link outlining more details about the project (with pictures) as well as information also stating that the North entrance will also get a face-lift:
The CTA is renovating the auxiliary exit at the Roosevelt Orange/Green lines station to provide a more convenient transfer between buses and trains, and new amenities for everyone who uses the station.
When this $650,000 project is complete, the auxiliary exit on the south side of Roosevelt Road will become an auxiliary entrance as well, with direct access to the Green and Orange lines on the elevated station platform. The south entrance will include a bright, new building equipped with High-Barrier Gate turnstiles, new lighting, and new signage. This improvement will allow customers to transfer from buses eastbound on Roosevelt Road directly to the elevated station without needing to cross Roosevelt Road, as well as provide more convenient access for residents of the South Loop.
The press release goes on to say that the work will be complete in Q4 and that the North entrance will also get a face-lift.  Here are some pictures for that entrance:
Image from CTA
Image from CTA
All in all some good changes (although it seems like a lot of money if you ask us).  Finally in the last picture above does it look like they're adding a door to the West side of the tracks?  Does this already exist?

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yard House Coming to Roosevelt Collection?

Last we checked November is rapidly approaching.  Some look to this month due to the looming presidential election -- us on the other hand are focused on November 1st since that was the date Roosevelt Collection stated as their goal to have 75% of their retail space leased and opened.

While we are still skeptical about that day, we are also cautiously optimistic as it appears that progress is being made.  We recently went to a movie and noticed work being done inside the retail space.  However, it still seems like they have a long way to go (albeit we're not construction experts).

Last we heard, there was a huge rumor that Apple would open up a store in Roosevelt Collection.  If true, it would have been the biggest retail development in the Sloop since Trader Joe's opened.  Anyway, we still don't know what to believe on this one.

Yesterday we got an interesting email from a reader: 
Yard House has officially mentioned that they're coming to Roosevelt Collection! Albeit next summer...
Interesting!  We're not familiar with Yard House, but according to their website they're opening in Summer 2013 at Roosevelt Collection.  For those of you who don't know (us included), Yard House is a chain, but it appears to be a upscale chain (think Cheesecake Factory):
Glendale Yard House (via
Yard House is the creation of founder and entrepreneur Steele Platt, who came up with the concept shortly after relocating from Denver, Colorado to Southern California in the early 1990s. Platt, along with partners Harald Herrmann and Carlito Jocson, wanted to create a restaurant that would offer one of the largest selections of draft beers, a diverse menu of American fare, and play a heady selection of classic rock music on a state-of-the-art sound system. On December 7, 1996, the flagship Yard House opened along the Long Beach waterfront in Southern California. 
So two things are interesting about this.  One, it's a vendor officially saying they're coming to Roosevelt Collection.  Two, they're not opening until summer of 2013.

So what do you think?  Is this good for the Sloop?  Are we going to have anything open at Roosevelt Collection by November 1st?  Let us know your thoughts.

(Hat tip: VH!) 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

STA Travel Coming to 525 S. State

For those of you who traveled when you were in college or a young adult, you're probably familiar with STA travel.  According to their website:
STA Travel is a global travel specialist with 30 years experience advising young people on holidays and adventures abroad. We offer a unique range of flights, accommodation, tours and expeditions in 90 countries and send over 6 million passengers away each year. STA Travel has over 400 branches worldwide.
Personally I used them quite a bit (albeit a long time ago) and found them to be pretty helpful.  Well it looks like they're opening up a store at 525 S. State according to this business permit that a reader sent us:
Given the amount of students in this area and the hostel that is on Congress, it seems to make sense that a travel agency for young people would open in this location.

Another business added to our counter!

(Hat tip: MJ!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bring "Parklets" to the Sloop

From Chicago Tribune

A reader writes:
The South Loop could totally use one of these "Parklets". I think this would be a great idea to put in somewhere around all these new restaurants opening around 14th st. We should petition to the city and alderman to put one of these in, it could really increase the foot traffic and promote walking and socializing outside rather than driving everywhere. See article below (click here), a few neighborhoods are already slotted to get them and the ones installed have been a big hit.
(Hat tip: PFC!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: Follow the Color Brick Road?

We recently snapped a couple shots on Wabash.  There are some interesting public art pieces on this street that we often don't notice or take for granted.  We will post more of these photos over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, August 24, 2012

South Loop Condo Resale Prices Down the Most Compared to Other Downtown Neighborhoods

Probably not the most shocking news to anyone, but that doesn't make it sting any less.  According to an article in Chicago Real Estate Daily (behind a paywall):
A recent survey of 65 large downtown condo buildings found that resale prices on a square-foot basis fell 18 percent on average from 2008 to 2012. The Gold Coast registered the smallest decline, 11 percent, while the South Loop suffered the largest, 30 percent, according to Appraisal Research Counselors, the Chicago-based consulting firm that conducted the survey.
The disparity makes sense considering the South Loop was the epicenter of the city's development boom — and its bust, as buyers failed to show up for many new projects after the market started falling in 2006. Overbuilding was less of a problem in the Gold Coast, an older, wealthier neighborhood.
The only way we can spin this is that the "large downtown condo buildings" in the South Loop were filled with investors more so than residents.  As a result, people potentially were buying in these buildings for investment purposes and taking out mortgages they couldn't afford.  Maybe the other, smaller buildings in the neighborhood are doing better?  Anyway, the article specifically points to 1720 S. Michigan as a prime example of the South Loop's pain:
Distressed sales (i.e. - Foreclosures or short sales) have been a bigger issue in the South Loop, accounting for 23 out of 25 sales this year — 92 percent — in a building at 1720 S. Michigan Ave., where prices have fallen 40 percent since 2008.

If there is any solace to this, it appears that the rental market continues to heat up in the South Loop.  We continue to hear plans about new rental high-rises coming to the area (see Curbed Chicago article on a new rental high-rise for State and 9th street).

If you can't sell, maybe you could rent?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Overflow Coffee Now Selling Products from Ten Thousand Villages

One of our favorite places in the Sloop, Overflow Coffee Bar at 1550 S. State, recently sent us an email letting us know that they're offering a new service at their spot:
Overflow Coffee Bar is now a retailer of products from Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted gifts, home decor, jewelry, personal accessories, textiles, art & sculpture from across the globe. Featuring products from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries, we are part of a network of more than 390 retail outlets throughout the United States selling Ten Thousand Villages products. For more than 60 years, Ten Thousand Villages has been establishing long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans lack opportunities for stable income. All artisans are fairly paid for their products. 
For more information about Ten Thousand Villages at Overflow, please contact Ryan at Ten Thousand Villages products will be available on Saturdays from 8:00am to 6:00pm. As sales increase, we'll add new hours. 
For the month of August, we're donating 5% of all gross sales from these new products to the Greater South Loop Association to help make the Bash on Wabash a success. We'll also have Ten Thousand Village products available at the Bash on Wabash, August 25 and 26.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pita Belly opens at 606 S. Wabash

Back in late February, we posted about a new Mediterranean restaurant called Pita Belly coming to 606 S. Wabash.

A reader recently commented that they are officially open and upon a recent trip down South Wabash, we can confirm that this is true.  However, we haven't been yet but are looking forward to trying it out.

Has anyone been there yet?  How's the falafel?

Man I love falafel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Bash on Wabash Comes to the Sloop this Saturday and Sunday (8/25 & 26)

Believe it or not, we've never ever been to the Bash on Wabash.  While there was some uncertainty surrounding the event last year, it appears that this years event is much more organized.

For those not familiar with the bash, it's the South Loop's neighborhood festival.  It is organized by the Greater South Loop Association (GSLA) and all proceeds go to the organization.

Reggie's Rock Club has become more involved with the event lately and that's a good thing.  They know how to pick some talent (check out the line-up on the right).

If music isn't your thing, here are some of the other highlights for this years fest:

  • Fresh roasted corn
  • Beer and wine
  • Kids area
  • Corn Bags Tournament
  • Free Sumo Wrestling featuring an actual Battle Of The Bands…in the Sumo Ring! 
  • Free Mechanical Bull
  • Food Trucks
  • Psychic/Tarot Reader

It sounds like a hodgepodge of things to do, but should be fun regardless.  We're excited to check it out for the first time

(Hat tip: C!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Introducing the Sloopin Message Board

Every so often, we like to pause and say thanks to all of our readers and contributors.  We love getting emails, pictures, videos, suggestions and tips.  Without your help, Sloopin wouldn't be what it thanks!

Second, we are always trying to improve Sloopin.  Some of our changes over the years fall flat and sometimes they're a hit.

With that said, today we're excited to introduce our Sloopin message board.  The goal of the message board is to provide a place where readers and residents can come to interact with each other.

Have a question about something in the neighborhood?  Notice a new business coming to the Sloop?  Alert the neighborhood to a crash or a crime?  See something that caught your attention in the neighborhood?  Whatever it may be, you now have the opportunity to post a topic and interact with fellow residents and readers.

The message board will be accessible at the toolbar at the top of the page.  The web address for the page is:

As always, we will be monitoring this new feature closely and would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks again for all your input and hope you enjoy the new message board.

Sloopin Crew

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: DJ and Dancing

We recently snapped a couple shots on Wabash.  There are some interesting public art pieces on this street that we often don't notice or take for granted.  We will post more of these photos over the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

That Was Fast...Bottle & Bottega Opens at 1241 S. Michigan

What was seemingly faster than paint drying, Bottle & Bottega, the new paint and drink studio, has apparently opened up shop at 1241 S. Michigan.  Back in July we posted about them shooting to open in late August, but we were skeptical given that most retail stores get delayed for one reason or another.

Anyway, a reader recently commented that Bottle & Bottega was open!  We're not sure if they're "officially" open, but we can attest that we saw people inside painting.

Regardless, good to have another new business open in the Sloop and on South Michigan.

(Hat tip: TS!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Northerly Island Revamp Scheduled to Start in November

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will develop the southern 40 acres of Northerly Island, thanks to a $2.8 million federal grant and $1.5 million in Park District revenues generated by the concert venue at Northerly Island.
To pave the way for a dramatic increase in camping, kayaking, sailing, fishing and other outdoor activities, the Army Corps is expected to restore shoreline habitats, coastal wetland, “coastal plant communities” and install a pond hydraulically controlled through Lake Michigan ground water.
A multi-purpose trail, nature trails, boardwalks, camping areas, viewpoints, rolling hills, native plantings and tree plantings are also planned, as part of the ambitious project, sources said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly are scheduled to hold a news conference at the Field Museum on Thursday to announce the upgrades.

Best of all it sounds like construction on this plan will start in November:
The work is expected to begin in November and be completed in the spring of 2014, followed by a five-year maintenance program.
Sounds good to us.

(Hat tip: ND!)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Broad Shoulders Brewery Gets TIF Funds

Image from Chicagoist
We were very intrigued by the announcement of Broad Shoulders Brewery coming to Motor Row last year and have been following developments religiously.  Last we heard, the Chicago Journal reported that the brewery's opening was delayed until January 2013 due to permit issues with the city.

Yesterday, reported that the city development panel has approved a $628,000 TIF to help convert the vacant building into the brewery at 2337 S. Michigan:
A city development panel has voted to subsidize a microbrewery in Motor Row on the South Side, where city officials wants to create a entertainment district that will pull in McCormick Place conventioneers. The Community Development Commission on Tuesday approved $628,000 in tax-increment financing (TIF) to help cover the cost of turning a vacant building at 2337 S. Michigan Ave. into the Broad Shoulders Brewery.  
A venture led by investor and Chicago Mercantile Exchange member Robert Lassandrello has proposed the $2.5 million project at the southern end of Motor Row, which features an eclectic collection of historic but vacant buildings the city believes are primed to host uses like restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Opening the brewery, a stone's throw from McCormick Place, represents an incremental step in achieving the vision.

“This is part of what we hope will be the first of the anchor projects down here,” said Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), who represents the area in the City Council. Members of the band Cheap Trick want to create a multi-use venue in the area, and Mr. Fioretti said boutique hotel operators, which he declined to name, are interested as well. 
TIF is a controversial acronym in this city and can be a lightning rod for discussion.

With that said, what do you think?  Should Broad Shoulders Brewery get a TIF?  They're definitely a pioneer down on that stretch and could help the city fulfill their dream to turn this into a entertainment district. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Acadia Owner Honored as Guest Chef at NYC James Beard House

We're big fans of Acadia and appears that others are as well.  According to the Tribune
Ryan McCaskey, chef/owner of Acadia (1639 S. Wabash Ave., 312-360-9500), will be guest-chef at New York City's James Beard House later this month. It's a nice showcase for any chef, and participants usually spare no effort to impress the influential diners there. 
You could fly to New York for the August 22 dinner. Or, you could make reservations at Acadia this weekend, when the menu McCaskey will prepare in New York will be available here.
(Hat tip: C!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking a Closer Look at Columbia's Papermaker Garden

If you're like us, you have gingerly walked by the vacant lot at the Northwest corner of Wabash and 8th street.  Or maybe you've taken a glance at the corner from up top on your way to work from the El.  It's pretty clear that something is going on there, but not sure what.

Columbia clearly has part of it dedicated to keeping bikes safe, but it also appears that some experiment or something is also going on in the space.  Well this curiosity recently bubbled over for us and as a result we went to the spot to read what was going on and snap some pictures.

Upon further investigation the area is called the "Papermakers Garden" and the sign on the fence reads:
The Papermaker's Garden contributes to Columbia College's green initiative by producing suitable paper fibers, and offering collaborative and cross-disciplinary education.  An urban garden such as this will reduce air pollution (because plants filter the air by using excess carbon dioxide to make oxygen), cool the air through evaporation thus cutting energy use, reduce urban runoff, and also give students access to natural, sustainably grown fibers for papermaking, and a chance to interact with the natural world.  They will utilize the fibers being conscious of not only environmental concerns of fiber production but also of ideas with conceptual artistic practice -- collaborating with science, art, and the environment.  Columbia's art students will be able to learn about the plants in a practical way, and use that knowledge to fuel artistic practice through papermaking.  The garden will also be an alternative art side - outdoor sculptures, paintings, and performances will invigorating the space, enhancing the positive visibility of the space.
Pretty cool stuff!

Monday, August 13, 2012

America's Dog Opens; Snap Fitness Coming to 1212 S. Michigan

Two retail updates today.

First, we had a post in March stating that America's Dog was opening up in the gas station on the Southeast corner of Wabash and Roosevelt.  Well if you need a dog, you can now head to the restaurant because it's now open.

Second, according to their website, Snap Fitness is going to be opening up a gym at 1212 S. Michigan (the Southwest corner of Michigan and Roosevelt).  Again, this is an interesting development given the amount of gyms already located in the area and specifically on Roosevelt.  It starting to remind us of the grocery store influx on Roosevelt.

For those of you wondering what building this is, it's the same building with the Subway.  While it doesn't appear that there is vacant retail space in this building, we're pretty sure there is a large amount of space on the second floor.

We weren't familiar with Snap Fitness, so here is a quick blurb from their website:
For a fast, convenient and affordable fitness workout, choose Snap Fitness - the clean, comfortable close-to-home gym with everything you need to get results.
We will see if it's different from the other gyms in the area.

Oh and of course the business counter is up-to-date with these new places.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Poll: Lollapalooza a Positive for the Sloop

We got to go to Lolla again this year and here was our favorite band:

Finally, we stumbled upon this time lapse video from what appears to be Museum Park West on Roosevelt. It's a video from the Lollapalooza 2011 on Sunday, which had massive storms as well:

Or if you want to see the massive storm roll through from this year click here (however the video is not from the Sloop so we didn't show it).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: Tribal Wabash

We recently snapped a couple shots on Wabash.  There are some interesting public art pieces on this street that we often don't notice or take for granted.  We will post more of these photos over the next couple of weeks.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Good PR for 14th and Michigan Restaurant Intersection

Inside City Tavern - Image from Chicagoist
A week ago we posted about the blossoming restaurant intersection of 14th and Michigan given the recent openings of City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan), Square One (1400 S. Michigan) and Alain's (1355 S. Michigan).  Recently the Chicagoist blog had a post titled "14th and Michigan is Suddenly a Restaurant Hotspot":
We lived in the South Loop for years - trust us, it's never been a great restaurant destination. There are occasional exceptions like Acadia and solid standbys like South Coast Sushi, but for anyone living south of Roosevelt, interesting food is hard to come by. That has changed in less than a month. Not one, not two, but three restaurants have all opened at the intersection of 14th and Michigan.
While the post starts out with a little bit of a slap to the face, generally speaking it's still a positive PR piece for the neighborhood.

The PR game for Chicago neighborhoods is always a tricky one and perception is an ebb and flow of change.  Here in the Sloop it seems like there isn't much middle ground, it's either the neighborhood sucks or this place rocks!  We're constantly dealing with negatives (see story about Roosevelt CTA station) and positives like this one in the Chicagoist.  The reality is that it's an evolution...and hopefully a positive one.

It's not unique to our neighborhood, but it's always something to be aware of.

Anyway, it's good to see good news disseminated to the broader city!

NEXT STAR VODKA's Chicago Cocktails: Ripasso's Smooth Blueberry

Sponsored Post

Every Friday, NEXT STAR VODKA will be kicking-off the weekend with a reoccurring segment featuring a new Chicago Cocktail.  Cheers!

Christina Carrera, Bartender
This week's featured NEXT STAR Chicago Cocktail:
Ripasso's Smooth Blueberry
  • 1.5oz Next Star Vodka
  • 0.75oz lemon juice
  • 1oz lavender simple syrup
  • 1oz egg white
  • Shake and strain
  • Top with club soda

Courtesy of Christina Carrera, bartender, Ripasso

Ripasso is a new Italian hotspot, located in Bucktown (1619 N. Damen Ave).  Besides great food, Ripasso is also known for their amazing and unique drink concoctions.  For more information check out their website or 4-star Yelp rating.

NEXT STAR VODKA is Chicago's craft vodka.  Utilizing small batch micro-distilling methods, a custom-made copper still and premium Midwestern grain, our master distiller inspects each batch to ensure that our smooth vodka is second to none.  Click here to find a location selling or serving NEXT STAR VODKA.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Come to the South Loop Sidewalk Sale this Saturday (8/11) Next to Trader Joe's

A reader writes:
We live in the Sloop and a few of the buildings around us are hosting a sidewalk sale this Saturday. Only residents of those participating buildings are allowed to sell but we invite the rest of the neighborhood to come buy and browse our treasures! 
Details: When: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Where: Small parking lot directly north of Trader Joe's
Time: 8am - 3pm
Should be fun...enjoy!

(Hat tip:  CC!)

Marcel Florist Moves Out of the Sloop to 921 S. Western

A reader writes:
Looks like Marcel Florist on Michigan Ave closed down. Any news?
We noticed this as well.  We called them recently to get the scoop and it's true, they closed their store at 1471 S Michigan and moved West to 921 S. Western.

Sad to see them go.  

With this said, we've updated the business counter.

(Hat tip: BR!)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Could Printers Row Lose its Book Stores and Identity?

image from urbanturf
A reader writes:
Noted for the past couple of weeks that Printer's Row Rare and Fine Books on S. Dearborn has had it's sun shades down. Thought this was odd. And also notices the lights weren't on either. Heard he was bought out. 
How long until Sandmeyer's across the street goes as well? Getting to the point where it's called Printer's Row and there's not a bookstore to be found. Wonder if they'll move Lit Fest to Grant Park? (Note also that the beauty spa in the same building closed some time ago, and its getting creepy looking at he dead plants and old magazines in the window. Sort of like that cable show "Life After People".

If all of the book stores leave Printers Row will this stretch lose it's identity?  Printers Row is mostly in reference to the large printing and publishing buildings that were prevalent in yesteryear, so that identity won't go anywhere.  But it's always been nice to have the book stores in the neighborhood.  It made the moniker real and more tangible for people walking along Dearborn.

What do you think?  Will this alter Printer's Row or is it just a sign of the times (thank iPad!).

Artist's Cafe Sign Goes Up; Opening Imminent?

We knew that Artist's Cafe was going into this space, but it's still exciting to see the sign go up.  You can also get a good peek into the restaurant and it looks much more funky and contemporary than the restaurant on Michigan.

Anyway, we still haven't heard anything about an opening date, but hopefully it's coming soon.  Anyone hear anything about this?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Protected Bike Lane Coming to Dearborn Avenue in Printers Row

Apparently this is bike lane week here at Sloopin...yesterday we posted about a new buffered bike lane that was painted on Wabash North of Roosevelt and today we wanted to pass along some interesting information about a new protected bike lane that has been proposed for Dearborn starting at Polk.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
Protected lanes on Dearborn will run in both directions from Polk Street to Kinzie Street. The popular Kinzie protected lanes will be extended east to connect with Dearborn.
This is a promising development for bikers as it provides a safe route heading to and from Printer's Row.  Dearborn is one of our favorite stretches in the neighborhood and in our opinion this is a step in the right direction to make it more pedestrian friendly (although not as good as our dream to make parts of Dearborn a pedestrian only street).

Glad to hear the city is continuing to prioritize alternative ways of travel and glad the South Loop is at the forefront of this trend.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bike Lane Added to Wabash between Roosevelt and Harrison

Bike lane looking North on Wabash at Balbo
Back in May we posted about a proposed bike lane coming to Wabash between Roosevelt and Harrison.  And today we're here to let you know that the bike lane has been created!

For people in favor of more friendly pedestrian streets, you're probably happy.  Besides the bike lanes being added, Wabash has been reduced to a single lane for cars in many places.  Overall it's a much better experience for bikers and also pedestrians in our opinion.

Drivers might not be as happy as we've already noticed longer waits at stop signs and lights along Wabash.

With the addition of the bike lane North of Roosevelt, there is now a solid stretch of "buffered" protection for bikers from 18th street all the way to Harrison (which is just over a mile long).

Good addition to the hood if you ask us!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: Stormapalooza

An amazing storm rolling into the city...amazing picture and amazing that it caused Lollapalooza to evacuate the entire festival.
(Hat tip:  AD!)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alain's Grand Opening; 14th and Michigan Intersection Blossoming

...and just like that, the corner of 14th and Michigan has a plethora of new eating and drinking options.  On Monday, Square One (1400 S. Michigan) opened and today Alain's (1355 S. Michigan) has it's official grand opening (according to their website).

Couple this with the recent opening of City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan) as well as Waffles and the venerable Chicago Firehouse (1401 S. Michigan) and this intersection now has a fresh vibe and energy.  Obviously most of these new businesses still have a lot to prove, but from their first blush it's definitely a step in the right direction.

So what is Alain's?  According to the Chicago Reader:
Alain's Restaurant opens today in the South Loop. Chef Alain Njike has collaborated with Chicago Bears' Israel Idonije and businessman Chad McClennan to create a cuisine with a blend of Southern, French, and Cameroonian influences.
While we still aren't exactly sure what will result from this "blend", we are excited to try it out.  It seems like it's truly unique, which is something we always like to see.

Best of luck to all the new spots (and the old ones) and welcome to the Sloop!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

SportClips Coming to 10 E. Harrison

A reader sent us an email with a link to an everyblock posting stating that Sport Clips would be opening up a shop at 10 E. Harrison St.  We've never been to a Sport Clips, but clearly they're geared towards dudes.

Believe it or not, this could be a good thing for the neighborhood.  We're not sure what their price point is but hopefully it's between the Hair Cuttery and Halo.

We've tried every place possible to get a men's haircut and have had a wide range of experiences.  As of now we've been going to Halo (1351 S. Michigan), but in all honesty they're expensive if you ask us.  Hair Cuttery is cheap, but you get what you pay for.

I'll give SportClips a shot in my elusive search for a good, male haircut at a reasonable price in the Sloop!

(Hat tip: JM!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Mud Wars Controversy

Monkey Bar which had many broken rungs
which prevented participants from completing obstacle
This past weekend, many many many people made their way to Northerly Island (including us) for Mud Wars, a 5K billed as "Chicago's Mud Run".  We took some pictures in our weekly, Shots Around the Sloop post.  While we made the most of the experience, it was clear that something wasn't right about the operation.  The blog, Subject to Change, has a detailed post outlining most of the precarious issues.  Their intro starts to sum it up:
Six thousand people in Chicago got scammed this past weekend and the big question being asked is: What will be done about it? 
Mud Wars – which billed itself as “Chicago’s Mud Run” and took place on July 28, 2012 on Chicago’s Northerly Island – deceived participants on such a high level that people are now talking of lawsuits against the owner of Biz Events, Joe Bizzieri. 
The complaints are plenty (see below) and answers are elusive. Within 24 hours of the event, the organizer’s website has been taken down, its Facebook page wiped of all negative comments and complaints, and the owner either refusing to answer his phone or having it disconnected altogether.
The rest of the post has a detailed list of the issues many participants raised.  If you would prefer more first person accounts read the comments or this yelp thread.  The Tribune also had an article on the topic and mentioned that deal sites like Groupon and Living Social are offering refunds for people who registered for the event via their services.

We can attest to many of the observations and totally understand the dissatisfaction.

We actually had a decent time...but from the sounds of it, there won't be one next year to attend.

(Hat tip: DP!)