Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Soft Opening

The Realtor and I went clubbing on Saturday night.

She'd found the manger and his wife the perfect condo in The West Loop, and they invited her and a guest as a thank you.  Since I was spending the night in her townhouse, I was the obvious choice as a date.

She dressed me in Chicago appropriate attire, replacing my Anthropologie polka dotted purse for a white Bally bag for which she'd paid too much money. Mine was too big for the slinky cotton dress she'd decided was the best of the outfits I'd brought into the City.  She was gracious enough to avoid snarky comments about my luggage, at least.  The Big Brown Bag which contained the baby clothes we'd purchased at Bloomingdales together the week before had been repurposed as a weekend suitcase.
In what used to be called Greek Town, west of the Dan Ryan, south of what used to be the Cabrini-Green housing projects, a trendy new neighborhood has arisen.  SRO's are now luxury condos.  There are hipsters on the sidewalks, strolling between bars and restaurants.  In this melange, SoHo House opened.

Proving how far from the in-crowd I am, the name was unknown to me.  According to their website, Soho House was founded in London, in 1995, as a private members' club for those in film, media and creative industries. It's a membership community, with an application process, annual dues, and a lovely variety of amenities available to those who are accepted into the fold.

We were not in the demographic they seemed to be seeking.

Living in Tucson, I'm used to being surrounded by people of a certain age.  They were no where to be seen on Saturday night.  Instead, we were in the company of twenty and thirty somethings, patrons and employees alike.  Everyone was very glad to see us, but when the first floor hostess/manager recognized The Realtor and confirmed it by asking if my friend was Berco's mom, our place in the universe was established.

I didn't mind looking like everyone's grandmother; I had the baby pictures to verify my status. I found that young people are as interested in my granddaughter as are my peers.  Flapjilly's photos were quite popular for a brief moment in time.

We ordered cocktails and watched the crowd, then climbed the stairs to Pizzaeast.  We were one of two tables at 7pm; by 8 the room was full.  At a soft opening, not every item on the menu is available.  On the other hand, everything was half price.  I'd eaten a small lunch many hours before our reservation and, for once, my eyes were not bigger than my stomach.  We finished everything we ordered... and we ordered a lot.

Broccolini with crema, fried chicken livers over mashed potatoes, wood-fired pizza with lamb meatballs and prosciutto ... those were the starters.  We forgave the server for bringing our salmon entree while all the rest of the food was still on the table, but we did send it back.  We weren't ready for it.  There was no room on the table.

Halfway through the starters, the happy resident of the condo The Realtor had found showed up at our table.  Although she was busy managing the chicken restaurant on the other side of the second floor, she took the time to find us, to thank The Realtor profusely, and to pour us the first of many glasses of a bottle of Prosecco she was gifting to us.

I am much too old to finish half a bottle of sparkling wine, especially after finishing a vodka cocktail. We did our best, sharing with the twenty-somethings at the table to our right.  They were delighted, and I attribute my lack of a hangover the next morning to our generosity.  I did sleep for twelve hours, though.

There was a private party upstairs in the Club, but try as she might The Realtor could not wrangle us a place on the guest list.  That was fine with me; the room was slightly spinning as the valet brought the car around.

Those with whom I've shared the story are very impressed; Soho House is apparently a very big deal here.  For me, the joy was in the newness, the crispness, the working out the kinks of a brand new and bound to be successful venture.  And the best part was celebrating The Realtor's birthday with a true blow-out.

Life is good.


  1. Are you able to wear cute shoes now? Last time you mentioned shoes, you were still with the Converse sneakers in colors. Just wondered if your improved gait is allowing more stylish footwear.

    1. Yes! I have adorable Marc Jacobs flats - mouse shoes, with eyes, ears and whiskers! They have rubber soles so I don't slip. My Converse are still part of my wardrobe, but I supplement, when I don't have to hike too far, with these and a nice pair of woven open toed sandals... to show my FJ pedicure - white dots on my big toes!
      THANKS for asking about the important stuff!


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