Food & Drink

Your new wine guy in Wicker Park

When people talk about their retirement plans, things get boring, or downright creepy if they're in a Charles Schwab commercial -- seriously, who decided they should look like semi-cartoon humanoids!? Delve into a much more interesting retirement planning to wet your whistle, at Joe's Wine Cellar

From a dude who spent three decades working in telecom developing an interest in wine (most likely to dull the pain), JWC provides a place to spend his "retirement" days, where 350+ varieties of vino sit on custom steel shelves & movable mahogany racks, illuminated by light fixtures made from old wine bottles, meaning a collection of empties can actually prevent a blackout. Offerings run the regional and fiscal gamut (more than half are under $30), and, as with those sweet posters from college, shoppers can educate themselves with hooch, whether from the 16 taps doling out tastes, half-glasses & full pours, or whatever white and red have been popped open for gratis swigs. Beyond the vino are 80+ craft brews in bombers and mix-and-match six-packs; small-batch spirits from St. George Gin to Siembra Azul Tequila; plus mainly local cheeses, charcuterie, and fresh-baked baguettes from La Boulangerie, because baking them yourself would be a real pain. Literally, "pain" is the French word for bread

Down the line they also plan to host regular events with distributors and experts, though they likely won't appreciate that, after a few tastes, you start acting like a semi-cartoonish humanoid.