7. You can get alcohol at Taco Bell
The very first Taco Bell Cantina in the nation opened recently in Wicker Park. The idea is simple enough -- do what people were already doing (adding tequila shooters into their Baja blast). The Taco Bell Cantina, however, allows for the added atmosphere of hanging out in Taco Bell while drinking, as opposed to after, possibly in the hopes of preventing a devastating hangover through molten cheese. At the very least it is an experience, a true American landmark, a part of history itself. Bring your friends, your parents, your mentor, show them what Chicago is really about.
8. There are 2am bars, and then there are 4am bars
Back in Indianapolis, most bars close at 3am -- the perfect, most reasonable time to close. If you make it all the way to 3am, you know you’ve done well. You’re tired, but satisfied, and ready to take yourself home for a restful slumber, or grab some much-needed greasy nourishment from a 24-hour diner.
In Chicago, most bars close at 2am. For many people, 2am is the correct time to go to sleep. As someone who works in the service industry, 2am is unbearably early. For my scummy, sleepless brethren, Chicago has an innovative solution known as “4am bars.” Now, 4am bars are never exactly an ideal place to be, and they are also few and far between. The city of Chicago makes it pretty difficult to get a permit to be open until 4am, and thusly the crowds from dozens of 2am bars, all across the neighborhood, find themselves crammed together at the only place within walking distance still serving for one last drink.
In some ways it is beautiful, the way people of all different backgrounds come together in alcoholic and sexual desperation. Other times they are like a cesspool of people who were once peaceful strangers but are now somehow suddenly all enemies. Just try to enjoy yourself and not get into any trouble, maybe call an Uber, and definitely get a glass of water. Don’t even think about an after party, you are too tired, go to bed, stop Tweeting.
9. Many places offering “deep dish” are scamming you
Historically, politically, generationally, Chicago has more than its fair share of scammers. Don’t take it personally, eventually you will learn to dodge them as you get oriented. To save you a little heartbreak, if you’re going to do deep dish, don’t stop at any random, by-the-slice places you happen upon. They will likely serve you a triangle of puffy dough with a layer of sauce and cheese on top and tell you its deep dish. If you’re going to get a true Chicago-style pie -- which will not be that often as you think -- for the love of God do your research.