Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Cheers

 Happy Holidays from the Ray’s crew! We’re gearing up for a busy holiday break, with folks coming to stay from all over. Whether you’re looking for a New Year’s party spot, or a quiet Christmas hamlet to escape the family drama, Ray’s still has a few rooms available to further your holiday cheer. Speaking of cheer, the Bucktown neighborhood has a royal ton of bars and boutiques to either finish off, or if you’re like me and drastically unprepared for this gift season, jump-start your shopping and celebrations. These are all within walking distance of Ray’s, so put on your coat and get to adventuring!

For any and all cocktail/beer needs:

Burk’s Web Pub, 2026 W. Webster Ave.
Jukebox, darts, $3 dollar drafts and two blocks from Ray’s. What more could ya need?

Charleston Bar, 2076 N. Hoyne 
Hip lights, a unusually good looking person is usually spinning records. If you’re cool, or want to be, this is the bar for you. 

Corner Bar, Bell and Leavitt
Sports, ten-dollar PBR pitchers. So close to Ray’s you’ll only have to brave the winter for exactly three whole seconds.

Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne
Good coffee, better beer. I freakin’ love this bar. 

For any and all eclectic gift needs: 

Sideshow Gallery, 2219 Western Ave. 
Tarot cards, crystals, and shrunken heads, oh my!  Half art gallery, half funky gift shop, worth a look just for a full-on weird experience.
Red Balloon Toy Store, 1940 N. Damen Ave.
            Classic toys, whimsical vibes.

Three Stars Resale Shop, 2600 W. Fullerton Ave.
Looking for a mid-century modern couch that will make your apartment look straight out of Mad Men? Welp, here ya go. Really beautiful used and antique furniture. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Staff Night Showdown

Fun fact about Ray Reiss, the namesake of Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast, he's a crack-shot poker player. Once a year he makes a point of showing off these well-honed poker skills at staff poker night. This year, though, the staff also came to play. After a long and uphill battle of chips and wits, it was not Ray but our Manager, Kelly who came out victorious. It was truly epic, y'all. I'm sure Ray is already looking for a rematch.

That poker game wasn't the only competition of the night. Pre-poker, we had a Taco Showdown. First, we ordered beef tacos from every taco joint within a 3/4 radius (that's six places!). Then, we took notes and voted on the quality of tacos, and yes, I finished all six. The winners are as follows:

Aurturo's Tacos, Western Ave. Good meat/ onion balance, great salsa.
Las Asadas, Western Ave. Great beef.
Flash Taco, Damen Ave. A hipster favorite.

And, if we've inspired you to either play poker or get into the Latin-American spirit, here's some inspiration for ya:

1. National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, Humbolt Park. The only museum focused solely on Puerto Rican Culture in the US, free parking and admission, and close to Ray's, surely the making of a lovely afternoon.

2. Pilsen Murals, Pilsen. This walk of mosaic and mural, established by the Chicago Urban Art society, makes for a lovely outing in an eclectic neighborhood.

C3PO, 1452 W. 16th Street, 20133. National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen. With one of the largest collections of Mexican Art in the US, this awe-inspiring museum is a can't miss.

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4. Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Hammond, IN. If you're looking for a real casino experience, the drive out of Chicago is certainly worth it!

5. Gamblers, Albany Park. Darts, Poker, Pool, drink specials, what more could you ask for?

Friday, October 26, 2018

All Hallows B&B

Lions and tigers and bears? Oh yeah! It’s about that time y’all, that spooky scary time where the leaves are turning, the air crisping, and the storefront that was once the home of a dodgy Ponderosa is now a neon-orange Spirit Halloween. The biggest decision of my year is about to be made: what to be for Halloween? I’m thinking Zombie Jackie Kennedy, demon big bird, or Hot Abraham Lincoln. All the staff here at Ray’s love Halloween. I’m not sure if Ray does himself, but he’s enough of a character that he still fits in.  

Halloween in Chicago is an entire weekend extravaganza, with Halloween on a Wednesday this year, there’s no shortage of festive activities to fully tune into your witchy side. What kind of Halloweener are you? Haunted house type? Costume dance party type? Eat so much candy your body physically explodes and you turn that into a zombie costume type? All of the above?  Chicago’s got events for ya, and Ray’s will always be here to cushion your sugar fallout post- Devil’s Night. 

If you’re not a fan of Halloween, go to a few of these events and open your mind to the possibilities of becoming a fun person. I believe in you. Anyways, Halloween events as follows:

In the Neighborhood:
Looking for a safe space to get some free candy? This map of safe businesses and homes has all you need to get them sweet sweet snickers bars. 
2.    Boo-Pallooza
Dog costume contests, food, dancing, this daytime events has a ton of live music and activities to get you into the Halloween Spirit. 

Around town:
1.    Hell’s Gate Haunted House, Lockport IL
A multi-level mansion filled with horrors. There’s a fright slide, and if you find the skeleton key hidden somewhere in the mansion, your ticket is free. 
2.    Masque Macabre, North Center
Interactive, Poe-inspired theatre. As an audience member, and integral part to the show, walk through an art gallery where horror comes to life.

The Classics: 
1.    Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up, River West
Sponsored by Goose Island Brewing Company, there’s a corn maze, live performances, and good beer. Not so spooky, but definitely so fun. 
This family friendly event at Wrigley field has trick or treating, farm animals, and a screening of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Simple, innocent, classic Halloween fun.
You can actually see those lions and tigers and bears! Plus, crafts,  hay mountain, a Ferris wheel, live music, and fall-themed zoo activites.