Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's in Bucktown, Chicago

If you are like most of us, chances are you haven't even begun to think about how to spend the most over-hyped night of the year.  While I normally hold the opinion that there is nothing wrong with retiring at 1030 pm on December 31st (still 2 hours after my bedtime), if you are insistent on getting out and about and drinking/dancing/etc then I've compiled some options for you close to Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast!


Club Lucky is having an early seating the includes a chef's special dinner and NO COVER. If you choose a seating after 930 pm you get a bottle of champagne, party favors, and live music to ring in the new year for $25 (in addition to dinner).  It's a nice local staple that is a great and cozy way to spend the last evening of 2013.

Hot Chocolate is offering a 4-5 course Paris-themed menu with optional add-ons and a great classy atmosphere about a 10-15 minute walk away from the b&b.

Don't feel like paying for food when you want to save all your calories/money for drinking on one of the liquor industries most lucrative nights of the year? There are plenty of bars in the area, some with all-you-can-drink passes available for purchase and some who are just operating as if it's any ol' night of the year. A few of our neighborhood favorites are Lemmings, Map Room, Jack and Gingers, Gallery Cabaret, Floyds, Green Eye, and many, many, many more (we have a LOT of bars here, these are just some really good, really close ones).

Thinking you may take the festivities a bit too seriously to make the drive home?  We may still have rooms available at Ray's - give us a call!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas WITHOUT Amazon.com


Before starting my job at Ray's I don't think I had ever shopped on Amazon apart from the occasional book, because that's all I thought they sold…

Cue Desiree, our Kitchen Manager at Ray's Bucktown B&B; a regular Amazon junkie, turned me on the the sheer volume of useful, ridiculous, obscure, and tempting wares that the internet giant has to offer.  And as much as I thank her for sharing the wealth (only wealth of mind, not pocket now that I spend it all regularly) I still have soft spot for that whole "Buy Local" Thing.

And so it brings me to this: This year, we challenge you to at least do some of your shopping by checking out what artisans, artists, and boutiques have to offer here in Chicago.  The Chicago Reader has a good article on some enticing options that you can read here, and below are some more suggestions as well.

Rudy's Roundup: We've mentioned this store before, and for  good reason.  It's the perfect place to pop in to fill out some stockings with small, offbeat gifts and cards, and you could easily spend an hour in the tiny shop, hiding out from the elements.

Bucktown Holiday Arts Show: Not a store, but this event is coming to Holstein Park, right around the corner from us and will be showcasing a lot of local talent with gifts that range from fine art to Holiday themed trinkets. December 14-15, Noon-5pm each day.

Cat & Mouse Game Store - perfect for picking up that certain something that will turn forced "family time" this holiday season into something actually enjoyable. (Note: Not EVERYONE likes Apples to Apples)

Recovered Rubber - If you're into the whole "up cycling" thing, check them out (You can also purchase from their Etsy store)




Diptyque - Technically not local (They started in France) but this local storefront is great for all things aromatic - candles, body products, perfume, etc etc.  If you are impervious to scent-overload headaches it's definitely worth a look if you are shopping for someone with a more luxurious sense of self.



Try these out, and if you have any more local suggestions, please let us know!