Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Movie Night in Holstein Park - One of Chicago's Best

Here at Ray's we are lucky enough to be about a 90 second walk from one of our favorite places to hang out in the City -Holstein Park.

Hostein boasts one of the most impressive field houses in the city architecturally, especially for being tucked into our little neighborhood. If you are a fan of brickwork you should definitely check it out. They also have a playground, free pool, and several community programs.  You can find the pool schedule and rules of conduct on their website.

Last night Holstein was the host of Movies in the Parks, a popular summer program here where you can park it on the lawn of your neighborhood park and watch a movie outside, and if you're lucky it'll be a night like last night, cool breeze, no bugs, and no screaming babies (a couple barking dogs but, we think they're cuter than babies anyway). It's a pretty low-maintenance way to spend your evening but here are a few tips to help enjoy yourself:

B-DON'T  be that person who sits on an elevated camping chair, unless you are clear at the back, or enjoy daggers in the back of  your head from all the more conscientious folk.
-DO bring a snack or two - no loud wrappers please (a nicely curated meat and cheese plate is always nice, just beware of sitting next to a pup with such a spread)
-IF you can't forgo your favorite bottle of pino, (It's unclear whether alcohol is permitted) do so discretely and without any keg stands please.
-ALWAYS recycle, and toss your trash, this is not a frat party and Holstein holds daycamps every morning - stepping on a broken beer bottle can definitely ruin a 7 year old's soccer game.

Get there early if you want a prime seat, but the screen is large enough to see from anywhere, it's more the sound level that improves with closer seating.

Our first movie of the summer was Labyrinth, a "film" in which David Bowie plays a Gremlin King (see exhibit A to your right, featuring a tightly-knickered Bowie dancing with his Gremlin minions) who has abducted a baby and lures a 15 year old girl into his Castle Labyrinth. It's weird, it's got songs, it's got gremlins, it's got a bog of eternal stench, and when you watch it with subtitles some more creepy nuances come out that you may have otherwise missed. Definitely something worth checking out.

Holstein is a small park and therefore we only get 2 movies a year, the next one is Zootopia on August 29th - if you are staying at Ray's you should seriously consider going - it's a great way to feel like you're a part of the neighborhood.

Also, here is a full list of the Movies in the Parks dates and locations: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/movies/

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oh Hey Look - It's Summertime!

We wait all year long for this season - insist on apartments with "outdoor space" so that we can soak up some rays during these glorious 12 weeks or so when we can, vow to visit every street festival we can, etc etc. And then before we know it, it's over, the heat gets turned back on and our "outdoor space" lies dormant for another 9 months. So lets make the most of it shall we? Here are some of our favorite outdoor spots in Bucktown as of late:

1. Our garden here at Ray's - we have a small herb garden out back (think urban Fern Gully) that is perfect for a brief afternoon break in between cooking breakfast and cleaning rooms, checking in guests, and playing local tour guide.

2. Red Door - We've mentioned this place before, probably for it's patio and we're doing it again.  Stumbling distance from Ray's and you can find a good list of cocktails and comfortable food options. They even serve Dorilocos! What's that? Check it out here.

3. Small Cheval - You may have heard of Au Cheval the upscale diner burger destination, but what you may not know is that they have a little sister - Small Cheval, right around the corner from Ray's, and it boasts a small outdoor patio where you can post up for some neighborhood people watching (fair warning, you will definitely not forget the train is nearby...but we like to think the el noise adds "genuine local atmosphere")

4. Madison Public House - Our manager lived across the alley from this bar/restaurant when they first put up the "coming soon" sign and started renovations.  True to the timeline of construction, she had moved out long before they opened, but they are now in full swing. There's nothing innately that special about Madison Public House, except that not too many people know about it, and, sometimes they have a basketball hoop set up on the patio so you can challenge your friends to ill-advised athletic competitions after enjoying a few beers. Perfect if you're an alum of UW Madison. (also train-adjacent)

5. Orbit Room - This one technically falls in the Avondale neighborhood, but when did branching out ever hurt anyone? Orbit Room has an unexpectedly good patio, and it's off the beaten path, adding to it's unpretentios "1970s Elvis" (according to a yelper) vibe. Decent beer/drink list, decent food, great music, service, and atmosphere.

We left out some of our regular spots, in an effort to highlight something new, but definitely worth checking out as well are Parson's Chicken & Fish, Jack & Gingers (DOG friendly patio) Big Star, and many more.