Thursday, January 15, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Cru Cafe & Wine Bar to close


THIS just arrived in the mailbox from an Ultimate Insider:

"Just heard Cru Wine Bar was sold to the owners of something called 'fiesta' and is getting a makeover, will be closing in about a week."

Naturally we checked out this tip with a quick call to the Gold Coast restaurant/lounge, and it's true. Goddess and Grocer, the adjacent cafe and upscale gourmet sandwich shop, will remain open.

So if you're a fan of the infamous Cru Club (made with mounds of grilled beef tenderloin, lobster, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise), you'd better get one before it's too late!

Someone's Having a Birthday!

Debonair Social Club's Claudia Gassel. (Photo: Claudia Gassel)

Some hot heavyhitters blow out the candles on their birthday cakes this week:

She's got sultry style and pin-up girl looks, but make no mistake, Claudia Gassel (Jan. 12), partner of hipster Wicker Park restaurant/lounge Debonair Social Club, is one shrewd businesswoman.

Nightlife promoter Rick De Allay Soul (Jan. 13) keeps house music alive over at Zentra, where he presides over Jack Fridays each week. He's made quite a rep with these parties, lining up local and nationally known spin stars who've found a brand-new audience in his eager young patrons.

Grooveparlor deejay and founder Mario Romay (Jan. 14) gets the underground house heads to bow down to his parties every week at Cuatro. And when you can't make them, you can always catch his mixes as well as those from other deejays here.

And super-girl promoter and all-around do-gooder Sarah Vargo (Jan. 16) made her mark with The Diva Series, honoring local women from the arts, media, fashion and entertainment industries. The party's now at Crimson Lounge on Thursdays (starting Jan. 22), but don't be surprised to find her name attached to other high-profile events.

Mmmmmmmm, soup's on!


You're probably cold down to your bones right about now, but 312DD's got the cure:


Look for the thermometer outside Salad Spinners's door to find out how much you'll pay for soup today. Owner Rich Levy will give you a free (if temp dips below zero) eight-ounce cup of butternut squash, French onion, Cajun jambalaya or chicken noodle when you buy a salad or sandwich. If it's above zero, you pay that price. Now that's a reason to brave the chill!

Speaking of freebies, tonight's the grand-opening party for Urban Joe (3324 N. Clark St., 773-529-5637) in Wrigleyville. It should be worth your while just for the free haircuts, beer and appetizers from Roadhouse 66. 6-8pm. No cover.

Head over to The Drum and Monkey for the hot new party hosted by DJ John Curley. The music, ranging from electronic house to hip-hop, will certainly keep you warm, but so will those $5 Effen Black Cherry bombs and $3 Jack Daniel's cocktails. 8pm-2am. No cover.


The dynamic Frank Orrall takes a break from touring with Poi Dog Pondering and Thievery Corporation to drop beats at Juicy Wine Co. Performing under the handle DJ El Dandy Charro, he'll spin stuff you won't hear anywhere else. 9pm-2am. No cover.


The guys over at Cellar Rat almost never do events anymore, so we were surprised when this one came across the desk: A wine and pizza tasting with eight vinos paired with pies. And it's free. 3-6pm.

Sheffield’s hosting its first-ever Beer School Beer Festival, with more than 15 rare and specialty suds—some not available to other Chicago bars. Brewery reps from the likes of Bells, Three Floyds, Dogfish Head, Peak Organic, Allagash, Surly, Two Brothers and Goose Island will also be on hand to answer questions, plus guests get to sample from four firkins of specialty brews under a heated tent. 1-4pm. $40 for 12 tickets (additional tickets available for purchase).


The long-awaited Bristol brunch begins today. Yummy a la carte menu items include giant prawn Benedict with biscuits and mustard hollandaise, malted waffle with maple-pecan anglaise, and the fried egg sandwich with grilled bacon.

If this doesn't warm you up, nothing will. Bistro 110 launches its Family & Friends Night, with chicken pot pie dinners every Sunday and Monday. For $15 a person, you'll get the traditional Chicken Blanquette dinner and French-inspired dessert, the Gateau Breton. Large carafes of wine are $10.

BIN 36 returns with Movies in the Loft, this time featuring "North By Northwest." Event includes a wine-and-cheese reception and three-course dinner paired with vino. 6:30-9pm. $48.

JUST ADDED: The Liquid Soul Reunion/All Star Show happens tonight at Double Door. This should be a fun party with almost everyone getting Dr. Martin Luther King Day off on Monday. Jesse de la Pena spins between sets, just like the old days. Doors open at 8pm; show starts at 9. $10.