We found the metro without incident -- over to Chicago, and up three blocks to State. Right near the cool McDonald's. The fare was $1.75 each, and we got on the red line to Howard, and three or four stops later, got off at the Belmont stop.
We guessed at which way to go on Belmont to get to Halsted, and after passing a couple of intersections, asked three girls walking behind us if we were going in the right direction. One answered, "I'm not from around here, but she is," and pointed to her friend on the phone. "She can probably tell you when she hangs up."
We walked a couple more blocks, and were about to stop in a shop to ask, when the girl ended her phone conversation. "No, Halsted, is back that way." She gave us some crossroad names, and sent us on our way. She was a pretty girl, and quite nice.
We stopped at a Drunken Donuts, because I had to pee, and then had to purchase something in order to get "buzzed in" to the men's room. I bought Steve a bottle of water for a $1.79. I held the door for him when I came out, so basically we got half-price pees, at about $.90 each. I guess.
We got to Halsted, and turned on it to start our walk up the main street of the Boystown area. We didn't have a real agenda, just to look, and stop in any store, shop, or bar that caught our fancy. We didn't walk long before we got to a bar called Roscoe's Tavern with a couple of men sitting in the window catching our attention. We saw a sign for Bloody Mary specials, and decided to stop in and have one. Steve treated me to one, and we took over the seating in the window.
While people-watching, we noticed several men going into the bar called Sidetracks, on the other side of the street. We'd heard about this bar, and decided we'd go over and check it out, after finishing our drinks here. In "taking a twirl" around the bar, I came across a popcorn machine, and scooped us out a basket full, which we devoured in the window finishing our drinks.
We crossed the street, and entered Sidetracks, where I ordered a bourbon and diet coke, and Steve was coaxed into a "Kettle One Krush" by the bartender -- "one of our most popular drinks." Steve took a taste, and squealed, "OMG. It tastes like a Jolly Rancher!" She loves her some Jolly Ranchers. It was a berry-flavor, and even though I'm not keen on berries, it did taste pretty good. It was not to be the last that either of us would see of this drink.
We walked around the bar to check out the scene, and then ended up sitting at the other end of a table for six, which two Lesbians were holding for some friends of theirs who they were expecting. "You can sit there until they come, and then we'll boot you. Needless to say, Steve started up a conversation with them, and we had some good chat. They were from Chicago, though not from town, but had come in from the "burbs" for an afternoon drink.
They told us that this bar was going to be teeming in just a little bit, because 1) it's Sunday afternoon, and 2) on all of these TVs on the wall (of which there were many), they are going to be broadcasting showtunes, along with clips from all of the associated movies/plays/musicals etc. Nothing like some showtunes to bring in some queers. And it did.
After a while, we left the Lesbians' table, and took one outside in the little patio area where Steve could have a smoke. There was this really hunky guy in a group of guys next to us, who both Steve and I checked out. Steve went in to get another drink, and the guy came over to me and said, "Are you from Raleigh?" I had on my long sleeve t-shirt that says, "NC State Wolfpack" on it.
"I am," I said, and he said, "I used to bartend at Legends there." We talked a little more, and then I said, "Where do you live now?"
"DC. Actually, I recently moved there from Jacksonville, NC," he replied.
"Really!?!" I said. "My parents live in Jacksonville, and I lived there for years -- graduated from Lejeune High School on the base there."
"How funny," he said, and stuck out his hand. "I'm John."
"SO AM I!" I said. We both laughed.
Eventually John introduced us to the group he was with, one being his lover, two being friends of theirs from Chicago, two being friends of theirs from DC, the other one, Sam, from California. We spent much of the next two or so hours with these guys, and I switched over to the "Kettle One Krush" drinks, first having a berry-flavored one, and then having an orange-flavored one, which by about the third sip, started tasting like Tang on steroids.
At one point, I asked the guys from Chicago in the group if there was any place close by that I could slip to to get a slice of "Chicago-style" pizza. The one guy, pointed me to the "Pie Hole," which was literally, just around the corner. I had a slice with pepperoni and bacon on it, and it was quite good. It was not Chicago-style, though, which was fine with me as this slice was thin-crusted and light, whereas a Chicago-style slice would have been big and thick.
When we finally left there, we stopped at Nookies Tree Restaurant, which was pretty much just across the street, and had dinner. We shared an appetizer of chicken strips with some peanut sauce, each had a small bowl of Tomato Pasta soup, and then I had a club sandwich, and Steve had a burger. It was pretty decent, and just what we needed to absorb the Kettle One Krushes.