HP Chamber Speak: Helloooo Hyde Park Night Owls

“…night people, hanging out, looking at each other, waiting for something to happen…”
Robert Palmer

Lots of people party on the north side of Chicago, where they believe all the bars and restaurants never close. This is folly as even they can only stay open weeknights to 2:00 am, unless it’s a 24-hour joint, or the lucky few who own a 4:00 am license. Anyway, let’s say you’re returning to Hyde Park from an event and you are not quite ready to go home at the midnight hour but would really like to stay out late in Hyde Park. What’s open?

A little lesson.

It’s just after midnight on a Friday in Hyde Park. My friend Minerva glances at her gas gauge which reads “almost empty”. Time to think. Where to go for gas this time of night without going to LaGrange or Indiana? Ah, the BP station on Lake Park is open. We gas up with only enough to get us home and to a much cheaper station in the morning. I need something to eat to absorb the drinking and the singing off key I did at the Cove. I’m glad I’m not driving and thoroughly happy that Minerva who can party like a mad dog doesn’t drink. Life is good.

McDonald’s is across the street from the BP station so Minerva is able to satisfy her appetite. I however, don’t eat meat and I gave up bread for 30 days so the fish sandwich is out. We could go to Open Produce on 55th; they’re open to 2:00 am, but I’m not in any shape to be food shopping. Now where do we go? Dunkin Donuts? Yes, they’re always open. Minerva drives to the store on 53rd street and the line is six hours long, which means by the time I get to the counter I will be ordering breakfast.

We’re told that both Domino’s and Papa John’s pizza places stay open to 1:00 am, but that’s if you are having it delivered. We ain’t having it delivered. This situation is getting dicey. I am now missing Clarke’s. What does this say to the needs of Hyde Park’s Night Owls? Thank goodness CVS is down the street. I know their pharmacy is open but do they still have food? Before we get there we pass the Subway restaurant and we can see that there are only six people in the line – six people. Yes! We go in and I want to order everything they have. I believe they are waiting for me. Minerva orders a meat on meat “eleven incher”, ’cause you and I know they’re not literally a foot long. Anyway, didn’t she just eat at McDonald’s? I digress.

After scarfing down my Subway sandwich I realize I now need some coffee but the line at Dunkin Donuts is still long so we journey to the CVS. As we pass Antoni’s Greek Restaurant we find out that it stays open to 1:00 am. Can you believe this? We could have had some real food. At this point in my search I have what’s called an AHA! moment. How about coffee and Insomnia Cookies on 55th? I’m told they stay open until 3:00 am. We pick up two bottled coffees at CVS, jump in the car and head to insomniac country.

The line at Insomnia is long but the service is quick so we only have to wait a few minutes for cookies the size of our hands. Someone in the line tells us that President Obama once told Newsweek Magazine that he’s a night owl and that he likes to stay up late and says that even when he’s done working, he stays up even later reading. Gee we wanted to hear this. Someone else with heavy eyelids and slurred speech says Seven Ten Restaurant, which is almost next door, stays open until 1:00 am. My light- headed state is starting to recede and this conversation is taking an ugly turn. Lastly we are told if we had just walked around the corner from the Cove and gone to Bar Louie’s to eat we would have realized they stay open until 2:00 am. Ok, now the “I love everyone” feeling is officially gone.

Minerva promptly drops me off at home.

Btw, Promontory is open until 1:00 am, Walgreens is open 24 hours and Woodlawn Tap and the Falcon are open until 2:00 am.

JoAnn Fastoff Blackman is a long-time Hyde Parker and an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Her various blogs have focused on environmental issues in and around Chicago. HPChamber Speak will appear weekly addressing issues impacting Hyde Park’s business community.