All Your Vices on the Rocks–and Great Wings

I don’t know what you’re doing tonight but I have a strong suggestion: go to a sports bar.

Not just any sports bar. Go to The Fifty/50, the number one sports bar in America (Nightclub & Bar Magazine, Maxim, Thrillist, Yahoo) and treat yourself to a good time.

Get there early and try the Naughty Lemonade, which is delicious and effective. And yes, have a couple of them and dance like no one is looking (no one is looking). And yes, of course, enjoy the tunes. Get into March Madness on their seven hundred and eighteen million screens showing ESPN, order some cheese curds–get joyous and loud with your friends and have an amazing time. You can’t miss. But while all that is happening, while you’re Oh My Godding to the nth degree, do yourself a solid and follow these steps to indulging in an adult moment to celebrate your more enduring vices.

Step 1–Order the wings.

Somewhere in the shadowy recesses of the Fifty/50 kitchen is a wings sauce alchemist who has performed dark magic on the flavoring for these incredible wings. They say it’s because the sauce is aged eight weeks–which is important, which is amazing, which should set a standard by which all other wings served anywhere upon this savory globe ought to aspire to–but I don’t believe that is the only reason. There’s no way mere aging, mere brilliant flavor profiling can achieve such a harmony of hot, spicy, and sweet. Someone has made a pact, a crossroads contract, an accord with the devil himself. So, order the wings.

Step 2–Order the pork belly.

Because pork is four of the five major food groups (whiskey is fifth–keep reading) and pork belly is to pigs what bacon is to being alive. The sizeable portions of the Fifty/50’s Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce deliver the best aspects of the noble animal. They are cooked slowly, for hours, maybe for weeks, maybe since the day you were born so they are beyond merely tender, held together precariously by a toothpick and hope, covered in a devilish glaze (probably from that same wizard who does the wings) that pairs perfectly with their slightly charred edges and get a room, would you?

Step 3–Order the Weston.

This is the signature cocktail of Beverage Manager Benjamin Schiller, a drink that has followed him from designing cocktails at Boca, at the Berkshire Room, at the Girl & the Goat and a slew of other newsworthy watering holes to this bar where it’s been the resident holy mother of Division Street for the last seven years and here is where your evening shifts from mere party time to something more fecund, something closer to an elegant and cultured depravity, something closer to a friends-with-benefits kind of mood because when your bartender sets your Weston down, your inhibitions will fade, your walls will tumble, you’ll feel sexy and it’s ok, it’s cool, you’re in a safe place.

The Weston at The Fifty/50

The Weston: 12-year-old Weller Kentucky bourbon, Dark Matter coffee essence, bitters, pipe tobacco mist.

The Weston is Schiller’s love-child and one of Chicago’s great cocktails. It’s an ode to a perfect day off when one indulges in the finer vices and treats one’s self to the fleeting delights that matter. On Schiller’s days off, he would grab a powerful and possibly cardiac-inducing coffee from Big Star, a ridiculously expensive chocolate bar, a massively spicy curry with coconut and cinnamon, a heroic pour of unfiltered bourbon, and a La Flor Dominica Maduro cigar. The Weston recreates that day.

“It’s a slippery slope,” says Schiller. “There are so many vices in there–smoke, caffeine, psoriasis. You’ve got unfiltered bourbon coming at you.”

It is the antithesis of kale chips and kombucha and you need it now. Because vice matters. Because indulging in one’s mildly guilty pleasures matters. We are not long on this earth, people, so use your time wisely. Look at what you’ve laid out before you here at Fifty/50. These are the emblems of a life lived well:

  • Pork
  • Wings
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Tobacco
  • Bourbon
  • Being  a badass

If Hunter S. Thompson and Lou Reed were looking for the perfect drink, this would be it. They would have the exact same spread of pork and chicken. So be like them and go to the Fifty-50 and get the Weston and drink like there’s no tomorrow.

Order the wings.



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