February '11

La Poubelle


January '11


December '10

Waterloo & City


The Tar Pit

"Ciudad Downtown"



"My Baby Blues"


"Chaya Can Stand Under my Umbrella"



"Barney's Beanery"

"The Cat & Fiddle"

"Nic's Martini Lounge"


"Six Degrees of Belmont"

"The Hudson"

"The Lobster"


"Been There, Den That"

"La Boheme"

"St. Felix"

Check - it - out

"Checkers Downtown"

By Tara Redfield


Dear Love,


Another art walk Thursday had led me to a downtown happy hour. I dreamed for this one be amazing to make up for the disappointment I faced last time at Cuidad. My friend Brooke knows every great place there is to go downtown and she suggested we hit up Checkers, the bar at the downtown Hilton. "The manager used to work at the Edison!" she excitedly explained. Brooke and I met working at the Edison together, but he was there before my time, but, we're all kind of family no matter what!


We walked into a "city feeling" lounge. By "city feeling" I mean, that the crowd seemed very business like. You know, people with good jobs that work downtown. Anyway, they helped make the environment seem important. Who doesn't like feeling important?


Tyler Dow, now Director of Food & Beverage at Checkers, greeted Brooke with a warm hug as he leaned smiling from across the bar. She introduced me, "This is Tara, she worked at the Edison after you!" We exchanged more smiles and pleased-to-meet-you's, then Brooke and I took a cozy table for two in the back of the lounge.


The happy hour concept at Checkers, created by Dow himself, is nothing short of genius. Each week Dow selects a liquor and creates four cocktails utilizing that liquor as the main ingredient. Next, he creates four small plates to complement those cocktails...and everything on the menu is $4.00. Makes sense that the happy hour is simply called Four.


The week of our visit was the "Farmer's Gin Event." I'm not much of a gin girl, but the tables around us were raving about their cocktails. For the first round, Brooke and I manned up and ordered the "Last Word," a mix of Farmer's Gin, maraschino liqueur, green chartreuse, and fresh squeezed lime juice. This 'tail originated in the 1920's and surprised me with it's light, clean, sweet bite.


It was nice only having four food plates to sort through, most happy hours have so many options that it makes ordering almost impossible! We were planning on hitting the food trucks later, so we chose three more may have been overkill. Chorizo Mac & Cheese, Grilled Fall Stone Fruit, and a salad of Apple, Blueberry and Brie. This is taking fruit and cheese to the most decadent degree!


The Mac & Cheese came first, perfectly creamy, but protected with a toasty gratin crust! The Stone Fruit was so warm and sweet, grilled to perfection and seemed to taste better right after a bite of Mac & Cheese. Good thing we had the salad coming to end on a lighter note...oh wait, there was brie coming in that salad. There was and it was delicious!


"You ladies must try the Gin Gin Mule before you leave," Dow charmingly commented as he "checked" on our status and satisfaction (Did you get my joke? Checked?). He talked us into one, with two straws. The ladies next to us reassured us we had made the right choice. They must have been at least three Gin Gin Mules in! This cocktail was a "Modern variation on the classic Moscow Mule. Farmer's Gin paired with fresh-squeezed lime and ginger juices, muddled mint and ginger beer," as the menu accurately described. I couldn't deny the spicy, refreshing cleanness of the drink. Looks like I've been converted to a Gin Gin Girl!


Well, my dream came true, this happy hour made up for Cuidad by a long shot! Remember, every week is a new theme! See? Genius. Here comes another joke...please, check out Checkers!