Got the hard drinkin doldrums? Tired of warm pints of flat Old Style and the tamale guy screaming in your ear? Dreading another Friday night at the Rainbo with the same hipster 4's and 5's?
A boot may be in order, brah.
4732 N Lincoln Ave
Grubbing options at this German-themed beer hall include schnitzels and sausages of all kinds, topped in kraut and caramelized onions galore. One particularly boss staple is steak tartare, a suspect combination of a raw egg, raw onions and raw ground beef, served stacked in a bowl for the customer to season and mix to their liking, thus starting the inevitable process of vomiting and/or extreme gastrointestinal drama. I usually pass on this tempting opportunity.
To be blunt, the rather bland grub alone will not blow you away; kind of like a Medieval Times meal, the intention is there but the main attraction has nothing to do with the quality of the grub. I also realize that for most of the Brauhaus patrons, said main attraction is most likely the lively dancefloor revelry to the sound of polka music from a trio of three seriously old dudes in lederhosen. However, take one look out at the tables and you'll see the real boozebags getting down with some serious boots.
One might assume that only the most special of occasions would justify a boot, but this is not so. While a trip to the Brauhaus can undoubtedly set a birthday or bridal shower off right, a boot can also transform an ordinary Wednesday night into an extraordinary night in hard drinkin.
The hefty $45 deposit per boot may initially seem excessive, but on further reflection is totally reasonable considering the intense level of hard dining going down. Celebratory cries such as 'DRINK THE FUCKING BOOT' and 'BOOTS BRAH' are commonplace among patrons. Walking among tables, one may overhear such popular phrases as 'DAS BOOT' or 'I'm fucking annihilated'.
I can attest that a boot is best when shared, passed around a table of brahs and consumed in one fell swoop, to be immediately followed by another. Although this almost definitely ensures someone at the table will get sick, the participants accept this risk with idiotic smiles on their faces, marveling at the size of the vessel they are preparing to battle.
And obviously yes, the first thing I did upon recovering the next day was to immediately scour eBay in hopes of securing a boot of mine own. Large crystal vases have even been implemented as improvised boots at hard socializing events, yet none elicit the same rush as conquering a Brauhaus vessel in its amber glory.
At right: Chicago's Liz Ransford shows a boot who's boss, ignoring the size ratio of the intimidating boot to her own petite frame and destroying it with one hand.