As the year of our lord 2019 draws to a wintry close, Logan Squarist wants to ensure that you make the most of your last month of the decade in the neighborhood. With the big, end-of-year holidays coming up, there are plenty of themed events to enjoy—plus, just straight-up fun neighborhood things to do. Check out the best activities for each week in December in Logan and nearby ‘hoods.
Thursday, Dec. 5: Party for Unity Park @ Weegee’s, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Unity Park (2636 N. Kimball Ave.), that little oasis of greenery and colorful playground equipment occupying a few short blocks on Kimball, provides the community a host of fun events in warmer weather. Perhaps you happened upon some masked luchadores in the summer. Or brought your kids for pumpkin decorating before Halloween. Funding for those creative, family-friendly happenings largely comes from the annual Party for the Park. Be sure to wear a coat, because the park can get cold in December. Just kidding, the Unity Park Advisory Council moves things inside, to the 1940s-themed cocktail/dive bar Weegee’s Lounge (3659 W. Armitage Ave.), for this event. Your ticket/donation comes with bites from local spots, a drink ticket (check out Weegee’s classic cocktails and craft beers) and a raffle entry. (Also: shuffleboard!)
Saturday, Dec. 7: Women Unite Turns 3 @ Hairpin Arts, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Women Unite!, a local, woman-run organization that partners with other charities, came about in response to a certain earthshaking political event three years ago that we’re all trying to counteract and/or block out from our memories. As such, the group, working this year to raise funds for three partner charities, is turning 3 years old. The organizers continue to raise money for charities working on behalf of groups targeted by the result of said political event. At their birthday celebration at Hairpin Arts Center (2810 N. Milwaukee Ave.), the united women ask that you enjoy a special drink from Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.), along with beer, wine and a DJ-boosted dance floor. Funds go toward Assata’s Daughters, a South Side group organizing young black activists; Midwest Access Coalition, which supports abortion access in the region; and she crew, an arts organization and “expressive platform” for adolescent girls and gender minority youth.
Wednesday, Dec. 11: Holiday Networking Happy Hour @ Papa Cenar, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Still brand-new, Papa Cenar (2445 N. Milwaukee Ave.)—it opened in October—recently hosted one of LoganSquarist’s neighbor meetups. Well, the Spanish tapas joint inspired by Hemingway’s Europe adventures wants the community to come back for more “So what do you do? What part of the neighborhood are you in? Hows’ the sangria?” conversation. The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce’s (3147 W. Logan Blvd.) Holiday Networking Happy Hour will feature Papa Cenar’s Hemingway-appropriate gin and tonics, cocktails, Mediterranean wines and, of course, their specialty sangrias. Our reviewer liked the “smoky mezcal” in the El Unico cocktail.
Friday, Dec. 13: LoganSquarist Nightmare Before Christmas Meetup @ Logan Theatre, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
As a kid, it took an eternity to get to Christmas (and those sweet, sweet gaming console-shaped presents). As an adult, it seems the holidays go quicker and quicker and it should still be Halloween (heck, it should still be July 4). Hold on to the spook-fest of two months back with LoganSquarist’s next neighbor meetup, where we’ll mash up Christmas and Halloween in grand Tim Burton fashion at Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Get spookily festive at our “Nightmare Before Christmas” get-together! Ugly holiday sweater contest? We got that. Halloween/Christmas costume contest on top of that?? Yep, that too. Plus, a “Nightmare Before Christmas” photo booth to do your best Jack Skellington pose, winter tree decoration, and card writing for seniors. We’ll also be collecting donations for our charity partner, Inner City Impact.
Friday, Dec. 13-Monday, Dec. 16: Beethoven Birthday Bash @ Hairpin, various times.
Did you hear? Beethoven’s turning 250 next year — and he doesn’t look a day over 137. Beethoven 250 will roll through Chicago (and the rest of the world) in 2020 like a thundering timpani, but you can kick it off early with a celebration of Ludwig’s 249th. The 249th Beethoven Birthday Bash, much of it happening at Hairpin Arts Center (2810 N. Milwaukee Ave.), focuses on this year’s theme: Spirit. Opening night starts at 8 p.m. Friday at Hairpin, followed by “All-Out” performances Saturday at 3 p.m. and some Bach, “Voyage Into the Well-Tempered Clavier” Sunday, both at Hairpin. Monday closes out the event at Uptown’s stunning Preston Bradley Hall, with its epic Tiffany stained-glass dome.
Sunday, Dec. 15: Farmers Market Pop-Up @ Radler, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Logan Square Farmers Market keeps things going long after you’d have any desire to browse produce out in the street (and long after that produce itself would want to sit out there shivering in the frost so people can paw at it with their ice-cold hands). Indoor season started Nov. 3, with most editions taking place amidst the plinks and beeps of Emporium Logan Square (2363 N. Milwaukee Ave.). This Sunday, however, all your favorite winter gourds and root vegetables march next door to The Radler (2375 N. Milwaukee Ave.), so you can prod radishes while holding a stein of German beer in your other hand. (Yes, Radler’s still open.) And if you’re wondering why Emporium’s booked this Sunday, wander over to the Chicago Vegan Test Kitchen Holiday Market, happening 11 a.m.-4 p.m. that day at Emporium.
Sunday, Dec 15: “Star Wars” Holiday Edition Flicks & Flakes @ Logan Theatre, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Nothing says the holidays like brightly colored lights and weird, little creatures with pointy ears. So maybe that’s why the “Star Wars” universe spawned an infamous “Holiday Special” way back in the original trilogy era. There does seem something Christmas-y about the whole thing, from the elfin Yoda (and now, Baby Yoda!) to the multicolored light bulbs (sorry, sabers) — and, maybe more so, the toy tie-ins and December release dates. Anyway, Logan Theatre’s (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.) Saturday-mornings-for-adults series, Flicks & Flakes, takes on the goofy space-opera shenanigans of the special, in which Han Solo and his trusty man-dog visit the Wookie home planet to celebrate “Life Day.” Enjoy a free cereal bar, which you can pair with more-adult beverages, like $5 bloody Marys and $3.50 Cross of Gold ales from Revolution. Plus, win prizes, like C2E2 comic-con passes, in classic bingo and TV trivia. Free entry with donations of breakfast nonperishable items (going to Christopher House).
Saturday, Dec. 21: Brunch with Santa @ Old Plank, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Santa wants to know if you’ve been bad or good. And the best way to find out is to get you sloshed on micheladas and mescal-based “bloody Marias” so you’ll confess it all. So, come get jolly and red-cheeked with the jolly old elf — and get your photo taken amid Old Plank’s (2700 N. Milwaukee Ave.) holiday decor.
Sunday, Dec. 22: KristKrampus Market @ Native, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The Logan area loves Krampus this year. (See also, the Krampus pop-up with goat kebab at DMen Tap, 2849 W. Belmont Ave.; the menstrual-themed Crampus marketplace at Emporium, 2363 N. Milwaukee Ave.; and the all-female-artist Krampus Craft Show, back at DMen). And why not? A horrifying, goat-headed Christmas demon who punishes bad children fits right in amongst Logan Square’s bearded, hipster hoards lamenting their friends burdened with offspring. This child-terrorizing, goatly outing at The Native (2417 N. Milwaukee Ave.) stands out if only because of the thematically appropriate vendors: “Horror & occult-themed bath & beauty” from Bathomet. Despicable Pickles and its goatish gherkins. And prophesies of eternal fire (at least until you locate a glass of milk) from Soothsayer Hot Sauce. Record Breakers will be selling vinyl as well as helming the DJ booth.
Monday, Dec. 23: Feelgood Festivus @ Sleeping Village (Avondale), 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
George is getting festive! Relive cherished childhood memories of airing grievances, besting your old man in feats of strength — and, of course, gathering around the Festivus pole. The holiday for the rest of us lights up Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont Ave.) with … let’s call it joy. DJ Greg Feelgood launched Feelgood Festivus a decade ago with friends, and will bring all the Frank Costanza goodness, in addition to dancing, drinking and guaranteed “Festivus miracles.” Sleeping Village lubricates the Festivustivities (so sorry) with 56 beers and ciders on tap.
Tuesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Rocking Karaoke @ Reed’s (Avondale), 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Get in the holiday spirit by belting out some carols —or, you know, some Ozzy or some Beyonce or Sinatra or whatever grabs you. Reed’s Local (3017 W. Belmont Ave.) cedes the mic to you, slinging all the Christmas Eve spirits you’ll need for courage.
Let’s face it, if you’re going out the few days BEFORE New Year’s Eve, you’re straight-up whackadoodle crazy-pants (and/or just significantly younger than me and my decrepit old bones). Save that energy for the Main Event, people! A galaxy of entertainment options opens up to you on NYE, from battling through a sea of elbows for overpriced champagne to enjoying an actually pleasant evening with loved ones at home (again, I am very old). But here’s what a few of our favorite Logan spots have planned for you on Dec. 31:
The Owl NYE Party, 7:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.: Logan Square’s favorite 4 a.m. bar, somewhat ironically, starts things off early, at 7:30 p.m. Do people even go to The Owl (2521 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at that time? Find out, or come at a more Owly time if you must. But the all-inclusive drink package—covering “top-shelf liquors,” beer and wine, the midnight champagne toast, and a taco bar — runs from 7:30 to 12:30.
Scofflaw NYE Party, 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.: One of Logan’s classiest joints, the gin-focused cocktail spot Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.) will keep you feeling upscale — and warm, next to the picturesque fire. (Just be aware: That midnight kiss in front of the fire for the ‘gram? Everyone has the same idea.) The winter 2020 cocktail menu will debut, and you can enjoy an open bar, dancing, a midnight balloon drop—and Scofflaw’s famous on-the-house chocolate chip cookies at last call.
New Year’s Eve Chicago at The Whale, 9 p.m. — 2 a.m.: For another kind of NYE classiness, this one of the high-roller type, check out The Whale (2427 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Amid the gold-accented, ’40s-’50s gambling decor, including train cars down the middle, you can partake of an “ultra-premium drink package,” a midnight countdown and more.
The Party Wheel @ The Native, 9 p.m. — 1:30 a.m.: If you’re looking for something different, check out Native’s (2417 N. Milwaukee Ave.) “Party Wheel NYE Extravaganza.” Every half-hour, someone gets to spin the wheel (drop your name in a hat for a chance). What’s on said wheel? Different music genre favorites, ranging from pop-punk to the ’90s — plus some whammies like “10 minutes of free jazz.”
William Elliott Whitmore @ Sleeping Village (Avondale), 9 p.m.— 2 a.m.: Iowa singer-songwriter William Elliott Whitmore plays spare, stripped-down folk/Americana with punk influences—usually with just a stringed instrument (guitar or banjo) and a suitcase and a kick-drum pedal for percussion. An engaging and charismatic performer, he’ll welcome in the audience like old friends — and I’ve personally seen him win over crowds opening for The Pogues and Chris Cornell. He’ll play at Sleeping Village’s (3734 W. Belmont Ave.) expansive space for a different, comfier sort of NYE experience.
The Year 2020 Part I @ Cafe Mustache, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.: Cafe Mustache (2313 N. Milwaukee Ave.) hosts its third annual NYE get-together, with live music and stand-up, hosted by the Just Us Gals comedy show.
Featured Photo: Elisa Fritz