Last Call: Now all restaurants feel imaginary

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Now all restaurants feel imaginary
Photo: Tanasin Srijaroensirikul / EyeEm (Getty Images), Jí Gang Shí Xiào / EyeEm (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

The other night I was reading a book where three characters go to a unicorn-themed bar. The servers wear horns and rainbow manes and tails. All the drinks are rainbow-colored and garnished with edible glitter. One of the characters wondered if she would poop rainbow glitter afterward. It sounded amazing. I wished passionately that there were such a place in Chicago and wondered which of my friends would be most likely to agree to go with me. (It’s a place for friends, naturally, because Friendship is Magic!) I imagined what the drinks would look like and how much fun we would have, even if everything tasted terrible.

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And then I remembered that not only is there no such bar in Chicago, but also that I have not gone out for a drink or a meal with a friend in nearly six months. Just the idea of sitting in an indoor space close to people I don’t live with—complete strangers, even!—and considering it an ordinary, everyday occurrence seems fantastical, even without the rainbows and edible glitter. And can you imagine standing next to strangers and sharing utensils to pick up pieces of food? Can you imagine standing very close to people and shouting in order to be heard over the music and ambient conversation without thinking of catching a deadly virus? Can you imagine life without wearing a face mask or fighting with people about the necessity of wearing one? (Sometimes I also imagine trying to explain this new fashion to a time traveler from last year at this time.) It sounds just as fantastical as... as The Hog’s Head, the wizard dive bar in Harry Potter.

(Sidenote: Wouldn’t it be great if there were a really divey Hog’s Head instead of the sanitized theme park version?)

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I keep telling myself that someday everything will come back, just like it did after the 1919 flu epidemic. And maybe someone will celebrate by opening a unicorn bar in Chicago. I can dream—and I will.

What food and drink establishments do you dream of going to?

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

I will settle for going to the grocery store and not feeling like I’m on a suicide mission trying to infiltrate a Nazi-held castle. Is their mask on right? Is my mask on right? Who is walking towards me? Why are they standing so close to me? Why is this person walking the wrong way down this one way aisle? In fact why is everyone walking the wrong way down the one way aisles? Did I misread the sign somehow? Was it in German? Am I the one going the wrong way?

And then the relief once I finally get out, as well as the lingering guilt and anxiety that they somehow clocked me and have let me escape to pinpoint my hideout; a raid could come at anytime and I’ve put my family at risk for two pounds of cherries and a bottle of rum.