At this point in 2017, I think most of you would agree with me when I say that human beings the world over have lost it.
I don’t need to mention current events because 1. I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion, and 2. You have a Twitter. Look that shit up for yourself.
I hate when people say that they were born in the wrong generation because it’s overused and definitely not true. I do think life would be a lot of easier for many of us if we lived in an era where social media didn’t exist, though.
I don’t know if my generation is a product of social media or vice versa, but what I do know is that we as a collective group are incredibly judgmental. We see the world through Instagram filters and you’re nobody if you’re not getting pictures snapped in swanky clubs, on rooftop bars, or inside fancy restaurants with names your friends can’t pronounce properly.
I imbibe on the weekends. Friday and Saturday are my nights to let loose and throw back a couple of adult beverages with friends in a place where there is no judgement or backlash. I can do and say what I want with relative freedom as long as it’s not really hurting anyone, and for that I am thankful.
Chicago is a great city and for the most part I am happy with where I live. I don’t have many complaints. Other than not having access to a lot of municipal golf courses in the city, I’m content. Why, though? Why am I content here in Chicago, Illinois?
The answer, to be completely honest with you, is because Chicago has a lot of good bars to drink alcohol in. It is embarrassing to admit this, but I decide how much I like cities by looking at how easy it is to get a drink at any given moment.
As many of you are aware, I visited New York City last weekend. The large apple, if you will. It’s a place where you can really let your freak flag fly and just about anything goes. But a trend I picked up on within two hours of landing at Laguardia was this: everyone I met was exactly like me.
“You live in Chicago? Nice, man. I got absolutely shithoused last time I was there.”
“Oh, yeah I love Chicago. Lot of great dive bars there, eh?”
I had conversation after conversation just like those two above.
The barometer for what we deem a “cool city” is predicated upon us finding a drink. I don’t know that the drinking culture has changed in America so much as the way in which we capture the drinking culture in America.
People have always drank and yes, that is a completely acceptable thing to judge a city on. But it shouldn’t be the one and only factor in deciding whether you’re going to heap praise onto it or completely trash it. I know that you’re thinking I’m pointing out something that is totally obvious. Like, of course cities are judged on how fun they are. I’m just saying that our criteria for fun is fueled entirely by booze.
When I ask someone my age for their opinion on a city I plan on visiting their response is almost always entirely centered around drinking.
“What kind of bars are you into?”
“These particular bars in these pockets of the city have good drink specials.”
“Here and here are good spots to get brunch and most importantly consume alcohol.”
Are the bars in the city you live in comparable to something you’d find in Los Angeles, New York City, or some other metropolis of equal size? Because if not then the consensus from anyone in their 20s is that it sucks.
I don’t know about your friends, but most of mine are fucking degenerates. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m starting to think that judging a city solely on it’s nightlife is a little sad. Like why is it that what city you’re drinking in is why someone thinks you’re cool or not?
Time and time again whenever someone e-mails me or shoots me a text asking for things to do in Chicago my top five responses are always places to get drinks.
We make every city feel the exact same as the last one we visited because what do we do? It’s drinks in a bar Friday and Saturday and then we fly back to wherever we came from on Sunday. We’re visiting because we maybe want to see the sights but we inevitably always just go out drinking.
The scenery might have changed, but the activities you’re doing at home and while on vacation in a foreign city are absolutely the same.
Traveling and visiting new cities is always going to be something I love doing. Trips like the one I just took to New York City for the weekend, at least for now, come few and far between. That’s because I’m basically broke all of the time and leaving the city you live in every weekend to visit somewhere else gets old after awhile.
But what I would really like to do is stop this seemingly collective idea that a ranking for a city be based entirely upon bars. It’s ridiculous. Maybe I need to put the bottle down. Perhaps I should stop getting on Instagram so much.
I don’t know what the answer is. But what I do know is that if you ask a twenty-something for their opinion on some city they’ve been to or lived in, their response is going to be based upon how lively the bar scene is. We’re big drinkers. I guess maybe I just wish I could find another activity that is as fun as drinking, but I’m not getting my hopes up. .
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