***!!! METROBLOGGING CHICAGO EXCLUSIVE !!!*** VIP Party At Wicker Park’s New Smoking Lounge, Marshall McGearty


That’s right, this is a Metroblogging Chicago exclusive, brought to you by nikkos!!!

You won’t find coverage from any other Chicago-based blog, because none of them were there!

All in all it was an excellent event- free booze, food and smokes, hot women, hipsters of every stripe and flavor as far as the eye could see, sexy black-clad NYC PR chicks clutching Blackberries and cocktails, bangin’ tunes spun by the gents from Wax Addicts- a true VIP party experience. See a coupla photos here.

More coverage after the jump…

Many thanks to Fred, Brian, Lindsay, Meryl and Bernadette for truly treating me like royalty. I also met the men behind the brand- Jerry Marshall, an authentic southern gentleman, steeped in the tobacco arts, and Larry McGearty, creative guru and a real wildman. And my wrap up would be incomplete without a shout to new friends Katie, Tyndi and Mwelwa.

The space itself is very well-appointed, with nice seating areas dispersed throughout the three rooms- from the tobacco bar in front to an Asian-themed room featuring a fireplace to the “back porch,” a slightly rustic room in the back. Watching the tobacco baristas crank fresh smokes out of the big brass machine behind the bar was cool- they can whip up a whole pack for you in about 3 minutes. Plus, their heavy-duty air filtration system really does wonders for the air quality- with probably over 100 people smoking, the room didn’t smell like smoke at all, nor did I when I left.

One of the most amusing exchanges of the evening came when I was approached by a reporter for Agence France Press (AFP):
AFP: Hi, can I get a quote?
Me: Sure.
AFP: What’s your name?
Me: nikkos from Metroblogging Chicago.
AFP: What’s your last name?
Me: Just nikkos.
AFP: I don’t quote people that don’t give me a last name.
AFP: OK, thanks. Fuckin’ bloggers.

OK, so I added that last part- just one of the many freedoms of being a blogger as opposed to a “real” journalist. Plus, I think I had way more fun than the ink-stained wretches of the traditional media.

Oh, and what about the smokes? Tasty! I sampled two of their eight blends- “The Standard” and “The Muse.” Excellent smokes, and you can actually taste the freshness. I highly recommend you go and check this spot out- and be sure to sample their wares. Even the packaging is cool- on the inside of the pack there’s a cool illustration of a tobacco field which echoes the cigar boxes of old, with stylized head shots of the creators (see above). And, in the distance, the Chicago skyline rises majestically above the tobacco field. Pretty sweet, and you can only get these smokes at the shop- the first and only lounge of its kind in the U.S.

Check it out!

4 Comments so far

  1. anonymous (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

    I hate to be a party-pooper but Chicagoist has a story on it. http://www.chicagoist.com/archives/2006/01/19/smoking_be_banned.php

  2. nikkos (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    Thanks Anon, but the Chicagoist story is just about a visit to the store, not attending the actual par-tay. I am claiming exclusive coverage of the VIP event itself. The party was last night (the 19th) and the Chicagoist post is dated 01.19 but refers to the evening of 01.18, meaning, they weren;t at the party.

    So, I stand by my claims of exclusivity AND my excessive use of exclamation points!!!


  3. geekgirl397 (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    Well …Marshall McGearty’s is owned by the 2nd largest tobacco company in the world .. RJ Reynolds corp. – I’m not sure I’m quite so excited about Big Tobacco moving into the neigborhood.

  4. nikkos (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

    I share your ambivalence geek girl.

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