Mondays with Mike: The Diaspora

September 19, 2016 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by

Last week I wrote about the end of a local institution—or the end as we knew it, anyway. Hackney’s, our local tavern, has closed and will reopen in a new incarnation, sans bar. And I hope it succeeds, because, well, it’s in my neighborhood and I like the owners.

Meantime the regulars, having lost our lodestar, are wandering around the neighborhood on a kind of reconnaissance mission. We’re visiting other places that we haven’t been to in ages, checking into Facebook, reporting on whether we find familiar faces, texting each other about whether a place is quiet enough for conversation (a must), how the food is, and when bottles of wine can be had for half price.

We've crossed this place off our list.

We’ve crossed this place off our list.

For Beth and me, all things considered, we’d rather not have to deal with change that wasn’t our idea. We’ve done plenty of that. But it’s also been a healthy nudge to do some things we’d sort of kind of talked about doing but never managed to. Like drinking less, going out less, and when we do go out, getting out of our little Printers Row cocoon.

This past Saturday night, we got in a cab—with our Hackney’s buddy Brad—and visited places we’d wanted to visit for a long while, in the faraway neighborhoods of Pilsen and Bridgeport. (Faraway as in, you know, a couple miles.)

We had a lovely time, saw new places and faces, and had the kind of conversation we always have. Before hitting the hay, we stopped to sit outside at Kasey’s, another local watering hole across the street from our place that we’re fond of. Anthony, another Hackney’s refugee, walked by and we invited him to join us. We learned about the status of his project—a beautiful book of artwork by his late mother. And we talked. Like we always have.

The whole thing has been kind of funny—it conjures images of all of us wandering around aimlessly like zombies. It’s also sad—not just because there was an ending, but because a lot of people who used to work at Hackney’s are suddenly out of work.

But it’s also heartening. Because it’s reminded us, I think, that we don’t miss the place so much as we do each other. And with just a little effort, we don’t need to miss anything.


Laura On September 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Where did you go in Bridgeport and Pilsen? Looking forward to an outing when we are actually home on a weekend!

Rene Putz On September 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Chuck and I went to Meli twice last week and sat at the bar both times. The food was great and they have half price bottles of wine on tues and wed 🙂 Would love to check out Bridgeport and Pilsen, too!

Mike On September 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Thanks Rene. Heard the same thing from others. Will check it out.

Mike On September 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Skylark, which is really in no man’s land, but Pilsen is the closest. Old school, dive, cash only, and supposed to have good food. Then Maria’s in Bridgeport–which has Polish-Korean food. Really nice spot.

Sheila A. Donovan On September 20, 2016 at 9:59 am

I go to Skylark once a year to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The food leaves much to be desired.

Marilee On September 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Nice follow up to last week’s blog! I guess there are a few more options in the city!

Karen Steiner On September 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I only went to Hackneys the once and this still breaks my heart. Leave it to you and Beth to put a positive spin on it, though!

Beth Urech On September 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm

I guess we left just in time!

Sue Doyle On September 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Well put, Mike. It’s DEFINITELY the people who are missed!! Thanks

monna ray On September 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Beth & Mike,

Your charming piece reminds me we all resist change but actually some surprising things do come of it.


Sent from my iPad


Laura On September 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

At a conference recently, my boss heard the comment, “People don’t fear change, they fear loss….” True here.

Marilee On September 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Laura- so true. I am keeping that thought.

Benita Black On September 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

I’ve always envied your special relationship with your local-of-choice. I love this piece for what it says about change, loss and recovery. Please keep us informed when you find that new watering hole that’s worthy of your patronage.

Allan Hippensteel On September 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

Mike, I’m going to use the “Diaspora” in the Dearborn Express however, I’m replacting the picture with a photo I took at Hackney’s on the last night. I hope that’s okay.
Al Hip

Mike On September 29, 2016 at 11:49 am

Absolutely, thanks Al.

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