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The calendar has flipped to May, which means it’s officially pub crawl season in Chicago. Here are three in the next week that should be very interesting:

Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl
8 p.m.-midnight Wednesday, starting at Rockwood Place/Bar Celona
Mariachi bands will play until 9 p.m. at both opening bars, then trolleys will take the fiesta to Grand Central, then to Angels and Mariachis. Kiss FM (103.5) will be at Angels & Mariachis all night, including one of Kiss FM’s “Beat Freak” DJs. Drink deals include $5 Cazadores margaritas, $5 Cazadores Reposado or Blanco shots and $4 Corona bottles.

Historic Pub Crawl of Hegewisch
Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Learn all about the venerable South Side neighborhood through Landmarks Illinois, sponsors the event. It’s a great chance to learn a little about our fair city – while having a drink or three along the way. Details are scarce on locations, but we’re thinking maybe some Pudgy’s Pizza? Chicago Pita Kitchen? The Ford Assembly Plant?

Anyway, cost is $10, or free if you’re a Landmarks member. Call (312) 922-1742 or click here for more info.

Northalsted Spring Fling Pub Crawl
Saturday, May 15, 2 p.m. at Roscoe’s
Head to 11 fabulous venues throughout Boystown, with each stop offering $5 Absolute Acai cocktails and $4 Coronas. Included on the crawl: Buck’s Saloon, Cocktail, Halsted’s, Hydrate, The Lucky Horseshoe, Minibar, North End, Rehab, Roscoe’s, Scarlet and Spin.

Back to the Pub Crawl
Saturday, May 22, 1:30 p.m., throughout Wrigleyville
Go back in time with the ninth annual celebration of all things ‘80s. Your $10 entry fee gets a free T-shirt, 22-ounce cup, slap bracelet, beads and all sorts of beer specials. Performances by 2 Live Bans, Mer and Red Pop Fury keep things swingin’. Our favorite part: They’ve rented a DeLorean for photo ops outside. No word on whether Doc Brown and Marty McFly will be there, but we're pretty sure they'll be able to produce the 1.21 gigawatts necessary to keep the party going all night long.

Included in the crawl route: Bernie’s Tavern, Casey Moran’s, Sports Corner, Cubby Bear, Sluggers and John Barleycorn.

Want to see more? Check out our list of May bar crawls.

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We have to give you credit, CTA. After all the ways you’ve screwed us over in 2009 (full buses passing us by, trains running express when we least expect it, the persistent odor of bodily fluids), you think you can make us forget all of it by offering penny rides on New Year’s Eve. And you know what? It just might work. Because instead of writing up a list of grievances, we’ve been busy brainstorming how to spend those cents between 8 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday. Here’s what we’ve come up with (not including all the New Year’s Eve events on the slate):

  • Hop on the Red Line and spend some time at the Jackson stop, where you’ll surely find a music performance in progress, whether it’s classical violin or jazz on electric guitar. Increase your enjoyment by stopping by Ceres Café for a drink with the traders first.
  • Take a ride over to the Chicago Blue Line stop to view the new installation from local artist Peter N. Gray. While you’re there, head above ground for a cocktail at the Matchbox and maybe a heart attack (the Three Little Piggies Sandwich) at the nearby Silver Palm.
  • Plan a Pink Line journey to 18th St, where the decorated station will have you in awe. Not only that, but perennial favorite Nuevo Leon is just a short walk away (and if you’re taking a ride on the tail end of the deal, Panaderia Nuevo Leon opens at 5:30 a.m.)
  • Pre-party with the Wildcat faithful at Tommy Nevin’s Pub in Evanston, off the Purple Line’s Dempster stop – the diehards have plenty to prepare for, as Northwestern plays its biggest football game in several years on New Year’s Day, against Auburn in the Outback Bowl at 11 a.m. (if you can’t bear to leave the city, try Lion Head Pub – by the Fullerton stop – or the brand-new Purple Haze, steps away from Belmont).
  • Ride the Brown Line out to Francisco, just so you can confirm it exists (seriously, it’s gotta be the least referenced stop on the North Side). The welcoming Montrose Saloon is a short jaunt south.
  • Go for a late, late dinner (or an early breakfast) at the 24-hour Huck Finn Donuts near the Pulaski stop on the Orange Line. We recommend the Donut Delight (topped with whipped cream and ice cream).
  • Brave the cold and take a walk to Promontory Point, near the Garfield Green Line stop in Hyde Park. It’s the perfect place to toast to 2010 (with non-alcoholic beverages, of course).


Got better ideas for how to take advantage of cheap public transit on New Year’s Eve? Let everyone know in the comments. And remember to check out Centerstage’s Virtual L to find the best spots near train stops year-round.

3 Things We Love About ... Hegewisch

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1. Saving a trip to the North Woods by checking out the Friday Night fish fry at Club 81 Too, 13157 Ave. M. There’s a small lake out back; keep a watchful eye and you might see the occasional deer that come visiting.


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Pam Austin, a field associate with the Field Museum, holds a toad discovered at the William Powers State Recreation Area. (Sun-Times file)

2. Taking in the 580 acres of William W. Powers State Recreation Area, 12949 Ave. O. The marsh area here is full of wildlife and fauna you wouldn’t exactly expect in the city.

3. Enjoying every gut-busting bite of “Bob’s Mistake” pizza — an avalanche of sausage, garlic, fresh tomatoes, and fresh red and green peppers — at Pudgy's Pizza, 13460 S. Baltimore. Would that every “mistake” was so appetizing!


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Greater Grand Crossing is the previous category.

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