When I was a kid, and summer announced its presence by suctioning my legs to the vinyl upholstery of the red Toyota, my parents took us to see B movies. I vividly remember a matinee of “Mom and Dad Save the World” in July of 1992. Ten years later, when my sister got her license, we took refuge at “The Master of Disguise,” a Dana Carvey trainwreck that we would have walked out of had it not simmered around 100 degrees outside.
When I left the idyllic landscape of Mystic, Connecticut, and came to Chicago to live among people my age, the tradition changed. As soon as the digital mercury began to rise it seemed that everyone opted to hit the bars.
Cut to me at age 22. I’m clutching a vodka tonic and futilely avoiding the attentions of a middle-aged man with a Lolita complex while my friends and I dance in a bar with a twenty-minute wait outside. I wistfully wonder what Mr. Carvey’s been up to lately.
Brew and View at the Vic provides people like me—the semi-antisocial cinephiles—with the perfect alternative to hanging with the Chads and Trixies. You don’t need to choose one tradition over the other. At Brew and View, you can get some escapism without eschewing your right to a liquor-laden summer evening.
One night, when the humidity plasters my legs to the seat of my boyfriend’s car, we join our friends for a viewing of “Hot Fuzz,” part of a double feature including “Shaun of the Dead” (certainly not your average B flicks).
I slap a mere $5 on the admissions counter and hold out my arm for a wristband, which lets the bartenders know I can drink, dammit. We enter the opulent interior, where vaudeville dominated a century ago. The Vic is not technically a movie palace, but aside from the people milling around in cargo shorts and tank tops, it feels like we’re back in the days of Balaban and Katz.
I order a vodka tonic from the bar in the back. We take a seat at one of the tables scattered throughout the interior and glance around at the clusters of friends holding cups of beer and laughing. Any scheming Humbert Humbert who might be present has his eyes glued to the screen, reveling in the witty British humor.
I take a sip of my drink and put my feet up on a neighboring chair. It isn’t “Mom and Dad Save the World,” but it’ll do. (Brenna Ehrlich)
Brew and View, 3145 North Sheffield, (773)929-6713