All is quiet and peaceful on Clark Street in Andersonville. Some local boys step into Simon’s Tavern for a beer. A brisk wind blows, and a fresh, spring sun shines. In the distance, the ominous scuffle of feet. Groans, boding evil. They round the corner, a menacing wave of 200 lurching figures, faces peeling with rotten flesh. Low, guttural moans for “brains!”
It’s Chicago’s first-ever Zombie Pub Crawl, organized by local improv theater troupe pH Productions. The horde hits three Andersonville bars—Simon’s, Charlie’s Ale House and Hamburger Mary’s. As they go by a local Einstein’s, one zombie groans, “Grar! I want brain bagel!” When they pass the Starbucks packed with coffee hounds and Mac-users, dozens of zombies claw at the windows, their faces plastered to the glass.
The Zombie Pub Crawl is the (ahem) brainchild of pH members Alaina Hoffman and Jason Geis, who swiped the idea from a similar crawl that took place in Minnesota. Geis explains, “People have been cooped up for the winter. We’ve been zombies for so long, let’s break out our inner zombie and do this. We found out what days weren’t Cubs weekends and went gung-ho!”
Ben Wilson, a tourist from Detroit, is caught off guard by the zombie horde while he waits outside Simon’s. “You would not see this in a million years where I’m from,” he laughs. “I got here yesterday. I wanted a little taste of everything Chicago had to offer: Millennium Park, the Sears Tower… and, apparently, zombies!” (Laura Hawbaker)