The hottest date I ever brought to Guthrie’s Tavern was my dad. It was the day before Christmas Eve and we decided to hit the bar prior to White Christmas at the Music Box. My dad insisted on playing Battleship and I snuck a look at his board every time he went to buy us drinks. I apologized when I won and he assured me he was already winning by spending time with me. Snow covered Southport and continued coming down as we passed carolers under the blinking marquee. My dad’s happy face is typically a big, dumb smile plastered ear to ear. This one took up his whole face.

I broke down when I heard Guthrie’s closed. I laughed at the fact I was crying over a bar and cried harder because I was laughing. I was with my girlfriend when I got the news and mapped out the first date we would have had there, how we’d play Clue and maybe admire the ceiling tile of a mermaid who was, uh, “well-proportioned.” So many firsts happened on the corner of Waveland and Addison: first dates, first friends, first kisses. The most important first never came, one where I’d bring my girlfriend and my dad to the double Christmas feature at Music Box. We’d laugh when I cheat, drink lagers on tap, and end the night walking home from Guthrie’s saying our presence was the present the whole time.