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Cocktails in Chicago

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On 5th Street East goes local with Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s PR Director Jim Guttau

Jim Guttau arrives a few minutes late for cocktails in Chicago at Wangs, a red, moody cocktail bar full of Chinese lanterns in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. The punctual PR Director has been sharing Uber status updates for the past 8 minutes.

Wangs, an Asian-meets-vintage dive bar, is Guttau’s fave neighborhood hangout for after-hour drinks. He’s coming from a meeting of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s young professionals’ group. “Chicago’s only free zoo. One of the last in the nation,” he’s quick to point out. 

Guttau orders his go-to drink, a Wangs ginger martini.

“This is definitely not grown in Iowa.” Ginger-infused vodka with muddled ginger and a thick ginger garnish. “Healthy, right?”

Guttau grew up on a farm in Mondamin, Iowa, a town of four hundred between Omaha and Sioux City. His I need to get out of Iowa moment came after college in Sioux City and a “first job” in Des Moines.

“I drove my car to Colorado,” say Guttau. “One way. My car never returned.” 

After starting his own PR firm in Colorado, he got a call from the Four Seasons Hotel Vail. He’s been working for the luxury hotel brand ever since with stints at the Santa Fe and St. Louis properties.

Now PR Director for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, a towering skyscraper on the Magnificent Mile with stunning views of Lake Michigan, Guttau works with an “amazing team”, led by Director of Sales & Marketing Doug Kaminski.

With a second round of ginger’s on the way (full discloser: the author is going toe-to-toe), Jim orders some chow.

Lightly battered, melt-in-your mouth tempura avocado; sriracha strewn tempura maki rolls with more ginger and steamed dumplings thrown on the grill for some light charring.

Low key in his down time, Guttau’s drawn to the historic, eclectic and decidedly diverse vibe of the Lakeview East neighborhood not far from Wrigleyville’s historic Brownstones and the Cub’s stadium.

“There’s a little something here for everyone,” he says. “Hidden gem restaurants with patios and corner dive bars.”

Cocktails in Chicago
Ping Pong, a neighborhood restaurant in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, by the same owners as Wangs.
Cocktails in Chicago
The legendary Chicago chain Stan’s Donuts on the corner of Broadway and West Barry Avenue in Lakeview East.
Cocktails in Chicago
Sriracha-strewn tempura maki rolls with ginger from Wangs in Chicago’s Lakeview East. 

“I seem to move in multiples of threes…towns with a population of  400 (Mondamin) to 150,000 (Sioux City) to 600,000 (Des Moines) to nearly 3 million (Denver) and now Chicago (9.5 million).” * Numbers are metro populations 

A brief pause to ponder what that might mean. Like the ginger, we’re a bit muddled. It’s nearing the end of cocktails in Chicago.

Guttau’s multiple of three numerology in mind, what’s next?

“Mexico City, maybe?”

We grab our phones to scan Four Season Hotel Mexico’s Insta account, scrolling through the gorgeous pics. 

See his fave. See mine.

Cocktails in Chicago
Post Cocktails in Chicago: Jim Guttau, PR Director for Four Seasons Hotel Chicago outside Wang’s in Lakeview East with On 5th Street East’s Anna Cheshire Levitan. Thursday, August 9, 2019.
Cheshire Levitan interviewed Guttau the night before production wrapped while filming digital assets for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

Photo credit: A guy who had just arrived from Poland.

How to Reinvent Yourself in a New City according to Jim Guttau

1. Get involved after work.

Breathe some life into your “after work”. Join a group that you’re passionate about doing good things for community. Non-profits are always happy for help.

2. Meet people in real time.

Fight the urge to only do digital once you leave work. Go Local. Explore the neighborhood. Find a Wangs.

3. Give Back. Volunteer. 

As Guttau says, “You get back what you give ten-fold.” A local zoo, maybe?

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Welcome to On 5th Street East, a weekly blogazine on trends, tips and profiles in travel, design, lifestyle, hospitality, homes and development. 

We decided to create On 5th Street East to share our findings as enthusiasts for all things fun, spunky and beautiful whether on the road or right at home.

Here’s what you won’t find On 5th Street East, sad or unhappy stories. And the news. While we are no strangers to the rough and tumble road of life, this endeavor is not that. You also won’t find “sponsored content.” The words and opinions are our own or those of the fine folks we interview. (We love interviews! And we love our friends. They are doing some really, really cool stuff – so we’ll interview them, too. )

Here’s what you will find On 5th Street East, stories that interest us such as tips and interviews from some really swell industry insiders on travel, design, lifestyle, hospitality, homes and development.


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